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first aid awareness

Posted By SLCo Animal Services
April 11, 2018

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April is pet first aid awareness month. All pet owners should have a first aid kit for their pet in case of emergency.  However, there is not a one-size-fits–all answer to what is best for a first aid kit. 

There are many pre-made kits that may be purchased for your pet but building your own kit or adding to a pre-made one may be the best way to have a kit that is built and customized for your pet’s needs.

There are first aid items that are necessary:

Scissors - you may need to free your pet from an entanglement or cut matted fur.

Bandage Scissors - these have a blunted blade that can easily slip between skin and bandage material, so you do not cut the patients skin.

Tweezers - to remove foreign materials from wounds.

Nail Clipper and a Styptic Pen - for torn nails and skin wounds (cornstarch also works)

Quick Clot - stops bleeding

Sterile Eye Wash - make sure it is eye wash, not contact solution

Ear Wash – ask your vet what would be best for your pet

Tape - 1” medical tape. Easy to tear off and holds well.

Roll Gauze - used to bandage, pad for splints and aid in stopping bleeding.

Telfa Pads - non-stick dressings for bandaging a wound.

Antiseptic Wash/Wipes - look for non-stinging such as Chlorhexidine or Betadine.  Rubbing alcohol is not good for any open sores or wounds.

Antibiotic Ointment - over-the-counter “general purpose” antibiotic ointment for light use with a minor skin wound. Not for use in eyes. Caution advised for animals that may lick or ingest. Use with discretion. The antibiotics are absorbed via the skin.

Vet Prescribed Pain Relief - speak to your vet about obtaining as needed first aid kit pain relief. Do NOT use human prescription or over-the-counter pain medications for pets.

Latex Gloves - for your protection and your pet’s.

Muzzle - even the most well-trained animals may bite when injured or afraid

Thermometer - know what is normal vital signs for your dog and cat  and how to use the thermometer.              

Hot/Cold packs - cool down skin after a burn or keep an animal warm if hypothermic.   Always use a cloth between the pack and skin and check frequently for redness or irritation.

Water-based lubricating jelly - for use with rectal thermometers.

Extra towels, wash cloths and a blanket - use for washing, keeping warm/cool, and if necessary, a way to transport the injured pet (sling).

Diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl) - for stings and allergic reactions. Speak with your vet first about proper dosing.

Syringe/Large Eye Dropper - to flush wounds or administer fluids by mouth.

List of Phone Numbers - your regular vet, the emergency vet, animal control, and animal poison control numbers. Program these into your cell phone.

Sturdy Box - ideally plastic or metal, to hold all your supplies and is easy to carry and pack with you will complete your kit.

When customizing a first aid kit for YOUR pet include what is needed for YOUR pet’s specific needs. For example, a diabetic pet kit should include honey or Karo syrup in the event of a low blood sugar episode. Pets who have regular medications should have a couple of days supply of all current medications.

Your veterinarian can help you customize a first aid kit to meet your pet’s additional needs.

While purchasing or building a first aid kit is a great first step it will not be enough in the event of an emergency if you are not familiar with how to use the items. Here are some recommendations for preparing yourself in the event of an emergency.

*Take a pet first aid class

*Use the Pet First Aid by the American Red Cross app

*Read pet first aid or animal health books

*Familiarize yourself with pet emergency clinics in your area and places you travel to.

Being prepared in the face of an emergency helps ensure the health and safety of your pets.