Revised First Aid Guidelines from the American Veterinary Medical Association and PSVC – Part 2 of 2
IF YOUR PET IS POISONED
If you know or suspect your pet has consumed something that may be harmful, call your veterinarian, emergency veterinary clinic or the Animal Poison Control Center (888.426.4435 – available 365 days/year, 24 hours/day; a consultation fee applies) immediately.
- If possible, have the following information available: – Species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved – Symptoms – Name/description of the substance that is in question; the amount the animal was exposed to; and how long it’s been since your pet ate it or was exposed to it. – The product container/packaging available for reference.
- Collect any material your pet may have vomited or chewed, and place it in a plastic sealable bag to take with you when you bring your animal in for veterinary treatment.
- Do not try to induce vomiting or give any medication to your pet unless directed to do so by Poison Control or your veterinarian.
IF YOUR PET IS HAVING SEIZURES
- Clear the area of other pets, furniture, and any other objects that may cause injury. Do not try to restrain your pet or startle him/her out of the seizure.
- Time the seizure (they usually last 2-3 minutes).
- After the seizure has stopped, keep your pet warm and quiet and contact your veterinarian.
IF YOUR PET IS INJURED
- If possible and safe, try to stabilize injuries before moving an injured animal by splinting or bandaging them. Keep in mind, however, that a poorly applied bandage or splint can do more harm than good; if in doubt, leave the bandaging/splinting to professionals.
- If there is a foreign body in the wound, do not remove it. If necessary, carefully cut it short without moving it to leave 3-6 inches sticking out before transporting your pet to the veterinarian.
- While transporting your injured pet, keep him/her confined in a small area to reduce the risk of additional injury. Pet carriers work well, or you can use a box or other container (but make sure your pet has enough air). For larger dogs, you can use a board, sled, blanket or something similar to act as a stretcher.
- Call your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic so they can be ready for you when you arrive.
IF YOUR PET’S WOUND IS BLEEDING
- Apply direct pressure with a clean towel or cloth for at least 3 minutes before checking to see if the bleeding has stopped.
- Severe bleeding can quickly be life-threatening-get your animal to a veterinarian immediately if this occurs. Add towels on top of previous layers if they are soaking through, but do not remove them as it may disturb any clot formation.
IF YOUR PET IS BURNED
- Apply a muzzle and flush the burn with cool (not cold) water. Seek immediate veterinary care.
IF YOUR PET HAS HEATSTROKE
- If you cannot immediately get your pet to a veterinarian, move him/her to a shaded area and out of direct sunlight.
- Place a cool or cold, wet towel around your pet’s neck and head (do not cover your pet’s eyes, nose or mouth). Remove the towel, wring it out, then rewet and rewrap it every few minutes.
- Pour or use a hose to keep cool water running over the animal’s body (especially the abdomen and between the hind legs. Then, use your hands to sweep the water away as it absorbs the body heat.
- Transport the pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
IF YOUR PET IS BITTEN BY A SNAKE
- Assume the snake is poisonous and seek veterinary attention immediately. Try to identify the snake if it can be done without risk; do not attempt to capture or kill the snake. Do not bring the snake into the veterinarian’s office – a photograph will do.
PET FIRST AID KIT CHECKLIST
Keep a kit of basic first aid supplies for the pets in your household. Many of the items in a family first aid kit can be used for pets, too.
- IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS (veterinarian, emergency clinic, poison control, animal control, non-emergency police)
- A copy of your PET’S MEDICAL RECORD, DIGITAL FEVER THERMOMETER to take your pet’s temperature rectally
- MUZZLE to prevent bites (DO NOT muzzle your pet if he/she is vomiting)
- SPARE LEASH AND COLLAR, GAUZE ROLL for wrapping wounds or muzzling an injured animal
- CLEAN TOWELS for restraining cats, cleaning or padding, NONSTICK BANDAGES OR STRIPS OF CLEAN CLOTH to control bleeding or protect wounds
- SELF-ADHERING, NONSTICK TAPE for bandages
- ADHESIVE TAPE for securing bandages
- EYE DROPPER (or large syringe without needle) to give oral treatments or flush wounds
- K-Y JELLY (or generic version) to protect wounds, eyes
- MILK OF MAGNESIA OR ACTIVATED CHARCOAL to absorb poison (Use only if instructed to do so by your veterinarian or a poison control center)
- 3% HYDROGEN PEROXIDE to induce vomiting (Always contact your veterinarian or poison control center before inducing vomiting; do not use hydrogen peroxide on wounds.)
- SALINE SOLUTION for cleansing wounds (Saline sold for use with contact lenses works well for most purposes.)
- LOCATION OF PET CARRIER (for cats and small dogs).
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