April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month!

Written by Amanda Colquitt

April 19, 2022

Pets are our best friends for many of us, and we would do anything for them. You need to be prepared for any situation your furry friends may get themselves into. These situations aren’t always life-threatening, but do you know how to handle them if they are? Do you have a list of emergency numbers quickly accessible?

The month of April represents National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. Take this month to ready yourself for those moments where knowing what to do could differ between life or death for your pet. 

Create a List of Emergency Contacts

 As a pet parent, it’s essential to keep emergency contacts at hand. You can keep a copy on your refrigerator, phone, wallet, or anywhere that can be easily accessed in a dangerous situation. 

Below is a list of numbers that are helpful to have ready. It’s a good idea to have the after-hours numbers as well. 

  • Your Pet’s Veterinarian
  • Your Emergency Contact
  • 24-Hour Emergency Animal Hospital
  • ASPCA Animal Poison Control: (888) 426-4453 (fees may apply)
  • Pet Poison Helpline: (855) 764-7661 ($75 fee applies)

Purchase or Make a First Aid Kit

You don’t want to wish you had created a first aid kit during an emergency. Be prepared and have your supplies in a sturdy, waterproof container. Check out some necessary items listed below, recommended by www.petfirstaidonline.com

  • List of emergency phone numbers as discussed above
  • Rabies/Licensing information
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Eyewash
  • Ear cleaning solution
  • Alcohol prep pads
  • Rectal thermometer
  • Petroleum jelly (or any other lubricating jelly)
  • Ace bandage or vet wrap
  • Large sterile gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape or duct tape
  • Cotton balls/swabs 
  • Latex gloves/ Heavy gloves
  • Towels
  • Heavy/Emergency blanket
  • Muzzle (even the calmest pet can bite or nip when injured) 
  • Tourniquet

This list does not contain each item necessary but will get you started with your emergency preparation. 

Prevent Consumption of Dangerous Common Household Items/Food

Pets, often dogs, end up eating edible and non-edible items. While humans find them useful, they are toxic to our pets. Do whatever you can to prevent your furry friends from coming into contact with the following.

Non-edible items

  • Fabric softener sheets
  • Mothballs
  • Antifreeze
  • Rat and mouse bait
  • Pesticides

Edible Items

  • Chocolate
  •  It contains theobromine and caffeine; both can speed up heart rate and stimulate a dog’s nervous system. Canines aren’t able to metabolize theobromine and caffeine as well as humans. If enough is ingested, the result can be death.
  • Cocoa Powder
  •  Cocoa powder is the most toxic as it contains the highest level of theobromine. 
  • Grapes
  •  Consumption of this fruit can end up causing kidney failure in some dogs.
  • Onions
  •  Contain N-propyl disulfide. N-propyl disulfide causes a breakdown of red blood cells, which leads to anemia in canines. 
  • Xylitol
  •  A dog’s pancreas confuses xylitol with natural sugar, releasing insulin to store it. The insulin removes the natural sugar from the bloodstream, resulting in the dog becoming weak, having tremors, and even seizures that may result within 30 mins of consumption. Xylitol is often found in sugarless gum, candy, and some types of peanut butter.

 

Sign up for a Pet First Aid/CPR course

Several organizations educate pet owners in First Aid and CPR. Through these courses, you’ll learn the signs of heatstroke, common illness, splinting, treatment of burns, bandaging of wounds, what to do if your animal has ingested a foreign object, etc. 

Check out some courses below!

https://www.petfirstaidonline.com/

https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/first-aid/cat-dog-first-aid

https://pettech.net/

https://www.catanddogfirstaid.com/

To many, pets are their children, and their safety is of utmost importance. I hope you’ve learned helpful information from this read to help aid in your pet’s health. Please use the month of April to further your education on Pet First Aid!

 

Sources used: 

https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control

https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com

https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/potentially-dangerous-items-your-pet

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/chocolate-poisoning-in-dogs

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/what-to-do-if-your-dog-ate-chocolate/

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dangers-of-xylitol/

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-onions/#:~:text=Onions%20contain%20a%20toxic%20principle,your%20dog’s%20red%20blood%20cells.

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