Check Out These Tips For National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

rhodesian ridgeback with bandaged paw first aid

Dogs are curious animals. They’re constantly eating things they should avoid, getting themselves into trouble, and entering places they don’t belong. Sometimes their curiosity can lead to an accident.

Your pets may eat poisonous foods or chemicals, hurt themselves by eating something sharp, choke on something, or injure themselves while playing. Hence, it’s important to have a first aid kit ready at home and in the trunk of your car to ensure you are prepared for such occasions. 

Many dog owners are not familiar with pet first aid. Unfortunately, the vet is not always available to help you in these critical situations. That adds to the importance of being ready to care for your loving pet.

Learning the basics may sound overwhelming at first, but don’t worry! This post will provide you with straightforward first aid tips, covering a variety of situations (you may wish to bookmark this post and use the links below to jump to the relevant section, should you require it).

Table of Contents

What should be included in a first aid kit?

There are many indoor and outdoor threats you should be aware of in order to keep your four-legged friend safe. It is imperative to be completely prepared to act quickly and effectively in case your pet is in danger.

First, we’ll start by addressing the three most important items you must include in your pet first-aid kits at home:

Scissors

Scissors are one of the simplest yet most effective tools you should include in your pet first aid kit. It is tough to administer care – like cutting hair near an injured area, or applying bandages – without scissors. 

Also, remember that different types of scissors can come in handy in different cases. For example, blunt-tipped scissors are best when you want to trim hair close to the eyes, nose, or ears.

Sterile Eye Solution

It is an unpleasant experience for both you and your dog when chemicals or foreign objects come anywhere near their eyes. Your pet may scratch or rub their eyes and make it worse. A sterile, dog-friendly eye solution is a must-have in your first aid kit.

Latex/Rubber Gloves

It is necessary to wear gloves before providing any medical care to your pet. This way, you can protect yourself and your canine companion. Don’t forget that an animal’s wound is easily infected, and using gloves reduces the risk of harming yourself or your dog.

What should be included in a travel first aid kit?

dog in car on vacation

Aside from the basic necessities we named above, there are items you should always carry with you during a trip. You might be thinking, “It’s just a trip, how can things possibly go wrong?” – but when traveling, you should always be prepared for unexpected emergencies.

Make sure you double-check this list if you intend to go on a road trip with your dog. Here are three items you should include in your travel first-aid kits while traveling with your pet:

Emergency Contact Card

Write down your family, close friends, and your vet’s contact information on an emergency contact card. You can also have the information saved on your smartphone, where there are several helpful apps for organizing information about your pet. 

In the event that you are unable to speak for yourself in an accident, this emergency contact card provides the contact information of the people you’ve chosen to be contacted to look after your pets, so you can rest assured that they will be well cared for.

Bandages

Don’t forget bandages when going out with your pet. You can use bandages to temporarily cover a wound before driving to a vet. It also plays an essential role in protecting the wound from reopening or infection.

Treats

It sounds a little counterintuitive at first, but your best bud usually needs a distraction in a situation requiring first aid. You should use safe dog treats, and preferably the ones your pet likes most.

How to 'pet-proof' your home

destructive australian shepherd eating toilet paper

There are many potential dangers in your home that could injure your pet. From the point of view of your dog, your home is like a Disney theme park where everything is appealing to them. But as a dog owner, you know better. 

That’s why you should know how to pet-proof your home to protect your pup from any harm. Pet-proofing your home enables your dog to enjoy their environment while staying away from danger.  

Here are several easy and practical steps you can follow to pet-proof various parts of your home:

Living Room

  • Use anti-scratch tape on the couch to reduce scratching
  • Hide electrical cords 
  • Prevent injuries by moving or blocking exercise equipment
  • Put remote controls out of reach (on a high shelf)

Kitchen

  • Add a gate to your kitchen to keep your dogs out
  • Don’t use open top trash cans
  • Close the dishwasher after use
  • Don’t leave cabinet doors open

Bathroom

  • Always close the toilet lid
  • Lock the cleaning supply cabinet
  • Put your medications on a high shelf to keep them out of reach
  • Don’t leave toilet paper on the roll & place it in a cabinet

Bedroom

  • Cover charging cables & devices
  • Don’t use toxic chemicals for your indoor plants
  • Don’t leave your clothes, pillows & other items on the floor
  • Keep lotions & lip balms out of your pet’s reach

Garage

  • Provide proper ventilation when pets are in the garage
  • Close the garage door after use
  • Store sharp objects in a place out of reach
  • Clean the floor regularly to get rid of debris

Yard

  • Don’t let your pet have access to electrical boxes, HVAC units, etc.
  • Make sure all outdoor plants are non-toxic and safe for pets
  • Fill up fence holes to prevent pets from escaping
dog having paw bandaged

Basic first aid tips

No matter how much you try to pet-proof your home, sometimes, dogs are liable to do anything to get themselves into trouble. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to know some basic first aid tips to use in a case of an emergency. Remember that, in most cases, seeking veterinary care promptly is the optimal solution.

Here below are basic first aid tips for you to manage emergencies in different situations:

Bleeding Skin Or A Broken Bone

  • Apply pressure on your dog’s wound to control bleeding.
  • Check the chest area. The ribs may be broken if the injury is close to the chest. Broken ribs can be extremely painful and may pierce into the lungs. Use a dressing if needed.
  • You should immediately see a vet if you can see a bone poking out. If the fracture is below the elbow or knees, you should temporarily splint or dress it. You can use newspapers or cardboard as a splint, but be cautious not to get bitten. Remember that it is a painful experience, so your dog will definitely feel agitated.
  • If you see an open wound and you can’t go to the vet right away, put a bandage on the wound area.
  • If your pet’s pelvis is fractured after a vehicle accident, you should be extremely careful when moving them because this experience is harrowing for them. Try to move your pet with a sling.

Burns

  • Use cool running water or a cold compress to cool the area ASAP.
  • Apply a cold pack to the affected area for at least 5 minutes. You can also cover the burnt area with ice.
  • Put a moist and cold compress on the area.
  • Wrap a blanket around your pet to keep them warm, but be careful not to touch the burnt area.
  • Get veterinary care quickly.

Choking Or Airway Obstruction

  • Use cool running water or a cold compress to cool the area ASAP.
  • Apply a cold pack to the affected area for at least 5 minutes. You can also cover the burnt area with ice.
  • Put a moist and cold compress on the area.
  • Wrap a blanket around your pet to keep them warm, but be careful not to touch the burnt area.
  • Get veterinary care quickly.

Seizures

  • Make the environment completely danger-free and the room quiet and dark. Don’t move your pet before the seizure stops.
  • Check their breathing and ensure there’s no airway obstruction if your pet is unconscious.
  • Don’t put your fingers into your pet’s mouth while the seizure is still ongoing.
  • Don’t give food or water to your pet while they are still convulsing.
  • Calm your pet when their seizure stops.
  • Go to a vet immediately after the seizure.

Sharp Objects

  • Don’t remove the sharp object.
  • Try to reduce the height of the external part of the object to 3-4 centimeters above the skin surface.
  • If the object has penetrated the chest, try not to move it. Instead, fix the body first. Then, cover the wound with a plastic wrap without applying any pressure on the penetrated object.
  • Try to control the bleeding, again, without putting any pressure on the impaled object.
  • Keep your pet warm.
  • See a vet right away.

Puncture & Fight Wounds

  • You can stop any infections from spreading using antibiotics. You must see a vet promptly – make sure to do this within 6-12 hours.
  • If the wound is severe, try to control the bleeding using bandages. 
  • Wrap your pet in a blanket to keep them warm, and be careful not to get bitten because your pet is most likely in shock and pain now. 
  • Again, see a vet at once.

Resuscitation

  • Use cardiac massage if your pet’s heart isn’t beating.
  • If the heart is beating, but the dog isn’t breathing, perform artificial respiration.
  • If neither the heart nor lungs are working, then you should undertake CPR. CPR is a combination of cardiac massage and artificial respiration.

Temperature Changes

Body temperature is often an obvious indicator of your dog’s physical health. Make sure you check their body temperature whenever you suspect a fever or hypothermia. Now, let’s discuss how you can control your pet’s body temperature.

Warming Your Pet

  • Use a thick blanket or jumper to stop body heat loss.
  • Put a heat pack next to your pet and constantly check their temperature.
  • Slowly warm your pet. 
  • If your pet is wet, they’ll lose body heat faster than usual, so dry them as soon as possible.

Cooling Your Pet

  • Put a towel in cold water, twist it, and pour the water primarily on the head, stomach, under the neck, inner thighs, and pads of their paws.
  • Prepare a wet towel and wrap your pet in it.
  • You can bathe your pet with cool water if they’re big enough, then put a damp towel around the head and stomach.
  • Once your pet’s body temperature reaches 39 degrees celsius, stop the cooling process and use a dry towel or blanket to wrap them.

When to contact your veterinarian

If your dog shows any of the following signs, you should immediately contact your vet:

  • Open wounds, potential broken bones, or injury because of an accident. Even if your dog is acting normally, you should seek immediate medical attention.
  • No breathing or unconsciousness
  • Seizures
  • Sudden collapse or having difficulty breathing
  • Bleeding from eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Potential poisoning after consuming toxic materials
  • Repetitive vomiting for over one hour
  • Blood in vomit
  • Nausea without throwing up any food (a sign of bloat)
  • Severe pain followed by whining or shaking
  • Hard & bloated belly
  • Incapable of passing urine
  • Eating toxins like chocolate or poisonous plants
  • Inability to stand, lack of balance, or dragging limbs
  • Unexpected disorientation
  • Gums with pale color (owners should regularly check for abnormalities in the gums)
dog receiving veterinary care and bandaging

In Summary

After reading this post, you now know everything about the basics of taking care of your beloved dog. Take this as a sign and start pet-proofing your home today if you haven’t done it already.

Remember to bookmark this blog post and take note of the tips you found most useful. We hope you and your canine friend stay safe and healthy.

Leave a Reply