Pet First Aid: Online Resources You Can Trust

It seems like every month has a theme or a cause nowadays – Nuclear Submarine Awareness Month, Be Kind to Spleens Month, National Narwhal Diabetes Month. The list just goes on and on…thankfully, for writers of partially humorous blogs. April happens to be Pet First Aid Awareness Month, so sandwiched between You Really Don’t Need 2 Spaces After a Period Month and What Is that Horrid Smell? Month, we get to talk about what types of things you can do to help your furry friends in a crisis.

It may seem like most pet health-related crises require the assistance of a veterinarian (and many do) but there are definitely some things you can do at home to help get speedier care to your pet when trouble strikes. In later posts I will write about some specific first aid techniques you can do and how to assemble a good first aid kit, but first we’ll start out with a few online resources for solid veterinary information.

Before that, though – a word of caution: The intent of first aid is to minimize injury and keep conditions from getting worse until more advanced and definitive treatment can happen. It is often performed by untrained people with basic skills in a field setting. Things like stopping bleeding, covering wounds and stabilizing fractures are core techniques in first aid, and are meant to keep the inured comfortable and safe – but not to totally heal the injury. First aid sets the stage for healing to occur by stopping damage and preventing further injury, but it is not a substitute for proper medical care from trained professionals.

Like any other type of information, online pet health information runs the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous. There are websites hawking snake oil miracle cures, and little tidepools of horribly cruddy and inaccurate information written by well-intentioned but sadly misguided folks.

If you are looking for good, solid pet first aid info, though, you can’t do better than to dial your internet to It has numerous articles on pet health related topics, and also contains the complete text of a great veterinary first aid manual written by an esteemed veterinary critical care specialist, Roger Gfeller.  If you want information on home treatment of minor scrapes and bruises, bee stings and when you really need to see the vet, this is a great and free source of information written by the experts.

A few other sources for solid pet information include, Both sites provide industrial-grade medical information, as well as non-medical background, husbandry and opinion pieces.  They are great fun for pet-lovers to browse through – you’ll always find something entertaining and informative there. If you are looking for information on how to properly feed and care for your diabetic narwhal, this is the place for you.

First aid info spans a wide variety of topics – from trauma, infections and poisonings, all the way through to difficulty giving birth, burn injuries and heat stroke. It would be a good idea to scan some of these resources in your free time to be prepared for some of these events – and there’s no better time to do it than Pet First Aid Month! If the badness happens and you are prepared, you can minimize the extent of the damage, save money and, possibly, save a life – all by reading a little! Now, that’s a month I can really get behind!

Other pet health related articles written by Dr. Tony include:

-photo credit:  from flickr by agrigu

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