National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Part of taking good care of your pets is being able to deal with both serious emergencies and non-life threatening issues such as cuts and scrapes along with bee strings. In fact, now that spring is here, keep a special look out for bees as more of them begin hovering in the garden.

Since April is National Pet First Aid Awareness month, it’s a really good reminder to ensure that any pet medications you have are current. In addition, make sure that you have a proper pet first aid kit for both your home and family car so that you can immediately jump to action if needed.

Here is a checklist of what a typical first aid kit, suitable for both dogs and cats, should include:

  • Antiseptic ointment or solution
  • Hydrocortisone ointment or antihistamine spray for insect stings
  • Small stainless steel or plastic bowls for solutions to bathe wounds
  • Cotton balls, cotton buds and a roll of cotton padding
  • Sterile dressing pads
  • Liquid bandage for pets
  • Self-adhesive bandage
  • A small flashlight and fresh batteries to look inside a mouth
  • Latex gloves
  • Sharp tweezers
  • Small blunt scissors
  • Sterile eyewash
  • Eyedroppers
  • Syringe plunger to administer liquid medicine
  • Glucose powder to make a rehydrating fluid: use one tablespoon of glucose and add a teaspoon of salt to a liter of water (1 and a quarter pints)
  • Keep an ice pack in the fridge marked accordingly for a pet emergency
  • A small towel to wrap around the ice pack
  • An Elizabethan collar to prevent your pet from interfering with a dressing or bandage (note that there are softer blow-up versions available)
  • A gadget called a Tick Key to safely remove ticks without leaving any poisonous discharge behind (it’s a good idea to put one on your car key chain too)

Put everything in a clear plastic container, mark it and keep it accessible. Don’t forget to include telephone numbers for your veterinarian, local emergency pet care and the national 24/7 Animal Poison Control Center (855) 764-7661. There is a $49 per incident fee payable by credit card, but it is well worth it in times of an emergency.

Being a good pet parent also means being cognizant around the home to ensure accidents don’t happen. Make sure that electrical cables for computers and lamps are not within reach as chewing on them can be fatal. There are special products that contain citronella to wrap cords to deter curious cats and dogs. Dental floss and cotton balls should never left in an open bin. And don’t leave leftover food unattended in the kitchen or at barbeques; pets can choke on bones and corncobs.

It’s also a good idea to know how to administer CPR to your pet. Pet CPR classes are available countrywide.

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