None of us want to think about dealing with a pet in serious distress due to a medical emergency, but being prepared will ease your mind and might just save your pet’s life!
In part one of this two-part series, we’ll cover basic supplies and resources for handling a pet emergency; in part two, we’ll look at specific techniques that can save your pet.
For basic understanding of pet first aid you can start by enrolling in a pet first aid course. There are several classes available in the area, as well as online options. Classes vary widely in content and quality. Make sure to check the course objectives and reviews before you enroll.
The Red Cross has an app for pet first aid, as well as Pet Tech. These apps teach CPR and first aid techniques and are a helpful tool whether you’ve had pet first aid training or not. The simple, step-by-step instructions for cats and dogs are great to review anytime you have a few spare minutes; also, they provide structure in the high-stress moments of an actual emergency.
Accidental poisoning is a leading cause of emergencies. Animal Poison Control has a call center and is available 24 hours a day. If you think your pet has ingested something toxic, try to locate the label and call Poison Control. Be advised they may charge a fee for the consultation.
Often, emergencies occur outside the business hours of your regular vet. If you find yourself needing urgent care, it is helpful to know what your options are in advance of an emergency. Sumner Animal Hospital is the closest 24-hour emergency vet for most Enumclaw, Buckley and Bonney Lake residents, followed by Summit Hospital in Tacoma and Access in Renton.
It is important to have some basic first aid supplies for pets, many of which are duplicates of your human first aid kit, like saline eye wash, nonstick bandages, etc. Make sure any combined kit includes pet-specific first aid cream and wound wash, and rolled gauze for wrapping as well as for creating a muzzle for scared and combative patients. Also, the pet thermometer should be clearly labeled “pet.” Ready-made pet first aid kits are available online and at pet supply stores.
Pain and fear can make even the sweetest of pets bite, so handling an injured or frightened animal requires special precautions for everyone’s safety. Keep your face away from the pet’s mouth and make sure the pet is contained or on a leash, as scared pets may try to flee. If you think your pet may have a fracture, try to support the area with towels or pillow while in route to the vet. If possible, call the vet so they can prepare for your arrival.
Administering first aid to an ill or injured pet is just the first step in handling an emergency. Prompt veterinary care following first aid gives your pet the best chance of a full recovery.
This article was provided by Cobber’s Pet Pantry, 1415 Blake St. in Enumclaw. The shop can be reached at 360-825-7387. Website: cobberspetpantry.com.