Knowledge is power, so being up-to-date on First Aid could help save a pet’s life. Part of this means having a First Aid kit handy in case of an emergency. Taking extra precautions could make all the difference.
Read on to find out how to recognize an emergency, the precautions you should take, and what to keep in your First Aid kit for cats and dogs.
Signs That Your Cat or Dog Needs Urgent Help
If your pet is seriously ill or injured, it is highly likely that they will need to see a vet. But what should you do in the meantime? Here are some of the most common signs your cat or dog may be in need of urgent help:
- They’re not breathing or are struggling to breathe properly
- They’ve become unresponsive
- They appear to have a broken bone
- They are experiencing a seizure or fit
- They’re having problems moving around or appear uncoordinated
- You think they have swallowed something toxic
- They’re in a state of collapse and are unable to get up
- They are choking
- They’ve been vomiting and have experienced diarrhea for over 24 hours
- They are bleeding profusely
- They’re experiencing an extreme allergic reaction
- They have touched something that’s caused electrocution
Keeping calm in any of these situations is going to enable you to help your pet more effectively. Always have your vet’s emergency contact details to hand.
You should also exercise extra care and caution because when animals are in pain, they can lash out. That could cause you injury. You should also not give your pet anything to eat or drink unless your vet advises you otherwise.
What to Keep In Your First Aid Kit
The best First Aid kit for cats and dogs will have everything in it that you need to administer basic assistance for minor injuries at home. Even if you’re able to treat your pet using your First Aid kit, you should still take them to the vet for a check-up as quickly as possible.
Here are the things your First Aid kit should contain:
- A pair of gloves
- A thick and absorbent old towel
- Some specialist tick tweezers
- A set of ordinary tweezers
- A spare lead and muzzle (for dogs)
- Some pet-safe antiseptic wipes
- A blanket that you can use to carry your dog if they are large
- Some blunt-ended scissors
- A foil blanket
- Some pet-safe wound wash and eyewash
- Dressings and bandages
- Some cotton wool pads along with microporous tape
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Your First Aid Guide
You should also keep a First Aid guide with your kit. This should explain actions you may need to take in certain specific instances. These include what to do:
- If your cat or dog is choking
- In road traffic accidents
- In instances of heat stroke and seizures
- If you need to perform CPR
- If you have to move an injured pet
If your cat or dog’s airway gets blocked, pull their tongue forward carefully. Remember that putting your fingers close to a pet’s mouth can be dangerous. If they do not react, they are not in need of CPR.
Check they have nothing stuck in their throat. Take care not to push any obstructions further down the air passage.
In an emergency, you may need to check for breathing. Stop, look, and listen. Watch to see if the chest is rising and falling. Feel for breath coming out of the nostrils or mouth.
You may also need to check for a heartbeat. You can do this by placing your hand or ear over the chest. This should be at the point where the elbow meets the rib cage.
If you have to move your pet, ensure that you support their neck, head, and back. You can do this by putting one of your arms under their head and shoulders. The other arm needs to be under their pelvis.
If your dog is heavier than 15 kilos then you may need to enlist the help of somebody else to lift them in a way that’s safe.
Once you have securely supported your pet, lift them slowly and carefully onto a large towel, blanket, or board. You could also improvise with a sweater or coat.
Make sure that the route to the point where you want to move your pet to is safe and clear. Talk in a calm voice and put a hand on your cat or dog for reassurance. Be careful to hold onto the four corners of your blanket or other lifting material.
Bend your knees and lift before walking slowly, being careful not to make any sudden jolts.
If your pet has suffered a small wound, flush the problem area with warm water. This helps to get rid of dirt and harmful bacteria. If there is heavy bleeding, apply pressure to the wound using a clean, dry dressing. Make sure you call the vet immediately.
Some Key Tips to Keep Your Cat and Dog Safe in Your Home
Prevention can be one of the best courses of action for unnecessarily having to deal with an emergency at all. Here are some things you can do to keep your home as safe as possible for your cat or dog:
- Always tidy away items like small toys or objects your pet could swallow
- Make sure you lock away your family’s medication as well as your own
- Make potentially toxic foods like chocolate, grapes, and xylitol inaccessible
- Try not to keep poisonous plants like azaleas, lilies, daffodils, and tulips
- Keep an eye out for any damage to your pet’s toys or bedding area
- Ensure garbage is secure as eating things like moldy food can be dangerous
Use Your First Aid Kit for Cats and Dogs and Seek Help Immediately
If you find a cat or dog in an emergency situation such as a road traffic accident you must contact a vet as soon as you can. You’ve then got the best chance of a positive outcome. Always have your First Aid kit for cats and dogs on hand.
Do you still have any questions about aiding your pet? Then schedule a video consultation with one of our qualified vets! We’re delighted to be able to offer straightforward, hassle-free, pet insurance for all your cat and dog emergencies.