No one expects an accident. If they did, it would likely be called an “expected traumatic event,” instead. Unfortunately, accidents and unplanned illnesses strike humans and pets alike. Planning ahead is the only way to be prepared when unexpected traumatic events happen.
While no one likes thinking about an emergency or disaster, the difference between thinking about them and avoiding the whole idea can save lives. For pet owners, a little training and a good pet first-aid kit can mean the difference between a temporary headache and permanent heartache.
Putting Together a Pet First-Aid Kit
Every pet lover should carry a pet first aid kit in the car and keep another one at home for unexpected emergencies. You can purchase a ready-made kit from most pet stores, or make your own from scratch.
Start with a sturdy container, ideally with a strap or handle, such as a tackle box or large padded lunch box. Then, if you have to carry your animal, you can sling the kit over your shoulder.
In addition to sterile pads and bandages, stretchy elastic bandages, tape, tweezers, scissors, antiseptic wipes or sprays, a rectal thermometer and lubricant, and other common first aid kit items, be sure to include Information. Download and print PDFs from the American Red Cross on what to do in a pet emergency and keep them in the kits, and install the American Red Cross Pet First-Aid app your mobile device.
If you are making your own pet first-aid kit, you’ll want to Include:
- A muzzle to keep an agitated pet from biting
- Fresh saline solution and artificial tears
- Instant cold pack/s for bruises, sprains, or breaks
- Bottled water for drinking and washing
- Flashlight and high-visibility vest and/or blinkers for road emergencies
- A leash and spare collar
- Towels and old, clean t-shirts
- Long-handled comb (to remove cactus)
- Disposable gloves
- Your pet’s favorite wet food and a can opener
- Disposable dishes
- Copies of your pet’s medical records
- Contact information for your regular veterinary clinic as well as the numbers and locations of 24 hour emergency clinics in your area.
- List or program the Pet Poison Helpline number into your mobile device.
- Any medications recommended for your individual pet by your family veterinarian; do not use OTC medications for pets unless specifically directed to do so.
Stay Calm and Carry On
The most important way to help your pet in an emergency is to be a rational human being. Before rushing in, analyze the situation for such dangers as oncoming cars, other aggressive animals, and be ready for the real possibility that your own pet may bite you out of fear or pain.
- Remove the animal and yourself from danger
- If it is safe to do so, stabilize your pet’s wounds before moving him or her
- In the case of a dog fight, get help separating the dogs; keep your hands and face out of the fight zone
- Keep your pet warm to help prevent shock, but do not let him or her become overheated
- Speak calmly and soothingly
- Call for help and information
- If possible, put your pet in a carrier or secure place in your car
- Transport your pet immediately to his or her regular veterinarian or nearby emergency vet clinic
Remember the Boy Scout Motto
To be even better prepared in a pet emergency, consider taking one of the American Red Cross Pet First Aid classes. And remember, we are here for you 24/7/365 days a year. Never hesitate to call or walk in. Of course, we hope you’ll never need us, but if you do, we’re always here to help.