Accidents happen really quickly when our pets are out and about. We would all like to be prepared, should an emergency situation occur. Luckily for us, we have Marycke Ackhurst, Breeder Manager at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, took us through her pet first aid kit and gave us some tips when dealing with pet emergencies.
In order to be prepared for an emergency at home with your pet, what should you always have on hand in order to be able to help them should they need it?
Info card with your vet’s telephone number, poison control number, your pet’s weight and normal temperature
Material to create a bandage
Towel or blanket
Antiseptic liquid soap
Sterile saline solution
Drugs such as aspirin (not for cats!) and something to induce vomiting such as washing powder
It might be difficult to tell if your pet is not well, unless there are obvious signs that something is clearly not right. What kinds of things should pet owners look out for if they think that their pet is looking a bit “off colour”?
Temperature - anything above 39.5 degrees is a fever, below 37.5 is hypothermia;
Skin and gum colour – pink is healthy;
How long it takes for your pets blood vessels in the gums to fill with blood again after you apply pressure to an area (1 -2 seconds is normal);
Heart rate and respiration
What are some common life-threatening situations that can occur at home and how can we best help our pets when these arise?
The key thing here is making sure you have the knowledge to help your pet if they get into an emergent situation and keep them stable/calm until you can get them to a vet. There are a few 24 hour vet clinics around so it’s important that you make yourself aware of the ones in your area.
Basic injuries – broken limbs, other animal bites, etc. Important to muzzle your dog so that they don’t snap at you as they will be in a lot of pain.
Shock – result of massive injury, blood loss or chronic, septic wounds. Main signs to look out for here are bright red gums that turn pale after about 10 min, rapid feint heartbeat, rapid breathing & low body temperature. Control visible bleeding, keep the pet warm & wrapped in a blanky on the way to the vet, artificial respiration if not breathing or CPR if not breathing & heart has stopped.
Bleeding – often looks worse than it is. Any wound that does not stop bleeding should be attended to by a vet. Do not wash these wounds. Never attempt to remove any protruding objects from these wounds. Apply direct pressure with a gauze, but do not remove if the blood starts seeping through. Simply replace with a new gauze and apply pressure until you get to the vet.
Heatstroke - To prevent this don’t exercise your pet at the hottest time of day, don’t leave unattended in hot car, make sure your pet has shelter from the sun during the day. Keep long hair groomed or trimmed, and also note that overweight pets are at an increased risk of heatstroke; Signs to look out for: rapid panting, red gums and tongue, temp higher than 39.5 degrees or your pet has collapsed. To treat, hose down your pet or keep them in cool water. If unconscious keep the head above the water. Use a wet cloth on the back of their neck and place an icepack on top of that to prevent brain swelling. Give lots of water to drink and keep in front of air con on the way to the vet.