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Pet First Aid Awareness Month


It could happen anywhere. Pets at home get in a fight, an outdoor cat comes home with a swollen, gooey eye, or a pet gets hit by a car. April, known as Pet First Aid Awareness Month, aims to help pet parents understand the importance of ensuring their pet’s well-being in unexpected situations by learning about pet first aid.

Take dehydration. If a pet parent suspects that their pet is dehydrated, they can pull up on the skin between the shoulder blades. If the pet is hydrated enough, the skin will fall back down normally, but if they aren’t, the skin will stay in an upright position. Every pet parents tries their best to keep poisons away from pet’s paws. But there’s still a chance that a pet is determined to get into something, and that can cause issues. Signs of pet poisoning include bleeding externally or internally, dilated pupils, drooling or foaming at the mouth, seizures or other abnormal mental states or behavior. 

Just the word seizure can be scary, but it can be even scarier confronted with a real animal on the ground suffering from one. If this happens when a pet parent is home, make sure it is in a safe place. Do not restrain the animal, and don’t put hands by their mouth. In their state, pets may not know who their owner is and could bite them. With summer around the corner, pet parents also need to be aware of the signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Collapse, body temperature of 104 degrees F, bloody diarrhea or vomiting, wobbliness, excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increase heart rate, red mucous membranes and increased salivation are all signs of heat related illness. 

Pet bites are another unwanted issue. If a pet does get bitten, no matter how small the wound, they still need to be taken to a vet. If they are bleeding, apply pressure directly to the wound with gauze, and use more gauze if the blood continues to soak through until a vet can be notified. The chances of a bite becoming infected increase when not checked properly by a vet, especially if it’s an internal wound.

So pet parents know some signs to look for, but what are some other tips? One, know where the closest emergency vet is in the area. Post the vets number on the fridge or someplace where it’s readily available, if needed. The second is to make a pet first aid kit, which should include hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting), eye wash, gauze, first aid cream, Benadryl (for an allergic reaction), and an antacid (for tummy trouble). Learning how to perform CPR on an animal can also be helpful, and in a chocking case, can be the difference between life and death.

More lifesaving information can be found on the Red Cross Pet First Aid App that helps pet owners provide emergency care until a pet can be brought to a vet. Included in the app are 25 common first aid emergencies along with step-by-step instructions, videos and pictures. The app can be found on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store by searching American Red Cross. Do furry family members a favor and learn about pet first aid so that if something does happen, pet parents can hopefully save time, money, and spend more times coddling their recovering pets at home instead of visiting them at the vet.