Pets Benefit From First Aid Too

Armen Hareyan's picture

Imagine taking your daily morning walk with your dog on your usual route through the park... and only after seeing your pet's paw bleeding profusely do you notice the scattering of broken glass a few steps behind. What do you do?

Many pet owners are under-prepared to respond to an emergency with their pet. Each year in April, animal-welfare organizations focus on promoting pet first aid, and providing awareness and education to pet owners on how they can be prepared for the unexpected.

"Owning a pet is a full-time job," said Brent Hinton, PetFirst Healthcare CEO and former director of the Kentucky Humane Society. "It is essential that owners are responsible for the well-being of their furry friends and knowledgeable about basic first-aid procedures."

Although animals can get sick and require professional medical attention anytime, there are several instances when basic first-aid procedures can be effective:

-- Skin abrasions, lacerations or burns

-- Choking


-- Eye injuries such as scratches or debris irritation

-- Frostbite

-- Insect bites

-- Vomiting or diarrhea

-- Poisoning

Hinton recommends pet owners purchase or create their own pet first-aid kits and keep them at home and in the car. Many different types are available at local pet stores, veterinarian offices and on the Internet. Most include antibiotic oinents, gauze and sterile pads, adhesive tape, saline eye flush, syringes, scissors, soft cloth material and bandages.

Many humane societies, veterinary offices and branches of the American Red Cross offer pet first aid classes, teaching pet owners the basics including how to administer the Heimlich maneuver in a choking situation, which is the number one hazard amongst kittens and puppies.

"Unfortunately 9-1-1 doesn't exist for pets in an emergency situation," said Hinton. "It's important for new and even long-time pet owners to educate themselves now rather than find themselves unprepared when something unexpected or tragic happens to their pet."