Stock all of these information and you may save your pets. 

By Michiko Manalang

So you’ve got your antiseptic, your painkillers, your bandages, your antihistamines, your emergency medicines— you’re pretty much set in case of an emergency.

TIP: If you don’t have your own emergency kit, then you should really get around to that. You’re welcome.

But what about your pet?

PET AID – Let’s first establish the most obvious umbrella rule: please do not administer your own human medicines to your pet. Whatever kind of pet you’ve got, it’s safe for us to assume it’s smaller than you, and it’s given that it’s physiology is different. Don’t take that risk.

The best thing you can do is to check your nearest veterinary clinic. If there’s an emergency and you call ahead but there’s no doctor available, staff members who are present should still be able to help you out.

TIP: Keep a pen and scratch paper or a small notebook in an easily accessible area of your home, such as where your landline is, or where you keep your keys, or on a small table near the main door. That way you can easily take notes in cas eof emergencies.

A good pet owner also knows when their charge is acting strangely. Check whether Fido or Fluffy’s appetite, general sleep pattern, and active hours lie within their normal range. Any sudden spike or drop in one or more of these warrants a visit to the vet as soon as possible.

Any accidents and/or injuries should of course be treated with the same if not more urgency; in case anesthesia has to be administered, don’t give your pet food or water until the vet or clinic staff say it’s safe to do so.

So what should you have on hand for minor cuts or when you have to wait for the vet to arrive?

More or less, these are the same things you should equip your own kit with, but with a few things swapped out:

If you have multiple pets, make sure there’s enough to go around. You may want to keep all these in a handy sectioned kit that you will store where it’s easy for you or your household to access.

It’s slightly different for fish, though. You’re going to need a separate tank (the “hospital tank”) and the equipment/ tools necessary to test pH, ammonia, phosphate, and nitrate levels. That way, and by observing the environment inside the aquarium, you can generally figure out what’s wrong even if you can’t reach your vet right away.

In cats, tail injuries require a vet visit. It sounds weird, but this could induce bladder issues.

Whatever pet you own, you need to have done your research on them and the ailments or conditions they tend to suffer from, then prepare for these.

Remember: first aid is no substitute for a visit to the vet. If you’re not trained in veterinary medicine, it’s difficult to know everything that might have possibly gone wrong. If you can’t tell what’s wrong yet, your best bet is your pet’s vet. (Editing, additional text and research by CFB)

Here are a few additional tips for dealing with your pet’s emergencies :

• One major thing that people often forget is that animals in distress tend to get aggressive. If it is at all possible or applicable, get your pet to calm down first. It’s understandable that when your pets are in pain or you see blood, you will try to rush to get them relief. However, it is imperative that they understand you are not going to harm them further, and that they don’t detect your stress. It also helps keep them calm if they have to be brought to the vet.

• If the pet cone is necessary, don’t let your dog or cat out on their own as this device will prevent them from seeing traffic. They’re better off indoors or within the confines of a yard until you get the green light to remove it.

• If you’re moving or traveling with your pet/s, make sure they’ve got ID tags with the appropriate numbers and addresses, and that you have a travel first aid kit. This all sounds like a lot, but it’s generally better to be safe than sorry. Even the most unfortunate of incidents involving your pets are often preventable, so long as you’re prepared.

SOURCES:
• https://www.avma.org/public/EmergencyCare/Pages/First-Aid-Tips-for-Pet-Owners.aspx

• https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/basic-first-aid-cats

• http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Articles/bird_commoninjuries.cfm

• http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?articleid=485

This story appeared in Animal Scene’s August 2017 issue.