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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Safety

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

In emergency, your pet's survival depends on you

Twenty-five percent more pets would survive emergency situations if their owners had simply used one first-aid technique on their companions prior to getting to the veterinarian, animal health experts say.

Simple first-aid procedures - like knowing how to apply pressure to a source of bleeding and affixing a temporary bandage - can make the difference between life and death, according to the American Animal Hospital Association.

“An emergency situation can be handled much faster and more appropriately if an owner has resources like a first aid kit and list of important phone numbers (veterinarian, emergency animal hospital and poison control) easily accessible,” Emily Pointer, a veterinarian at Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City, states in a media release.

Pet parents must be prepared to deal with emergencies, Dr. Pointer said. They should think about the most common accidents and take action to prevent these emergencies.

Like people, most pet accidents happen in or nearby the home. Common pet accidents include ingestion of a toxin, dog bites, high rise syndrome, ripped toenails, ingestion of foreign objects causing gastrointestinal problems, eye emergencies, broken bones, trouble giving birth and being hit by a car.

Pet parents need to remain calm during an emergency because panicking will stress the injured animal, Dr. Pointer says. After applying an initial first-aid technique, a pet parent should immediately contact their veterinarian, an emergency veterinary center or poison control.“Even after a pet owner has administered first aid, it is extremely important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible,” Dr. Pointer said. “There are many, many emergencies that cannot be managed, even in the initial period, with simple first aid.”

According to Pet Sitters International a basic pet first-aid kit should include:

  • Sterile gauze pads, first-aid adhesive tape and cotton swabs/applicators.
  • Tweezers and scissors.
  • Plastic freezer/sandwich bags.
  • Small bottle of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide.
  • Styptic pencil or cornstarch (stems blood flow from minor cuts).
  • Antibacterial ointment and antiseptic cleansing wipes.
  • A pet first-aid book.
  • Sterile eye/skin wash and eyedropper.
  • Digital or rectal thermometer in a plastic case.
  • Leather work gloves and latex gloves.
  • A leash and thin rope.
  • Burn gel, an instant cold pack and lubricating jelly.
  • Oral syringes.
  • A tick remover.
  • Bandages (cohesive and plastic).
  • A blanket and safety pins.
  • Hand-cleansing wipes, alcohol wipes and sting relief wipes.
  • Splint materials such as a tongue depressor, 12-inch wooden ruler or thick magazine.
  • Animal emergency hospital/animal poison control contact information.