By Denise Fleck, Sunny-dog Ink
Whether you’ve found your own pet hurt and away from home or are playing good Samaritan to someone else’s pet you find, knowing Pet First Aid could be a great comfort as well as a life-saver! Having been away from the safety of their loving home and family, a lost pet could find himself in unfriendly surroundings and face-to-face with dangers he never dreamed of. Knowing what to do at the moment you find a furry one who has been through such an ordeal, can truly make a difference in minimizing pain and further injury.
First carefully perform a HEAD-TO-TAIL check-up to determine what may have gotten bumped, scraped or bitten along the way. Remember, safety first! Whether it is your precious pooch who has been injured or an unknown pet, when in pain, animals can bite so carefully, muzzle and restrain to prevent harm to themselves. Then provide safe and prompt transport to professional veterinary help if needed.
1. BANDAGING, SPLINTING & PREVENTING FURTHER BLOOD LOSS
could be a life-saver or at the very least, ward off infection. Fights with other animals, getting caught in fences, being hit by a car can all result in a plethora of cuts, scrapes, tears and puncture wounds, not to mention broken bones. Direct pressure on the wound with clean gauze, followed by elevating the injured area if necessary can control bleeding. In more serious cases, applying pressure to one of the major arteries (femoral inside thigh; brachial inside front leg and caudal at the base of the tail) can aid in clotting to its respective limb. Here is great first kit
with all the gauze and tools for this treatment.
2. RE-HYDRATING & PROVIDING NUTRITION is vital. A pet on the run may have gone days or weeks (we’ve even seen pets find their way home years later thanks to microchips and proper ID) without proper food and water. It’s possible that what they did eat or drink may have resulted in vomiting or diarrhea, so regardless, rehydrating is of utmost importance. Don’t let an overly thirsty pet tank up on the whole bowl at once though as he’ll consume air along with it, bloating his stomach. Provide water in small amounts every 10-15 minutes and if his gums seem dry or even sticky, see if some electrolytes won’t help.
A good homemade recipe is:
1 Quart Fresh Water (bottled or filtered preferred)
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Teaspoon Salt
Mix and store in refrigerator but serve at room temperature making a fresh batch daily.
Throughout the day, dose 3 Tablespoons for puppies/kittens
5 Tablespoons for pets up to 5 lbs.
¾ cups for pets up to 10 lbs.
¼ cup per 5 lbs. of body weight for pets 15 lbs. and more
With food too, small bits frequently to ease his stomach back into digestion. If he’s been queasy, a couple ginger snap cookies (the human kind) may settle his stomach as could cooled ginger, peppermint or chamomile tea to drink, but re-hydration is of the utmost importance.
Once ready to eat, something soft and bland like plain rice and boiled chicken, rice and scrambled egg (without butter or oil) or rice with non-fat yogurt might be a good choice to start.
3. POISONING is very likely for a dog or cat who is used to loving pet parents providing their meals but is now faced with the challenge of eating when out on his own. From traps set by malicious humans or just by struggling to find a meal out of the garbage, the recovered pet could be showing symptoms that include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea or seizures. If you can’t determine what poison he may have ingested, it’s best to dilute (feed large quantities of water or non-fat milk; many pets are lactose intolerant and will vomit up milk) to buy you time as you travel quickly to veterinary assistance. Even portions of various plants can be poisonous and ingesting them can be deadly! If you know however what the animal swallowed, and that although toxic, it is not caustic (food or anti-freeze for instance), dribble 1 Tablespoon of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide on his tongue till swallowed (for every 10-15 lbs. the pet weights) to induce vomiting. Then get to your Veterinarian for additional care.
4. CHOKING OR EMBEDDED OBJECTS could be causing the animal great distress. A stuck bone, stick or even toothpick could be causing pain to the skin or inside the mouth. Secure objects imbedded in skin so that they cannot move causing further injury and seek quick veterinary care. Pulling them out could erupt blood vessels and cause profuse bleeding. As for anything stuck in the mouth, look inside before you attempt to remove anything so as not to hurt laryngeal tissue, gums or teeth. If you can’t retrieve the object, knowing the doggie or kitty Heimlich-like Manuever (best learned in person in a Pet First Aid Class) could prevent the animal from going unconscious.
5. RESCUE BREATHING & CPR is needed in those worst-case scenarios when the dog or cat is not breathing and does not have a pulse. Veterinarians are the experts, but if you deliver a pet who is already deceased, all the training, knowledge and skill in the world can bring the animal back to life. By knowing how to circulate life-giving blood and oxygen to the pet’s tissues and organs, you can keep his body vital and keep him alive until you reach professional medical help. Don’t wish you HAD learned Pet First-Aid & CPR for your pet’s sake!
Denise Fleck is an award winning author and freelance writer. After extensive training, practice, more training and more practice, she developed her own Pet First-Aid & CPR curriculum and has been teaching animal life-saving skills for 15 years with many success stories to share. Additionally she developed a 5 month long Animal Care course for high school students in conjunction with the Burbank Unified School District and Animal Shelter. She has demonstrated animal life-saving skills on CBS –TV’s “The Doctors,” Animal Planet’s “Pit Boss,” “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life” and countless other shows. To complement her teachings, Denise created a line of Pet First-Aid Kits, posters and books for children teaching animal respect and care! Visit www.sunnydogink.com or call (818) 951-7962