By Suzanne Wiley, volunteer contributor, American Red Cross
In my early twenties, all I wanted for one of my birthdays was a Chihuahua. My mother promptly humored me and searched out a breeder. When we arrived, the breeder brought out a litter of tiny Chihuahua puppies in various colors of tan and chocolate. While an all light one climbed immediately into my lap, one of the darker chocolate and tan ones started running around in circles around the living room. My mom pointed to that one and said, “we’ll take it.” I was a little disappointed, as the all tan one obviously had picked me out, but my mom later told me she chose him because he “looked healthy.”
Little did we know…
Unbeknownst to us, little Thorson Glen had more problems than we could have ever anticipated. His first vet visit was a shock. Not only was his skull not fusing properly, but he had a heart murmur.
After his round of puppy shots were finished, it turned out that Thorson also suffers from seizures, is allergic to almost everything is one of the most accident-prone pets I have ever known in my life. T has fallen into a swimming pool, jumped out of a car window, developed staph on half his body, ate an entire fun-sized Snickers bar (quite the big deal when you are only five pounds), fell off the porch losing some teeth and been bit by an 80-pound lab/Sheppard mix-resulting in a blind eye. The amount of accidents, illnesses and emergency room visits proves my little guy has survived in his 16 years is just short of a miracle.
Is he really that tough? I owe much of his survival to quick thinking and pet first aid. Near drowning, breaks, puncture wounds, eye injuries? Guess what?! Yep! There’s an app for that!
This free and easy to use app for iPhone and Android teaches you how to check your pup’s vitals, perform CPR and treat allergic reactions, poisons, wounds, burns, shock and much, much more. Even slipped discs. And yes, Thorson has those, too.
Beyond that, the app allows you to keep your pets records, store your vet’s phone number and locate the nearest emergency vet care. Like all of The American Red Cross apps, the pet first aid app is so complete that it is educating, fun and helpful before, during and after an emergency with your pet.
With that said, no vet will tell you that an app or any amount of reading replaces a trip to the clinic. Never substitute first aid with seeing your vet after your pet is injured or sick. Most pet first aid is to help save your pet’s life or stabilize your pet while transporting them to your vet or an emergency 24-hour veterianarian.
Treating Your Pet
Just like you, your pet needs a preparedness kit. A pet first aid has much of the same items as a human’s kit, but the supplies is specialized to a pet’s fur. A good pet first aid kit will include:
- Non-stick bandages (never use a Band-Aid on an animal)
- Milk of Magnesia or hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting (Never use without calling a vet first)
- Eye dropper
Basic First Aid for Your Four-Legged Friend
If your animal has been hurt, proceed slowly. Even the gentlest cat or dog may bite when in pain. If they aren’t vomiting, it is okay to muzzle them while you treat them. Treating the initial injury, after Wrap your pet in a towel or crate them and head to the vet.
Just as you stop bleeding on people, you can do the same with your pet. Wrap gauge around the wound and apply pressure for at least three minutes.
Wash a burn with water and apply a cold compress or ice pack.
My first aid kit includes special tweezers. If your pet is choking, open the mouth, pull out and the tongue and remove the obstruction, taking great care you don’t push it further into the mouth or throat.
Cuts, Wounds, Tears and Abrasion
If you pet has torn, ripped or cut the pad on their food, wash it with warm soapy water or make a saline mixture by mixing one teaspoon salt with one quart of water. Then wrap with gauze.
Our pets are precious to us. They deserve the best care and attention. Just like people, your quick actions as soon as a pet is injured can save its life.