First Aid Tips For Our Pets by Diane Black

What would you do for the safety of your children? What would you do for the safety of yourself or a relative?  How far would you go to save their life? Would you seek out the most immediate care if medical treatment were needed? Would you administer first aid on your child? Your wife? Your parent? How about your dog or cat?

We all know that first aid is an important, if not imperative, part of our daily lives. We would take all things necessary to protect our families, but, what about our pets? The concept of applying first aid to the beloved family pet is an action which we seem to overlook. We do not do it intentionally. We simply do not think that applying first aid to the family pet is something every pet owner should know.

When we travel in the family car, where are our pets? Are they in a carrier?  Are they loose in the car? Do we take safety precautions? A lot of people do not secure the dog or cat and that can create unnecessary risks to your pet. For the safety of our pets, cats should be transported in a carrier. The carrier should be secured with a seatbelt. Seatbelt harnesses should be used for dogs, regardless of their size.

Dogs can be restrained by hooking their leash to a tether strap. This will assist in restraining the dog from going through the windows should you need to apply the brakes suddenly. Attaching the leash to the tether strap would continue to allow the dog to sit up or lay down, put there head out the window, etc. while keeping the dog restrained. When traveling by plane, an airline approved carry case should be used and small animals can go under your seat in their carry case. The cost of this is approximately $50 to $75 round trip.

When crossing the border, one should investigate the requirements for any and all vaccines, as well as any necessary documentation, before traveling.  International regulations may differ from border crossing to the United States and these regulations should be investigated in great detail to prevent any problems when transporting your pet.

An emergency kit should be in every pet owner’s vehicle. This kit should include:

  • Bandage tape
  • Sterile conforming bandage
  • bandages
  • Sting release
  • Elastic support bandages
  • Q-tips
  • Antiseptic towelettes
  • Thermometer
  • Scissors
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Gloves
  • Vet wrap
  • Tongue depressors
  • Quick stop or no bleed powder
  • First aid cream
  • Non adhesion pad
  • Triangle bandage
  • Forceps
  • Blanket
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Sunscreen

If your dog is seriously injured and cannot walk or move, then a stretcher should be used to transport the animal to a medical care facility.  A stretcher can easily be constructed by the following means:

  • Find two strong, sturdy branches.
  • Put a blanket down on the ground.
  • Put one branch on each side of the blanket about 1⁄4 of the way in.
  • Fold both ends toward the middle of the blanket.
  • Place the animal on the folds.
  • One person can drag the stretcher; two people can lift it and carry the animal to a vehicle so it can be taken to the nearest medical facility or to safety.

If you would go to any lengths to protect your family, why not do the same for your family pets? Why not enroll in a first aid class to learn how to better safeguard your pets as well as your family?

It is recommended that people carry the above mentioned first aid kit. If people are interested, there are courses for first aid available through St. John’s Ambulance.