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The Health and Welfare of Your Dog

First Aid for Pets

Ever consider a first aid kit for Fido or Fluffy? There are a number of items and techniques to help a pet stay comfortable until professional help can be reached. Of course in any emergency situation, your veterinarian should be notified for immediate treatment.

Choking – The Heimlich Maneuver can be very effective for pets. Even if your vet is just a phone call away, every pet owner should be able to perform this life saving technique. Be sure to ask your veterinarian how to properly perform the Heimlich Maneuver on your pet.

Burns – Thermal burns on pets are treated much the same way humans treat burns. Apply a topical, soothing ointment such as aloe vera or Vitamin E oil to promote healing and ease the “sting” of the burn. Electrical burns are very serious, as they can stop a pet’s heart, so contact your veterinarian immediately if this is the case.

Poisoning – One good product to keep in your first aid kit is “activated charcoal”. This is commonly used for children as well. Activated charcoal will absorb toxins or poisons that were ingested, so that it can harmlessly pass through the digestive system.

Wounds – If your pet has a fresh, bleeding wound, try to subdue the animal and apply pressure with a cool, damp, cloth. Hold firmly for 10-20 minutes. If you are unable to stop the bleeding during this time, contact your veterinarian. Consider using a light wrap such as an ace bandage, and change this bandage frequently. A topical antibiotic ointment may be helpful to speed healing and keep wound clean.

Abrasions – Run cool water over the scrape several times daily to promote cleaning and healing. A topical healing ointment may be used. Bandages for abrasions are not usually recommended.

Sprains and Strains – Apply a cool compress or ice pack wrapped in a towel to the affected area to reduce swelling and ease pain. Warm and cool compresses may be alternated to increase circulation and promote healing.

Broken Bones – After calling the veterinarian, try to stabilize your pet by comforting him/her. Try to keep pet as calm and quiet as possible. A cool compress may be used to help keep swelling down, but generally the area will be very painful and sensitive to the touch. Makeshift splints and bandaging are not recommended for those who have no training in this area.

Smart pet owners will be prepared for any emergency. Be sure to have your veterinary emergency contact information in an obvious location (such as posted on your refrigerator or home message center).

Jennifer Horning has worked in the veterinary field for over 10 years as an assistant to a veterinarian homeopath/nutritionist.

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