The ABCs of administering first aid to animals

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Though treatment must be left to the professionals, owners may provide basic first aid to their pets to alleviate some of the pain.

Staying calm in the midst of an emergency is easier said than done. An owner’s calm demeanor is usually the first thing out the door the moment they lay eyes on their injured pet. Driven by fear, several owners would attempt to administer first aid on their furry companions. Though treatment must be left to the professionals, owners may provide basic first aid to their pets to alleviate some of the pain.

Committed to educating the Filipino pet community on proper pet care, the Pet Food Institute (PFI) shares some tips on how to administer basic first aid to pets.

Always be ready

A pet’s first aid kit is like a superhero’s utility belt and much like any other superhero, pet owners must always have their utility belt on hand in case of an emergency.

The following should be in their pet’s first aid kit:

Bandages are very important because these help control bleeding and keep wounds clean until they can be treated by a veterinarian. Some owners are hesitant to use bandages out of fear that this would stick to their pet’s fur and hurt their beloved companion. Owners may opt to use a non-adhesive wrap as it doesn’t stick to animal’s fur thus eliminating the possibility of hurting one’s pet.

Like bandages, thermometers are a must in a pet’s first aid kit. This tool will help owners determine if their pet has a fever. Experts recommend temperature to be taken rectally as it is more accurate.

Regardless of how friendly a pet may be, animals may still try to bite when in pain. Owners can slip in a leash or a muzzle inside their pet’s first aid kit to avoid getting bitten when administering first aid.

Water can be used to flush out wounds, soothe burns or cool off an overheated pet. Owners must remember to have an abundance of this in their first aid kit.

Be calm but act fast

During pet emergencies, owners must stay calm but act fast. The first thing owners must do is assess their pet’s condition: is their pet conscious? Is their pet bleeding? Bleeding, choking and heatstroke are some of the most common problems pets encounter. These are the following steps owners may do if their pet is faced with the following:

Bleeding. One of the most common problems in pets is bleeding. If an animal is bleeding, owners must remember to apply direct pressure with a clean towel or cloth for at least three minutes before checking to see if the bleeding had stopped. If not, or in the cases of life-threatening wounds, immediately take your pet to the veterinarian.

Choking. Pets have a tendency to put things inside their mouth and though some owners may find this endearing, this is dangerous as it may lead to choking. If owners find their pet with items lodged down its throat, the first thing to do is to look inside their mouth to see if the foreign object is visible. If it is visible, owners must assess if they can remove the foreign object with tweezers. Owners must remember to be careful in order to avoid pushing the object further down their pet’s throat. However, if owners cannot remove the foreign object or if their pet collapses, it is advisable to go to the nearest veterinarian.

Heatstroke. Heatstroke, especially in hot countries like the Philippines, is one of the most common ailments among animals. Veterinarians often remind owners to rush their furry pals to the clinic during the first signs of a heatstroke. However, if this is not possible, owners must move their pets to a shaded area away from the sun. A cold towel must be placed around their pet’s neck and head and the towel must be hydrated and wrapped after a few minutes.
To further cool them down, owners can pour or use a hose to keep cool water running over their pet’s body.

Call your veterinarian

Owners are reminded that though administering basic first aid to their pets may improve their chances of recovery, it may also cause damage if not administered properly. Veterinarians urge owners to immediately contact and bring their pets to the clinic at the first sign of trouble.

PFI is committed in informing pet owners about pet nutrition and proper pet care. Through its local initiative, Well-Fed, Well-Nurtured campaign in partnership with the Veterinary Practitioners Association of the Philippines, PFI seeks to advocate responsible pet ownership to the ever-growing Filipino pet community.

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