The American Red Cross has named April as National Pet First Aid Awareness month. So take advantage of this reminder to set up a pet first aid kit for both your home and your family car so that you can jump into action immediately.
A typical first aid kit suitable for both dogs and cats should include:
- An antiseptic ointment or solution
- Hydrocortisone ointment or antihistamine spray for insect stings
- Small stainless steel or plastic bowls for solutions to bathe wounds
- Cotton balls, cotton buds and a roll of cotton padding
- Sterile dressing pads
- Liquid bandage for pets
- Self-adhesive bandage
- A small flashlight and fresh batteries to look inside a mouth
- Latex gloves
- Sharp tweezers
- Small blunt scissors
- Sterile eyewash (the human kind is suitable)
- Syringe plunger to administer liquid medicine
- Glucose powder to make a rehydrating fluid. Use one tablespoon of glucose and add a teaspoon of salt to a liter of water (1 and a quarter pints)
- Keep an ice pack in the fridge marked accordingly for a pet emergency. (Keep a small towel in your kit to wrap it in for use.)
- An Elizabethan collar to prevent your pet from interfering with a dressing or bandage.
- A gadget called a tick key to safely remove ticks without leaving any poisonous discharge behind.
Put everything in a clear plastic container, mark it and keep it accessible. Don’t forget to include telephone numbers for your veterinarian, local emergency pet care and the ASPCA Poison Unit (888) 426-4435. There may be a $65 consultation fee payable by credit card.
Being a good pet parent also means being cognizant around the home to ensure accidents don’t happen. Make sure that electrical cables for computers and lamps are not within reach as chewing on them can be fatal. There are special products that contain citronella to wrap chords to deter curious cats and dogs. Dental floss and cotton balls should never left in an open bin. And don’t leave leftover food unattended in the kitchen or at barbeques; pets can choke on bones and corncobs. And finally, be sure that both human medications and pet meds are kept well out of reach.
Pet CPR classes are available countrywide. Google a location in your area or check with your veterinarian.