Don’t fool around with Pet First Aid – Happy Pet First Aid Awareness Month!

Let me help you prepare in the event of a pet emergency!

As a pet parent, one of the first things that happen when we see one of our little ones (or big ones) in an emergency situation is PANIC! So, before you decide to run around in the back yard screaming and flailing your arms, RELAX. Just like with people, animals can also sense when we are panicked and worried. So stay calm and all will go MUCH smoother!

Pet First Aid Awareness MonthIt’s important to start out by knowing where your nearest veterinary emergency hospital is located. Even when we are traveling, we should be aware of where we should go in case of a crisis. Remember that our pets, even though we see them as our kids, are not little furry people. We should NEVER give them any human drugs without consulting a veterinarian. Most of us do not understand the harm even one small dose of an human medication can cause them.

While many households have first aid kits, many do not have one for their pets. Every pet owner should have a first aid kit at home available just in case one should ever need it. I’ve created a simple checklist for you of the items to include in yours:

  • Phone numbers
    • Your family veterinarian
    • Your local veterinary emergency clinic, like NorthStar VETS at 609.259.8300
    • Animal Poison Control at 888.426.4435
  • Digital thermometer
  • Gauze of different sizes
  • Non-adhesive bandaging material
  • Adhesive tape
  • Sterile saline
  • Hydrogen peroxide (never give prior to consulting a veterinary medical professional)
  • Leash
  • Towel and/or blanket
  • Any other item you feel you may need

Note: Always remember that when our pets are hurt and injured, they are painful! Painful pets can bite, even if they have never bitten in their lives. So be cautious when handling them. A muzzle, even one made out of roll gauze may not be a bad idea to use when handling them. Use caution when using the muzzle, making sure your pet can breathe well.

Please REMEMBER, Dr. GOOGLE is NOT always correct; do not believe everything you find on the internet. There are many reliable resources out there to help you. Good options include your family veterinarian, the American Veterinary Medical Association website, the American Animal Hospital Association website and the American Red Cross Pet First Aid app. If you are interested in educating yourself further on Pet First Aid you should consider attending an American Red Cross Pet First Aid & CPR course.

Several times a year, NorthStar VETS partners with a non-profit charity called VET I CARE to host a Pet First Aid lecture. Keep an eye out for the next one coming up!

Know that other than human medications there are many other common household items that can be toxic to pets. Some examples include:

  • Chocolate
  • Some plants/flowers
  • Household cleaners
  • Cigarettes
  • Some nuts
  • Some chewing gums
  • And many many more!

For a full list of different toxins you can visit the ASPCA Animal Poison Control website.
Every season brings a new concern for our pets. Be educated and prepared and you may one day end up saving your furry family member’s life!

Alexander Munoz, CVTAlexander Munoz, CVT
Alexander Munoz, CVT is the Director of Learning & Development for NorthStar VETS in Robbinsville, NJ. Alex has worked in the field of veterinary medicine for more than 10 years. He has worked in general practice, specialty medicine including emergency and critical care as well as in academia. He has a special interest in critical care medicine and teaching.

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