How many of you were in scouting or a military cadet program growing up? Or how many of you took a babysitting or lifeguard certification class? I’m sure you have fun memories of first aid training where you got to wrap someone else up like a mummy or improvising a stretcher out of broom handles and a shirt.
While we all know how much fun we can have in a training scenario, in reality, when there is an actual emergency, time is not on your side and having the proper training and equipment can be a game changer. Additionally, recent history has shown that natural disasters and severe weather breakouts are increasing. Disaster preparedness for the whole family is essential! As an aside, here links so you’re ready for the next wildfire, blizzard, flood, tornado, etc.:
- Ready.gov: Plan Ahead for Disasters
- American Red Cross: How to Prepare for Emergencies:
- Government of Canada, Department of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Get Prepared
- UK Government: Preparing for Emergencies
OK, back to the furbabies.
If you don’t have a Pet First Aid Kit already, Small Pet Select is here for you! We did the research on what you need in your Pet First Aid Kit and share links to helpful downloads in this blog article. The links provided are suggestions and not endorsed by Small Pet Select.
Basic Pet First Aid Kit:
You’re probably going to notice that most of our recommendations are the same as in a human first aid kit, so if you already have these items on hand, you’re well on your way to be ready for any pet emergency.
- Waterproof container for first aid supplies
- Non-adhesive bandages, i.e., rolls or gauze squares
- Antibiotic spray/ointment
- Magnifying glass or reading glasses
- Disposable gloves
- Sterile saline eye wash
- Bottled water
- Cotton balls
- Cotton swabs
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Styptic powder
- Oral syringe
- Liquid dish soap
- Digital thermometer
- Water-based unscented lubricant
- Emergency contact card
- Pet Poison Hotline: (855) 764-7661
- ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number: (888) 426-4435
- Animal emergency hospital
- Blanket or towels
- Slip leash
- Collapsible water bowl
First Aid Training:
You don’t even have to leave your house! As a suggestion, there’s an online class from the American Red Cross.
Why is taking a pet first aid class important?
- It does more than help save lives. You'll learn how to remain calm in emergency situations, and you'll learn simple acronyms to help you recall the steps you need to take. First aid training will make you confident and comfortable.
- It enables you to increase your pet’s comfort. Not all accidents, injuries, or illnesses require a trip to the vet, but it doesn’t mean they don’t cause pain and suffering to your furbaby. By knowing how to act – even just by employing simple techniques, you'll help to relieve their discomfort. You'll also provide emotional support by remaining calm and collected, which will make them feel more secure and reduce their anxiety levels.
- It gives you tools to prevent the situation from becoming worse. In some cases, if a patient doesn't receive first aid care immediately, their condition will deteriorate – often rapidly. By being able to provide basic care, you can stabilize your patient until they arrive at the pet emergency clinic.
Info at your fingertips:
- Pet First Aid Manual (by American Red Cross)
- The First Aid Companion for Dogs & Cats (Prevention Pets) by Amy Shojai
- Pet First Aid (by American Red Cross) for Apple or Android
- Animal Help Now for Apple or Android
- Animal Help Now Website
As we all know, the small mammals that are our valued customers require a lot of extra care. You could also have a dog with diabetes or a cat like mine who is asthmatic. Obviously, the supplies to support their unique needs should be in your First Aid Kit but working with your vet to make sure you have the skills to help their special needs is an integral part of your kit too!
As an example, when both of my bunnies had bouts of GI Stasis, our pawsome vet, Dr. Brad Bundy of Yorkshire Veterinary Hospital in Colorado Springs, CO, made sure the nurses properly trained me on everything I needed to do for their next episode. Using my own furbabies, they made sure I knew how to check their temperature rectally, how to syringe feed them Critical Care and how much to give them per day, how to administer pain medication and give them subcutaneous fluids. Finally, he made sure I had all the right supplies, i.e., the correct syringes to feed Critical Care and an IV bag/line kit to give the fluids.
When I got home, I made sure I put all the supplies and written instructions with the rest of our first aid supplies so I could easily find them when I needed them. When they have an episode, I am stressed and worried already, so not being able to spot what I need to help them would just make everything worse.
Final Common-sense advice:
Have a pet first aid kit at home and in each vehicle and/or boat.
Check the supplies in your pet’s first-aid kit occasionally and replace any items that have expired.
For your family’s safety, keep all medical supplies and medications out of the reach of children and pets.
When traveling with your furbaby, make sure you have their medications too.