Owning a Pet is satisfying and provides a loyal and non-judgmental source of love and companionship. But love is a two-way street. Pet owners need to bear in mind that the safe and care of their four-legged family members depends up them.
Having a Pet First Aid Kit and/or a Pet Emergency Kit is essential,, and of course these need to have a quality Pet Emergency First Aid Guide book, but what good are they if you just purchase them and store them for the time you may need them? Sure, the guide will be helpful in an emergency, especially if you have two people available (one to read instructions while the other performs the first aid skills) but reading it ahead of time, and going through the contents of your dog, cat, or horse first aid kit in advance is essential.
Our Animals are typically mammals - warm blooded and similar enough to us that we think our human first aid skills will suffice...they won't. Here are two examples:
|CPR||→ Flat on Back, Compressions in the middle of the sternum
→ Mouth to Mouth (or Mouth to nose and Mouth for infants) ventilations
|→ On side, compressions on the rib cage
→ Mouth to Snout ventilations
|Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2)||→ Used for cleaning buts & Wounds||→ Used to expel ingested poisons|
Would you know these things if you hadn't read this article? There's a lot more to learn, too... read your pet first aid guide BEFORE you need to come to your pet's rescue. Look into local Pet First Aid classes, too - they are often free or inexpensive and offered at community centers and veterinarian clinics.
A good Pet First Aid class will focus on Dogs & Cats, but will often cover other pets as well... The curriculum will often cover topics including what to have in pet preparedness kits, how to approach an ill or injured animal, capture and restraining techniques, rescue breathing and CPR for different sized dogs and cats, splinting, basic wound care and caring for shock and other injuries. Some activities, such the rescue breathing and CPR, are often hands-on with pet cpr manikins.
How to handle a conscious dog or cat that is choking depends on their size. For all animals, start with pulling the tongue forward and carefully sweep the mouth with a finger for the object. For small dog breeds and cats, hold them with their spine against your chest. With the other hand, place a fist behind the last rib. Push inward and upward rapidly with your fist five times. Carefully sweep the mouth again to dislodge the object if it hasn’t come out on its own.
If that doesn’t work, suspend the animal by its hips with the head hanging down and check the mouth using a finger sweep. Give five sharp blows with the palm of your hand to the animal’s back between the shoulder blades. Carefully sweep the mouth with a finger to dislodge the object if it hasn’t come out on its own. Repeat the steps until the animal breathes on its own or becomes unconscious.
With medium, large and giant dogs, after the finger sweep, place the dog on its side. Place the head and neck in a neutral position. Place the palms of your hands below the rib cage and give five rapid abdominal thrusts in an inward and upward motion. Check the dog’s mouth with a penlight for the object. If unsuccessful, hold the dog’s hind legs in the air like a wheelbarrow so the head hangs down. Check the dog’s mouth again using a finger sweep and remove the object if possible. If that doesn’t work, give five sharp back blows with the palm of your hand between the shoulder blades. Carefully sweep the mouth for the object. Repeat the steps the animal breathes on its own or becomes unconscious.
Whether you are pet-pared with your first aid kit, emergency supplies, and training or not - some things call for more sophisticated animal healthcare. If you are in a metropolitan area, there are probably 24 hour veterinary clinics available (they are costly, but sometimes necessary.) If you are in a rural location or smaller town, ask your Veterinarian (in advance) what your best off-hours emergency options are. Remember that transporting an injured animal is dangerous. Even the most loving and docile pet is still an animal, and may blindly lash out when injured or scared - hurting your, your family, or others. Have muzzles, leads (provided in many pet first aid kits) and pet carriers available. The best trained pet can bite or run away when traumatized.
Loving your pet means knowing what to do, how and when to do it, and being prepared with the supplies necessary for pet survival in an emergency...
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