To finish out the month of April and continue to honor National Pet First Aid Awareness Month, this post will cover a few more situations in which first aid could prove lifesaving for your pet. Although first aid is not a replacement for a trip to the vet, knowing what to do in an emergency can often make all the difference in mitigating injury, permanent damage, and even death. And so, as pet parents, it is our duty to be well informed!
Should you believe your pet is suffering from a fracture, gently muzzle them for their safety as well as your own. Support your pet’s body on a flat surface. A stretcher is ideal in this situation, but you can also use a board or other sturdy surface with a towel or blanket wrapped tightly around. It is best to get your pet veterinary care as quickly as possible where they can splint and bandage the injury. Attempting this without the proper tools or experience can cause further damage so it is always best to leave the splinting to the professionals.
Some signs that indicate your pet may be choking are blue-tinged lips or tongue, difficulty breathing, choking sounds when breathing or coughing, and excessive pawing at the mouth. Be very careful when approaching a pet who is choking as they are in a state of panic and much more likely to bite. If your pet is still breathing simply remain calm and get the pet to the veterinarian. You may look into your pet’s mouth to see if any foreign object is present and visible. If you see something try to gently remove it with tweezers or pliers. Don’t spend a lot of time trying to do this and do not attempt if you feel at risk of pushing the object farther into the pet’s throat. If you feel you cannot safely remove the foreign object for any reason, leave this step to the veterinarians.
While on your way to the vet, if your pet collapses or if there is still a foreign object visible and present in the airway, place both hands on the side of your pet’s rib cage and apply firm, quick pressure. You can also try this by laying your pet on its side and striking the rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand 3-4 times. The hope is that in doing so you will push air abruptly from the lungs and dislodge the object behind it. Keep repeating this action either until you successfully dislodge the foreign object or until you get to the vet.
If your pet is suffering a burn, gently muzzle them for safety. For a chemical burn, flush the area with large amounts of water as soon as possible. For other severe burns, apply an ice compress to the affected area. In either case, make sure your pet is promptly treated by a veterinarian.
None of us ever want to see our pets hurt or in danger. But it is important to remember that accidents happen, and that knowledge is power. It is crucial in any emergency to remain calm and take a deep breath. From this place of centered awareness, you can implement the knowledge and skills learned in these last two posts and potentially make a life saving impact on your precious fur-kid.