After a series of severe storms swept over the western plains states last weekend, it is a reminder for us all to be prepared for natural disasters, especially during the spring and summer months. Since pets are members of our family too, it is important that we also plan for their needs in an emergency. April is the perfect time to prepare since it is also National Pet First Aid Month.
Below is a list supplied by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) which outlines some must-have items in your pet first aid kit. Make sure you pass this along to other friends and family members who have pets so that they are also prepared when disaster strikes.
Canine/Feline First Aid Kit:
1. Important phone numbers and your pet's medical recording (including medication and vaccination history). The following phone numbers should be included: your veterinarian, local emergency clinic, Animal Poison Control Center (888) 426-4435. We advise our clients at Christensen Animal Hospital to have both an electronic AND paper copy of their records. Our patients all have complimentary electronic PetPortals that allow owners to access their pet's vaccination history and medication information 24 hours a day via the internet.
2. Gauze - For wrapping wounds or muzzling the injured animal.
3. Non-stick bandages, towels, or strips of clean cloth - To control bleeding or protect wounds.
4. Adhesive tape for bandages - For securing the gauze wrap or bandage. Do not use human adhesive bandages like Band-Aids on pets.
5. Milk of Magnesia and activated charcoal - To absorb poison. Always contact your veterinarian or local poison control centter before inducing vomiting or treating an animal for poison.
6. Hydrogen peroxide (3%) - To induce vomiting.
7. Digital Thermometer - you will need a "fever" thermometer because the temperature scale of a regular thermometer doesn't go high enough for pets. Do not insert a thermometer into your pet's mouth - the temperature must be taken rectally.
8. Eye dropper (or large syringe without needle) - To give oral treatments or flush wounds.
9. Muzzle (in an emergency a rope, necktie, soft cloth, nylon stocking, or small towel may be used) - To cover your pet's head. If the pet is vomiting, do not muzzle it!
10. Leash - To transport your pet (if your pet is capable of walking without further injury).
11. Stretcher (in an emergency a door, board, blanket or floor mat may be used) - To stabilize the injured animal and prevent further injury during transport.
If your pet has consumed something that may be harmful, or if the animal is having seizures, losing consciousness, or is unconscious and having difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian and poison control immediately. Have the following information available when you speak to the poison control center:
1. Species, breed, age, sex, weight, and number of animals involved.
3. Name and description of the substance that is in question; the amount the animal was exposed to; and the length of time of the exposure (how long it's been since your pet ate it or was exposed to it).
4. Have the product container/packaging available for reference.
If your veterinarian advises you to come to the clinic immediately, collect any material that your pet may have vomited or chewed, and place it in a plastic sealable bag and bring it to the clinic.
Feel free to contact Christensen Animal Hospital for emergency related questions or how you can better prepare your pets for an emergency situation. Wishing you and all the members of your fur-family a happy and safe spring!