For the next few Thursdays we have the privilege of receiving expert life-saving advice from pet first aid and CPR instructor Denise Fleck. I met Denise and her beloved dog Sunny many years ago when she volunteered to help with an adoption promoting video. Years later I took her pet first aid and CPR class with a group of fellow animal lovers. I'd encourage everyone to take such a class!
Bone Up on Pet First Aid, by Denise Fleck
Pet first aid is the immediate care given to an animal that is ill or injured and generally requires follow-up veterinary care. Veterinarians are the experts, but they are rarely on the scene when something happens to your dog, so by reacting quickly, effectively and confidently before professional medical care is available, you may save your best friend’s life!
Here are a few basic tips:
- To stop bleeding, apply direct pressure with clean gauze before bandaging.
- Gently flush burns with cool water. If blisters or charring are present, cover with a non-stick bandage to prevent infection and quickly get to your veterinarian.
- For heat stroke (body temperature 104°F or higher), cool skin (paws, belly, pits and groin) with lukewarm to cool water and get prompt medical attention. Always provide shade and fresh water and NEVER leave your pet in a parked car!
- If the urge to snap at a bee is uncontrollable for your pooch, administer 1mg of Benadryl (diphenhydramine) per pound of your pet’s body weight to alleviate the symptoms of insect stings. Apply a cold compress to any swelling, but if severe or if your dog develops any breathing difficulties, GET HIM TO THE VET!
- Examine your house from your pet’s perspective getting down on all fours. Remember, anything on the floor can end up in his mouth! If you suspect poisoning, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA's poison control hotline (888-426-4435). You will be advised to dilute the poison (caustic substances) or induce vomiting by administering one tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide per 15 lbs. of the animal’s weight and then get quickly to your veterinarian or emergency animal hospital.
Having the right tool for the job can help alleviate pain and further injury to your four-legged best friend. So that you are prepared to bandage a wound, pull a tick, or soothe an upset canine tummy, make sure you have the most basic items:
- 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting
- Eye wash
- 4" x 4" gauze squares and gauze roll
- Adhesive tape of self-adhering bandage
- Cold packs
- Antibiotic ointment
- A needle-less syringe or eyedropper
- A digital thermometer (dogs and cats normally run 100.4°-102.5° F)
- Styptic powder to stop bleeding toenails
- Scissors and tweezers
- Antihistamine and antacid tablets
- A portable water bowl, bottled water and electrolyte replenisher
- A leash to wrangle or muzzle a pet
- A towel or blanket to wrap an unruly puppy or to use as a stretcher
- Phone numbers and addresses of your veterinarian and animal ER
- Pet first aid handbook
Thanks Denise! Be sure to check out the many great tips, videos and resources on The Sunny Dog website.
I'll have more great safety information next Thursday.
So sit, stay and be safe!
Dr. Pia Salk