Pet First Aid Tips
Living in beautiful British Columbia means we have plenty of outdoor spaces to explore, but it also means there is an added risk of injury when participating in the many activities the area has to offer. Pets are no different and we need to be aware and prepared for common situations you might encounter outdoors.
Pet first aid kit
We recommend that you prepare a pet first aid kit that you can easily take with you on your adventures. Your kit should include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Disposable gloves
- Vet Wrap / Cohesive Bandage
- Absorbent gauze pads
- Blunt tip scissors
- Alcoholic wipes
- Styptic powder
- Phone number and address of your regular veterinarian
Common injuries / illnesses and how to deal with them
Lacerations / cuts
If possible, temporarily wrap the wound in a gauze / veterinary pad to control any bleeding and to keep the wound clean. Wounds can be rinsed with plain water, but do not rinse it with hydrogen peroxide as this can be very painful and can actually prevent healing. Call your vet as it’s best to suture fresh wounds and start antibiotics.
If you think your pet has broken a bone, wear it if possible and call your vet. It is essential to have an evacuation and transportation plan for your pet prepared in advance. Pets can go into shock after severe trauma and it is important that they are stabilized, along with their fracture, as quickly as possible.
Spring and summer are the most common times to see “Hit-By-Car” dogs and cats. Injuries resulting from these accidents include fractures, bruising of the lungs, abrasions / lacerations and ruptured internal organs. Even if your pet is acting normally, it is best to have it checked out as some injuries are not always obvious right away.
The most common signs of heatstroke include severe shortness of breath, excessive drooling, vomiting, and dark red or purple gum / tongue. Immediately move your pet out of direct sunlight to a cool area, offer small amounts of water, and soak the fur in cool water. Again, call your vet immediately as heat stroke can be life threatening, especially in dogs who have difficulty cooling themselves down effectively (brachycephalic dogs like French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Boxers, etc. ). DO NOT leave your pets in the car during the summer months, even if “it will only be a few minutes”!
Living in the interior of British Columbia, we see a variety of interesting plants including cacti! Cactus spines can very easily get lodged between the toes, in the pads of the paws, or stuck to the limbs. Carefully remove the thorns and wash the area with diluted soap and water. If part of the spine remains lodged in the tissue, it can be a source of infection. Unfortunately, some dogs will attempt to remove the cactus on their own using their teeth, so always be aware that this is a possibility, at which point the involvement of a vet is recommended.
Because the nail bed has such a good blood supply, torn nails often look very traumatic and involve a lot of blood. If the nail itself has cracked and separated from the fast (blood supply to the nail) it is likely that you will need to see your vet as these are very painful. Often times, sedation is required to cut the nail and fast to the same length to ensure proper healing. While preparing to go to your vet, you can try styptic powder (or cornstarch) to stop the bleeding and wrap the paw with a light bandage.
It’s bee and wasp season! Many dogs enjoy hunting flying insects, but it is not always good to catch them as they can suffer from allergic reactions. Bring your pet indoors in a cool environment and watch it closely. If you notice that your pet is starting to have swelling around the face or neck, or hives on the body, we recommend that you call your veterinarian to discuss the severity of the reaction in order to decide if a visit is. justified or if you can try it. home remedies.
Please see our previous article on Kamloops Now for more information on what to do if you encounter a rattlesnake.
Ingestion of foreign matter
Dogs and cats can get into a lot of things that they shouldn’t be doing while on the go. We recommend that you call your vet if you are concerned about what your pet has ingested. Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used as a home treatment to induce vomiting, but we recommend extreme caution when using this substance as it can cause burns and ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract.
We hope you found this information useful and will help keep your four-legged friends safe this summer!
The Pet Health column was brought to you by Neighborhood veterinary hospital.