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Dr. Aziza's Top Pet First Aid Tips She Wishes All Her Pet Parent Patients Would Know

25 Apr 2022 | Written by Freshpet

Did you know that April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month? During this month the veterinary community aims to raise awareness about pet first aid and teach pet parents what to do in emergency situations. We’ve asked our Freshpet vet, Dr. Aziza, to share her top pet first aid tips she wishes all pet parents would know – read on to find out what’s on her list!

Tip #1: Know who to contact in the case of an emergency

If your pet has ingested or come into contact with poisonous/toxic substances (i.e. dark chocolate), call your primary care veterinarian, emergency veterinarian, or pet poison hotline for immediate assistance. During this call, you’ll be asked a few questions about your pet and what they consumed, so make sure you know the answers to the following:

For example, your pet weighs 10 lbs, and ate 5 ounces of dark chocolate, 30 minutes ago. Providing this information will help them determine the next steps you should take.

Tip #2: Muzzles can be a safety tool

If your pet has experienced a painful injury, such as a burn, fracture, or serious wound, then a muzzle should be applied to ensure everyone's safety. When in pain, even the most docile and gentle pet may become protective of their injuries and bite out of fear. Applying a muzzle before inspecting their injury enables the veterinary staff to do their work safely and quickly so your pet can get the care they need without delay.

Tip #3: Try and time seizures

Seizures can be pretty scary, especially if it’s the first time your pet has experienced one. Do your best to remain calm and try and keep an eye on the time. Most seizures last between two and three minutes, but if you’re able to, keep track of exactly how long the episode lasts. Write down the time and any other details you can remember, then call your vet – they will let you know how to proceed from there.

Tip #4: Know the signs of heatstroke

Spring is in full swing, which means one thing: warmer weather is coming! Due to the severity of heatstroke, it’s important that all pet parents recognize the signs. These can include:

If your pet is outside and starts showing the signs of heatstroke, immediately bring your pet to a shaded area and use cool water to help bring their temperature down. A hose of running water or a soaked towel will greatly help until you can bring your pet to a veterinarian for further assessment.

Tip #5: Have a pet-specific first aid kit at home

While there is a lot of overlap between items needed for an animal first aid kit and a human one, it’s always a good idea to have a dedicated one for your pet. These kits should be stocked with everything you need to provide basic first aid either to resolve the issue or stabilize your pet long enough to get to the vet.

Some must-have items include a muzzle, clean gauze, hydrogen peroxide, sterile KY jelly, clean towels, saline, and contact info to the closest emergency veterinarian and poison hotline. It can also be helpful to have a pet first aid book handy, so you can reference it in the event of an emergency.

Have Dr. Aziza’s tips made you want to learn more about pet first aid? You can always speak to your veterinary team about specific questions or look into pet first aid courses in your local area!

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