Tuesday, April 29, 2014


April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month and a great time to refresh and update your animal safety plans. Our pets are surrounded by household hazards, that can lead to accidental injury, choking on a toy, or ingesting something toxic.  If an accident happens, being prepared, and knowing what to do in the initial moments, can make a big difference in the outcome.  


Heat stroke is a common problem pets face in the warmer weather. You should remember that the inside of a car can quickly reach 120 degrees, and not leave an animals in the car, even during short trips.   I'm sure you have felt the anguish of walking by a car where the windows are barely open and a dog is crying or barking in the car.

The signs of heat stroke include:
  • heavy panting
  • unable to calm down 
  • gums may be brick red 
  • fast pulse rate
  • pet may have difficulty walking or standing
If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, call your veterinarian immediately.  Heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage so getting the pet to an emergency clinic is crucial.  If not near a veterinary facility, call the vet and try to cool your pet down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose or placing cold wet towels on your pet.


During warmer weather, we all tend to leave doors and windows open, which if heights are involved, can be hazardous to a pet. The pet could fall from a window or run outside of your home and get hit by a vehicle. If you find an injured animal, it is important to use caution:
  • Animals in pain can be aggressive--if possible, muzzle the pet and try to keep them calm
  • Clean the area, to determine the extent of the injury   
  • Apply bandage to stop bleeding 
  • Transport, to the nearest veterinarian, using a board or blanket to lift the animal. (use extreme caution to protect their spine)
Plants, flowers, candy containing XYLITOL, chocolate and other foods can be hazardous. Visit the ASPCA Poison Control web site to find out which plants and flowers are poisonous to animals. If you think your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance,  please contact your veterinarian immediately.


If your pet’s airway is completely obstructed by an object, there will be no time to go to the veterinarian for help—you need to take immediate action. Here are the recommended steps from PetMD.com
  1. Use both hands to open the mouth, with one hand on the upper jaw and the other on the lower.
  2. Grasping the jaws, press the lips over the dog’s teeth so that they are between the teeth and your fingers.
  3. Look inside the mouth and remove the obstruction with your fingers.
  4. If you can’t move the object with your fingers, use a flat spoon handle to pry it away from the teeth or roof of the mouth.
Don’t forget to include pets in planning for emergencies in your home or neighborhood, which could be a fire, flood, hurricane or earthquake. Most Red Cross shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety concerns. Know which friends, relatives, hotels, or boarding facilities will accept pets in an emergency. In case of an emergency, it is important to have the following for your pet: 
  • Assemble an easy-to-carry kit with emergency supplies for pets: Leashes, harnesses and/or carriers
  • Food, drinking water, bowls, manual can opener
  • Medications and copies of medical records
  • Current photos of the pets (in case you get separated)