Furry First Aid
As the owner of three labs−Emily, Hayley, and Duke−I have had my share of scares when it comes to first aid situations. I have had the occasional tick to remove, the cut ear, or the thorn in the paw. There comes a time in every pet owner’s life when the unexpected happens. It could be as simple as a cut or could be as serious as choking. Not many of us think about pet first aid, but it really is very important. We learn first aid for our kids, so why would we not become familiar with some important first aid tips for pets? Granted, it is impossible to predict every emergency situation that may arise, but taking the time to do some preparation can mean the difference between life and death to your pet.
First and foremost, do your homework. There are a lot of excellent books out there, as well as online resources that will walk you through some of the most common pet first aid scenarios and how to deal with them. First aid can range from something minor like removing a tick or removing a thorn to more urgent matters like choking and wounds. I suggest either having a pet first aid book easily accessible (I keep a copy of Practical Pet First Aid for Dogs and Cats by Mark Anderson right by my pet supply area so I always know where it is) or printing out some valuable pet first aid tips from the Internet. In an emergency the mind tends to blank out, and if you have these tips in an easy-to-locate spot, it will help in those stressful situations.
Second, get a pet first aid kit. You can purchase these at most pet supply stores, or you can make a kit yourself. These kits typically include things like an ice pack, bandages, gloves, cleaning wipes, antibiotic ointment, and tweezers. A pet first aid kit is not a one-size-only deal, so take into consideration your pets’ sizes and needs and design the kit around them. Again, there are many good online resources with excellent tips on building your pet first aid kit.
Third, make sure to have important phone numbers handy, such as your veterinarian or the veterinary hospital in your area. In an emergency it is often difficult to remember numbers, so keeping them in a convenient location is key. Other items to keep close by are a pen and paper to write down important instructions that may be given to you by the doctor or to keep a log of your pet’s condition.
Last, if you have not already done so, it is important to purchase pet insurance. Pets are like people, and accidents can and do happen. Having this insurance coverage provides peace of mind in these stressful situations. Pet bills from emergency situations can be very costly, and too often this cost factors into a pet’s treatment. There is no need to sacrifice proper care for our pets when pet protection coverage is available.
Pet emergencies can be very serious; however, with just a little preparation and foresight, one can become better equipped to deal with whatever life throws at us. It is important to become familiar with what types of pet first aid may be required and then to build a kit to help with those emergencies. Keep important phone numbers and first aid tips handy, and don’t forget to purchase pet insurance!
William Bosch, CPCU, AIC
Commercial Claim Representative