first aid for dogs and cats

First Aid for Pets: 5 Lifesaving Techniques Every Owner Should Know

If your animal was in danger, could you handle it?

By Emily Main

tags: PET CARE

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Summer is lots of fun for pets as well as their people. But backyard holiday festivities, outdoor hikes, and heat waves can put our companion animals in danger. So it’s a good idea to use some of your summer off-time taking a pet first-aid course, which you can find through your local chapter of the American Red Cross. In the meantime, here are five things all pet owners need to know in order to protect their animals from injury:

1. How to assemble a pet first-aid kit
Keep the following items on hand (many are included in first-aid kits for people):

• Your vet’s phone number, the number for an animal poison-control center, and a copy of your pet’s medical records
• Scissors for clipping hair around wounds, and tweezers for removing ticks and splinters
• Rolled gauze for bandaging, stabilizing joints, or making a muzzle (even gentle pets can bite when they’re scared or in pain)
• Clean towel or blanket (good for immobilizing small dogs and cats)
• Adhesive first-aid tape to keep bandages in place
• Needle-nose pliers to remove foreign objects
• Rectal thermometer and a lubricating agent like mineral oil or petroleum jelly
• Antiseptic soap or Betadine solution
• Epsom salt (mix 1 teaspoon in 2 cups warm water for drawing out infection and bathing itchy paws and skin)
• Milk of Magnesia to absorb poison
• Baking soda to soothe skin irritations
• Cornstarch to stop bleeding of torn toenails

Published on: June 30, 2009
Updated on: March 11, 2010

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hydrogen peroxide

Still the most common poison ingestion I see as a veterinarian is rat/mouse anticoagulant poisons. Hydrogen peroxide is safe and works very well (especially in dogs) as long as it is fresh. Old, opened, flat hydrogen peroxide won't foam up well in the stomach and therefore may not induce vomitting. Don't be fooled by those who think "a little poison" won't hurt that big dog. Rodents have developed resistance to these products, necessitating stronger, longer lasting ones (up to 3 weeks). Our pets have not developed this resistance. Once they start bleeding (usually internally-not visible), death can come very quickly.


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