Celebrate Pet First Aid Awareness Month in April

March 26, 2011

The American Animal Hospital Association, (AAHA) states that 1 out of 4 pets would survive an accident or illness if we, as pet owners, are familiar with and capable of providing first aid when necessary. If we are able to render first aid to an injured pet, prior to getting emergency veterinary assistance, we can make a huge difference in the outcome which may save our pets’ lives.

The better prepared we are to handle such an emergency and keep a cool head, the more likely we will be able to administer the care our pets need. Our pets can “read” our emotions and  are more likely to remain calm if we remain calm. Animals easily pick up on our anxiety and become more stressed.

We would like to remind you to keep your family pet safe and healthy as we head into spring and summer. As the weather gets warmer, certain dangers for pets become more prevalent. The first step is to know what is normal for your pet – their gum color, heart/pulse rate, body temperature and breathing rate – so you can recognize when something is wrong.

Heat stroke is a common problem for pets in the warmer weather, according to Dr. Deborah Mandell, VMD, DACVECC, pet care advisor for the American Red Cross. Heat stroke is more common in the spring and early summer because pets are not yet acclimated to the warm weather, she explains. Dogs with short noses or snouts, like the boxer or bulldog, are prone to heat stroke. This is also true for any obese pet, a pet with an extremely thick fur coat or any pet with upper respiratory problems such as laryngeal paralysis or collapsing trachea. It’s important to note that pets love to play and may not stop playing, even if they are becoming overheated.

Some signs your pet may be developing heat stroke include heavy panting, and being unable to calm down, even when lying down. Their gum color may be brick red, their pulse rate may be fast, or they may not be able to get up.  If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, take their temperature rectally. If the temperature is above 105 degrees cool the animal down.  The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when the temperature reaches 103 degrees. Bring your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage.

If you would like to learn first aid for pets, KHS in conjunction with the American Red Cross, is hosting a Pet First Aid Session from 1-6 p.m., Saturday, April 30 at the Kitsap Humane Society. Cost is $55 per attendee.

 Register Now!

Course Topics Include:

  • How to give a dog and cat CPR
  • What to do if an animal is choking
  • How to control bleeding
  • How to splint a broken or injured limb
  • How to handle bloat/torsion, burns and other common illnesses