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Pet First Aid – The Basic Essentials
Some pets have an unfortunate habit of blithely blundering into situations little calculated to do them any good – much to the eternal dismay and worry of their loving owners. If you have a dog or a cat which loves to get into predicaments, it may take a weight off your mind to know that you are prepared with knowledge and resources in the case of any medical emergency.
A Weight Off Your Mind
No loving owner wishes their pet to suffer. Illness and injury are highly distressing for any animal, and all good owners would prefer their pet never to have to experience such suffering – or at least to have that suffering eliminated as quickly as possible. Not only that, but studies in Britain have shown that worry about pets becoming ill or injured is a considerable source of stress and even illness for humans. It is clearly, therefore, an excellent idea to make preparations to make you more confident of a positive outcome in the event of your pet being suddenly taken ill, or getting injured. Making financial preparations, and having a professional (hopefully an integrative veterinarian) trained in animal medicine on call are of course key to this process, but it may help many to learn some crucial animal first aid. Following are a few basic first aid techniques which you can use on your dog or cat in the case of an emergency:
If your pet is bleeding, assess the severity of the wound. Animals pick up scratches on a regular basis, many of which bleed, and most of which are no more than superficial. However, sometimes an animal may acquire a deeper and more serious cut. In these cases, your priority is to stop the bleeding. This can be done in the following manner:
- Keep the animal as calm as possible. This may be difficult, but you need them to be still for the procedure, so do your best!
- Wrap a tight bandage around the wound. If you have a well-stocked first aid kit, cover the wound with a dressing and then secure the dressing in place with bandaging. If you have no bandaging kit, use a towel or other absorbent material.
- Should blood seep through the bandage, apply more bandage.
- If you are bandaging a limb, it is crucial to wrap the foot up too, or it may swell up due to trapped circulation
- Take the pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
- applying Yunnan Baio, calendula, Rescue remedy, yarrow or plantain can help stop the bleeding.
- Offering Reiki, even while you are driving to the clinic may stop the bleeding.
- Once you are using homeopathy regularly, you will have some bleeding remedies on hand and by knowing the constitution of your animal will be able to select the best one.
- Deal with any bleeding as above – but be extremely careful around the site of the broken bone or suspected broken bone. Bone setting is best left to professionals, as sometimes the exact site of the break is difficult to determine, and amateur attempts at setting may result in fractured ends of bone splitting the skin.
Any pet owner will know how much animals love to chew on things far too big for them to swallow. Occasionally, these things become lodged in their throats. This is particularly a problem for toy-loving dogs, but no animal is immune! Obviously this presents a considerable threat. Should your pet begin choking, you should quickly do the following:
- Push on the throat or neck from behind the obstruction. The throat is basically a tube, and this may squeeze the obstruction out of the tube. Do not worry about hurting your pet – their life is more important than a moment’s discomfort – but at the same time be careful not to crush too hard on their windpipes. Pressing on the sides of the neck is the best option.
- If the pet becomes starved of oxygen, their gums and tongue may turn blue, and they may collapse. In this event, swift action is crucial. With someone helping you to hold open the jaws of your pet, try to reach in and remove the obstruction.
- If neither of these options are possible, lie your pet down on their side. Place the heel of your hand on your pet’s belly – just behind the final rib. Place the other hand on top, and give a swift, hard push. This is like a pet Heimlich maneuver, and may send the obstruction flying from the throat.
The strength which should be applied to animal CPR naturally varies massively depending upon the size of the pet. There is no hard and fast rule, unfortunately, but your intuition will be of great help when determining how hard to push during chest compressions
- If your pet is unconscious, lie them on their side. Attempt to determine their breathing whether or not they are breathing by holding a tuft of hair to their nostrils.
- If they are not breathing, open your pet’s mouth, and pull the tongue forward so that it is not obstructing the airway. Clear out any obstructions, like mucus or blood.
- If they are still not breathing after this, pull their head forward, hold their mouth closed, and blow into their nostrils.
- Do this around twenty times a minute.
- If you cannot find a heartbeat, place the heel of your dominant hand on your pet’s ribcage, just behind their forelimbs. Place your other hand on top, and press down hard. Do this once a second, alternating with breaths into the nose for every fifteen chest compressions.
AT ALL TIMES
- Keep your movements and manner calm and smooth. Your pet will possibly be frightened and in pain – and they will not understand that these things you are doing to their body are to help them. If you maintain a calm manner, it will reassure your pet, and some of that calmness may transfer to them. This will make them much easier to treat.
- Do not panic. Not only will panic stop you from acting calmly (see above), it will also fuddle your thoughts and prevent you from undertaking the most efficient and rational actions.
- Keep the number of a veterinarian or other appropriate medical aid close to hand, so that they may be swiftly mobilized in the case of emergency.
- If possible, phone your medical professional of choice before taking any first aid action, as they will be able to advise you as to how best to proceed.
- NEVER, EVER give human medicines such as aspirin to a pet – no matter how much they are in pain. Human medicines are designed for human consumption, and may be deadly to pets.
- If driving a pet to a clinic, drive carefully and try to avoid jolting them.
- Frightened, panicking pets who are in pain may bite. This is instinctive for them. Do not blame them for it or take the bite personally. However, if you are bitten, get the bite looked at by a doctor.
- If your pet has been in a collision – a traffic accident, for example – it may seem fine outwardly but have internal injuries. Keep an eye out for unusual behavior, signs of pain or lethargy, disinterest in food etc. To be on the safe side, it is probably best to have them checked out by someone who knows animal anatomy after any such accident.
- always do Reiki, as it can be life saving. Learn it NOW.
- take the Rescue Remedy yourself, then give to your pet (diluted 4 drops in an ounce of water if a cat)
For more on aiding your pet in an emergency, see the following resources: