According to a 2021 Poll done by MetLife Pet Insurance, only 10% of pet parents have a pet first aid kit, and only 2% of pet owners know Pet First Aid/CPR. 50% of those surveyed felt unprepared and said they wish they had more training to help their pets in case of an emergency.
How prepared are you for a possible medical emergency with your pets?
As a pet parent I want the best for my pets, but sometimes I wonder if I am prepared for a pet emergency. I have owned pets my entire life and have dealt with some minor emergencies throughout the years. But I never had a major emergency. Recently, I was given the opportunity to take a online Pet First Aid and CPR class, and I have to say, I now feel a lot better prepared if a medical emergency would occur with one of my pets.
Emergencies are unexpected and therefore extremely stressful. It’s so important to prepare for these type of situations before they occur, so that you can respond calmer and be more effective when they happen. If you are a pet parent and feel you need to prepare yourself for a possible pet emergency, read on. Here are some topics you want to learn more about.
1. Know what constitutes an emergency
One of the first things you need to know is what is “normal” for your pet and what isn’t. As a pet parent, you know your pet's regular activity level, daily appetite and how much your pet drinks. When your dog isn’t feeling well, you notice. But do you know your dog’s “normal” vital signs? What is your pet’s resting heart rate? Temperature? Gum coloration?
What truly constitutes an emergency? Knowing this will help you make the decision on whether you just need to watch your pet more closely or when you need to call or go to the vet.
2. Check your pet’s vital signs
Knowing what is normal also means you need to know how to check your pet’s vital signs. Do you know how to check for heart rate, gum coloration or take your pet’s temperature? You also need to train your pet to allow you to check their vital signs. Can you safely touch your pet to check gums for discoloration, check heart rate or temperature?
It’s important to remember that an injured pet can react differently than a healthy animal. So in case of a true emergency, it’s a good idea to restrain your pet. This may mean putting on a muzzle, so the pet does not bite you, or use a towel to keep the pet from scratching you. It’s a good idea to practice these skills with your pet ahead of time.
Teach your pet to be comfortable wearing the muzzle and practice taking your pet’s temperature and heart rate.
3. Do you have pet first aid supplies?
As we saw from the 2021 poll, only 10% of pet owners actually have a pet first aid kit. It’s a good idea to put together a fist aid kit for your pets – you can purchase them online or make your own first aid kit. Here are some items you should have in your first aid kit:
You may already have many of these items in your home, but if an emergency occurs, you don’t want to waste time by having to gather these items. A pet first aid kit will have all these items in a bag or box for easily access.
4. Can you give basic First Aid?
Having first aid items ready is a great first step in being prepared for an emergency, but knowing how to actually give first aid is even more important.
Do you know how to treat the most common injuries or conditions? Can you assist your dog in case of a heatstroke? Are you able to take care of an open wound or stop one from bleeding? Can you properly take care of your pet during a seizure or induce vomiting when your pet has eaten something poisonous? If you are reading through this list and your answer is: “No, I don’t know how to do this” you may want to consider taking a Pet First Aid course. You can find classes in your area, or you can even take a course online.
I recently took an online Pet First Aid and CPR course with ProTrainings and I learned all of these skills and many more. I was surprised how much of these things I did not know. Now that I have taken the ProTrainings’ Pro Pet Hero course, I feel a lot more prepared to take care of my pets.
Pro Trainings offers top rated online training courses for healthcare professionals and their Pet First Aid course is recommended for anyone in the Pet Space, such as Pet Sitters, Groomers and of course Pet Parents. If you want to get a special discount on ProTrainings Pet First Aid and CPR online course, use our discount code MCSDOG to receive 10% off regular tuition.
5. Prepare your pet for transport to the veterinarian
First aid is never a substitute for medical treatment. One very important part of being prepared is to know and be able to transport an injured animal. This may mean putting the pet in a pet carrier or emergency harness. As with other skills, it’s best to plan how you will transport your pet in an emergency, especially if you have larger pets, that are not easily carried. I have an emergency harness in case I need to carry my dog out from a hike. But it’s not just about having such items to help you transport your pets, it’s equally important to train your pet to be comfortable with them.
One of the main rules of first responders is to assess the situation and be safe themselves before assisting others. In order to be of help to an injured pet, you must be calm and in control.
I’ve owned pets, such as dogs, horses and cats my entire life and throughout the years have had a few pet emergencies, but I have never learned pet first aid and CPR until recently. After taking the online ProTrainings Pet Pro Hero course, I feel much more prepared. I am now more confident that I would be able to help my pets in an emergency situation. I now know how to check vital signs, administer basic first aid and give CPR when needed.
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