Pet Accidents and Emergencies in the home:

Accidents and emergencies in the home can happen at anytime.Medicine cabinets are often stocked full of bandages and pain relievers, thermometers and cold medicine.But when the furry family members have an emergency, some pet owners are not as prepared.Dr. Rebecca Wingfield, DVM, a veterinarian at the Nemacolin Wooflands Pet Care Center, says that dog and cat emergencies can happen at anytime. The most common incidents include allergic reactions like bee stings or insect bites, a cut to the paw and a broken toenail that can lead to bleeding.One of the best ways to be prepared is to have a pet first aid kit that includes a variety of products that can help during any pet related emergency.“They need a pet first aid book or a cat and dog book; emergency numbers for the vet; and the ASPCA Poison Control number. They would also need some tape and vet wrap, gauze bandages and scissors,” said Wingfield.While a cat or dog is having a medical emergency, they might not act like themselves, because they are under a lot of stress. This is why Wingfield suggests the kit also includes a muzzle for a dog or a pillowcase for the cat.Since bee stings and ticks are a common issue with pets when they are outdoors, Wingfield suggests a pair of tweezers and even an old credit card to pluck or scrape the stinger or tick from the skin and a flashlight to help see the affected area if the pet’s fur is dark.Cotton balls, ear swabs, blankets, towels, a thermometer, an ice pack, ear cleaning solution and sterile saline should also be included.One common item that can be found in human first aid kits is hydrogen peroxide. This should also be in the pet version, but it is used for a different application.“With hydrogen peroxide it is not to clean a wound. It is to induce vomiting if prescribed by poison control,” explained Wingfield who also stressed to never give any forms of medication without consulting a professional first.Another medication that pet owners will want to keep on hand is Diphenhydramine, the active ingredient in antihistamine medications. This medication has to be prescribed for pets directly so the proper dosage amount can be determined. Never give a pet human medication unless directed by a veterinarian.Accidents can happen especially when it comes to trimming the nails of cats and dogs.The quick, which carries blood to the nails, can accidentally be cut and cause a lot of bleeding. In this type of emergency it is best to keep styptic powder in the kit to help clot the blood.In addition, the kit should also contain an extra collar or leash.For those who appreciate a “one stop shop” approach for their pet’s first aid kit, many are already created and can be found at places online such as Amazon and Duluth Trading Company.While a lot of accidents or emergencies can be treated at home, there are times that Wingfield urges people to take their pet to an emergency animal care facility.“Anytime you have bleeding, if it is not just a tiny bit. Anything with pale gums, they immediately need to go — it is either blood loss or shock. If they are in a lot of pain they need to go in,” she said. “Over-the-counter pain meds we have (at home) are not safe for pets. They need to go to their doctor and get it.”Wingfield said that at her office, which is an emergency facility, they see a lot of accidents especially during the holiday season.“Christmastime there is a lot of emergencies we see. Pet owners don’t know to keep their pets away from tree water. We see a lot of ornament emergencies. Pets play with them, break them and then they cut themselves. Owners share their food with their pets [who then] get really sick from it. I get a lot of shocks (from light strings) with kitties. Anyone with pets should not have those hanging icicles (on trees),” said Wingfield. “In the summertime dogs get too hot, and we have hypothermia in the cold. It is knowing your pet and knowing just like your kids. You know how long you are going to let them out there, and it applies to your pets. Using pet-safe salt. You might want to get them shoes. You might walk through an area that is not using pet-safe salt, and it could burn their feet.”

Source: Pet Project – Healthy Living

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