Do you know pet first aid?

At some point in our lives, many of us have taken a form of first aid training, even if it was to be certified as a babysitter or to be a lifeguard for a summer job. We learn the usual methods of how to identify if someone is injured or choking, basic CPR training, the Heimlich maneuver, and other basic means of helping people suffering from some ailment until more professional medical attention can arrive on the scene. Yet humans aren’t the only ones who need the occasional emergency first aid treatment. Our pets, those four-legged family members, can require it too. So here are a few tips and techniques that can improve a pet’s chances of survival in case of injury or other life-threatening circumstances.

Here are a few signs of more common ailments and what you should do to protect both your pet and yourself.

Dehydration: Pinch the skin between your pet’s shoulder blades. If it doesn’t smooth back out when you let go, then this is a sign of severe hydration. Your pet should be kept cool and encouraged to drink plenty of water. However, it’s also good to have them seen by a vet so they can potentially get proper fluid intake.

Poisoning: Watch for symptoms such as foaming or bleeding at the mouth. Seizures and general abnormal behavior are also potential signs of poisoning and should indicate your pet needs immediate medical attention.

Wounds: If your pet has been bitten or scratched by another animal, however minor the wound, should always be treated by a professional who can properly clean and bandage (or stitch) the injury to prevent infection. However, don’t try to get involved in two animals fighting, as it might cause you to be wounded as well in the process. For bleeding, use gauze to cover the wound and put pressure on it, keeping it covered until a veterinary hospital can be reached.

As in many situations regarding pet health, having a vet that you can rely on and trust is invaluable. And don’t forget to have your pet in annually for checkups!

For more resources, check out the Red Cross Pet First Aid app!

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