However, on the way to the vet, a basic knowledge of pet first aid can be beneficial.
An animal that is sick or hurt can be easily startled and may react aggressively. The first thing you must do when handling such situations is to protect yourself. Using gloves, wrapping a cat in a blanket, or muzzling a dog, are good safeguards during an emergency.
A primary objective in responding to an emergency is to relieve suffering and to instill a sense of calmness in your pet. Try and keep the animal warm and quiet.
Always have a plan in place when traveling with your pet. It is a good idea to bring along or find a regional guide for pet related services for the province you are traveling in or check with your Pets Can Stay host to ensure that you have access to daytime and emergency veterinary services in your destination area. This may also be a good time to explore the possibility of purchasing pet medical insurance.
First Aid Tips for emergency use while travelling:
Preparation is critical when it comes to dealing with a pet emergency. Be sure you know where you can access the services of a veterinarian 24 hrs a day while travelling.
Here are a few tips and treatments that can assist you during an emergency. However, always seek veterinary care immediately following the administration of first aid.
Approach the injured animal cautiously as it may be scared and/or in pain. Muzzle the animal with a strip of soft cloth, a stocking or similar material. Clean the wound by flushing it with copious amounts of a saline solution. (You can make this yourself with a 4:1 ratio of sterilized water and salt if necessary.) Alternatively, use clean (boiled and cooled) water alone. Wrap wounds with gauze to keep clean. Apply immediate pressure to bleeding wounds. Seek medical attention.
Apply firm pressure directly over the area until bleeding ceases. Do not use tight bandages in covering, as it will cut off circulation. Seek medical attention.
Burns (Electrical, chemical, heat burns)
Flush continuously with large amounts of cold water and apply a clean ice pack, which has been covered with a clean cloth. Do not apply ice directly to an open burn. If the animal has been in contact with dry chemicals, they cannot be brought into contact with water at the risk of activating the chemicals and incurring further burns. Always brush the chemicals off carefully. Seek medical attention.
Give only water for 12-24 hours. Do not self-diagnose or treat diarrhea except on the advice of a veterinarian. Seek medical attention.
Approach the injured animal cautiously as it may be scared and/or in pain. Muzzle the animal with a strip of soft cloth, a stocking or similar material. Check for any signs of bleeding. Transport the pet immediately to the veterinarian while supporting the injured area.
Pets are often exposed to many toxic sources on a daily basis. Natural sources, such as certain plants, are poisonous when ingested. Artificial sources of poison, including weed killers, lawn sprays, fertilizers, ant powders, bug sprays, etc., are commonplace in many neighbourhoods.
If you think that your pet has ingested a poisonous material:
Try to determine exactly what was ingested, when it was ingested, and the amount ingested (if possible). Remember that animals can also absorb chemicals through their paws or lungs, particularly as they are so low to the ground. It is irresponsible to allow a pet to walk on chemically sprayed or treated lawns (lawns that have been treated with “weed and feed”, etc.)
Keep a supply of activated charcoal and/or milk of magnesia on hand in case of an emergency. If possible, administer only after contacting the local poison control centre or veterinarian.
If you are able to get your pet to a veterinarian, bring along the container or label of the offending substance.
Always keep emergency contact numbers for your veterinarian and nearest poison control centre handy