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Did
you know that April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month? During this
month the veterinary community aims to raise awareness about pet first aid and
teach pet parents what to do in emergency situations. We’ve asked our Freshpet
vet, Dr. Aziza, to share her top pet first aid tips she wishes all pet parents
would know – read on to find out what’s on her list!

Tip #1: Know who to contact in the
case of an emergency

If your pet has ingested or come into contact with poisonous/toxic substances (i.e. dark chocolate), call your primary care veterinarian, emergency veterinarian, or pet poison hotline for immediate assistance. During this call, you’ll be asked a few questions about your pet and what they consumed, so make sure you know the answers to the following:

  • How much your pet weights
  • Name and description of the substance
  • Amount ingested
  • Length of exposure (how long ago they ingested it)

For
example, your pet weighs 10 lbs, and ate 5 ounces of dark chocolate, 30 minutes
ago. Providing this information will help them determine the next steps you
should take.

Tip #2: Muzzles can be a safety
tool

If
your pet has experienced a painful injury, such as a burn, fracture, or serious
wound, then a muzzle should be applied to ensure everyone’s safety. When in
pain, even the most docile and gentle pet may become protective of their
injuries and bite out of fear. Applying a muzzle before inspecting their injury
enables the veterinary staff to do their work safely and quickly so your pet
can get the care they need without delay.

Tip #3:
Try and time seizures

Seizures
can be pretty scary, especially if it’s the first time your pet has experienced
one. Do your best to remain calm and try and keep an eye on the time. Most
seizures last between two and three minutes, but if you’re able to, keep track
of exactly how long the episode lasts. Write down the time and any other
details you can remember, then call your vet – they will let you know how to
proceed from there.

Tip #4: Know the signs of
heatstroke

Spring
is in full swing, which means one thing: warmer weather is coming! Due to the
severity of heatstroke, it’s important that all pet parents recognize the
signs. These can include:

  • Red gums
  • Vomiting
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Heavy panting
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy

If
your pet is outside and starts showing the signs of heatstroke, immediately
bring your pet to a shaded area and use cool water to help bring their
temperature down. A hose of running water or a soaked towel will greatly help
until you can bring your pet to a veterinarian for further assessment.

Tip #5: Have a pet-specific first
aid kit at home

While
there is a lot of overlap between items needed for an animal first aid kit and
a human one, it’s always a good idea to have a dedicated one for your pet. These
kits should be stocked with everything you need to provide basic first aid
either to resolve the issue or stabilize your pet long enough to get to the
vet.

Some
must-have items include a muzzle, clean gauze, hydrogen peroxide, sterile KY
jelly, clean towels, saline, and contact info to the closest emergency
veterinarian and poison hotline. It can also be helpful to have a pet first aid
book handy, so you can reference it in the event of an emergency.

Have
Dr. Aziza’s tips made you want to learn more about pet first aid? You can
always speak to your veterinary team about specific questions or look into pet
first aid courses in your local area!

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