Pet Emergencies - How prepared are you?

29th April 2013 by Darren Candler - Pet First Aider

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After having the priviledge of going on a Pet First Aid course ran by Jo The Dog Listener ( ), I decide this weeks first blog would be about the importance of learning what to do if you or your pet has an emergency.

Pet emergencies happen whether we are prepared or not. By being prepared, you can limit the amount of discomfort your pet goes through, and possibly save its life. Be prepared for an emergency by having an emergency kit and knowing how to use it.

Emergency Pet Kit

Fill a backpack or duffel bag with the items for your emergency kit. Keep it organized and easy to locate. Keep a smaller version in your car for when you are on the road. Clearly mark the bags so you and any pet sitters can find them.

Document your Pet

Document the details of your pet and keep them in your kit. Write down their physical description, name, age, sex, if they are spayed or intact, any medical conditions and what helps calm them. Attach photos of your pets with this information so they are easily identified. Add contact information for your veterinarian, emergency veterinarian, yourself and any family or pet sitters you use.

Keep extra day-to-day supplies in the kit. For example, some food, water, medication, a leash, extra identification tags, muzzle and collar are helpful. Even if your dog isn’t aggressive a muzzle can help everyone feel safe in stressful circumstances. Dogs often react unexpectedly under stress.

First Aid Kit

Buy a commercially available first aid kit or make your own.
Talk to your veterinarian when you are preparing the kit for anything specific your pet will need.

Learn how to handle an emergency by taking a first aid course for pets. Knowing how to check vital signs and clean a wound will help you determine the severity of the emergency, prevent infections and allows you to collect information for your veterinarian.

Keep a chart of vital signs in your first aid kit in case you forget what to look for.

  • Dog’s average heart rate ranges from 70 to 160 beats per minute
  • Cat’s average heart rate ranges from 160 to 240 beats per minute
  • Dog’s average respiratory rate is 10 to 30 times per minute.
  • Cat’s average respiratory rate is 20 to 30 times per minute.
  • The average temperature for both a cat and dog is 101 - 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Have a travel kennel near your kit so you can easily transport your pet. If don’t have a lot of room, use a collapsing kennel to save on space.

Other Resources

Plan what you will do with your pets if you have a disaster. Talk to your family or neighbors to see who can take them. Make sure these people know in advance. Also, know how you will get your pet out of the house if you have a fire or other emergency that blocks exists.

Post a sign on your door that says how many pets you have and what they look like.
This information will help emergency crews save them, if possible.

Most importantly, remember that anything you take out of your kit needs replacing.
It’s tempting to grab the extra leash when you can’t find yours but if you don’t replace it, it won’t be there when you do need it. Check your kit at least once a year to make sure none of the components have expired and replace or refill as necessary.

Book a course today and learn the basics.

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