What would you do if, while out for a hike with your dog, he got stung by a bee and began to swell? If you were camping an hour from town and your dog ate all the chocolate meant for your s’mores? If you found a tick on your outdoor pet?
Chances are, like many pet owners, you won’t have considered these situations before you find yourself in the middle of them. In times of emergency, you want to be well prepared with all the supplies and knowledge needed to tackle the situation. Having a well stocked first aid kit ready to go can make all the difference in treating problems before they become serious or life threatening.
The first things you should put in your kit is the paperwork: Your pet’s medical records and vaccine history are important in the event that your regular hospital is closed, or you are away from home. You should include the contact information for your pets’ veterinarian, as well as a brochure (with map) to the nearest Animal Emergency Hospital. A pet first aid booklet, and dosages for your each of your pets (calculated by a veterinarian using the most recent weight), are invaluable for times when help is far away. One option for a first aid booklet is the Safe Dog Handbook. Alternately, having a Pet First Aid and a Poison Control app on your phone can be useful.
To assemble your first aid kit, you will need a large, sturdy container. Tackle boxes or plastic storage containers work well. Ideally this kit will be waterproof and easy to transport. You will likely have many of these supplies from creating your family’s human first aid kit. You may choose to simply add the additional pet specific supplies to your existing kit, or create an entirely separate kit.
Having a stocked first aid is an excellent start, but without proper training, treatment may be rendered useless, or worse, harmful. There are a few different organizations which offer Pet First Aid courses in the Lower Mainland: DogSafe, Walks ‘N’ Wags, and St. Johns’ Ambulance Pet First Aid. The courses are very thorough, providing you with the skills needed to get you through an acute emergency situation while staying calm.
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