Petland promotes summer first aid for pets
Just as with people, Fido or Fluffy can get scrapes, bumps and bruises that may require first aid. Petland says pet owners must be prepared for emergencies and need to be skilled in providing their furry friends with medical attention, if need be.
“It’s important that pet owners know the proper steps to take if their pet becomes ill or injured,” said Darcy Howen, operator of Petland of Rockford. “At Petland, we encourage pet owners to be prepared in advance of a pet-related emergency. The more prepared a person is, he or she likely will be able to remain calm in a crisis, and thus provide better care to his or her furry best friend.”
Petland recommends one way pet owners can help make certain they are ready for any situation is to always have an easily-accessible and fully-equipped first aid kit for pets. According to Petland’s corporate veterinarian, Dennis McDonald, DVM, of North Fork Animal Clinic in Chillicothe, Ohio, the kit should contain items such as your veterinarian’s telephone number; gauze for wrapping wounds; gauze sponges; adhesive tape for bandages; non-stick bandages to protect wounds or control bleeding; a towel or blanket for wrapping the pet and keeping it warm; hydrogen peroxide; milk of magnesia or activated charcoal to help absorb poisons; an eyedropper or a syringe without a needle for oral treatments; a muzzle; a thermometer; tweezers; Q-tips; antibiotic ointment; an instant cold pack; and Benadryl.
Howen said: “If a pet is ill or injured, it should always be approached with caution. Pet owners should not make quick or loud movements because the pet may become even more scared. Pet owners also should monitor the body expressions and sounds that their pet makes, as they use these cues to warn us. Even a family pet can be aggressive or dangerous when it is frightened, in pain or stressed because of an injury or illness.”
McDonald says pet owners may administer common first aid on pets that need to be immediately treated on the spot before the animal can be taken to a veterinarian.
For a small cut, a pet owner should clean the wound with warm, soapy water and peroxide. If possible, gauze should be used to wrap the injury until the animal can be seen by a veterinarian. If it cannot be wrapped, a towel, folded lengthwise, can be taped around the injury. For a bite wound, a pet owner should first thoroughly clean it and then scrub it with iodine soap.
Curious pets playing in the yard outside may even get stung by a bee. “In this situation, Benadryl is the best thing to use,” McDonald said. “A small dog should be given half of a tablet and a large dog can take a full tablet. If the pet has no relief in three to four hours after being given the Benadryl, the dosage should be repeated. If the pet exhibits symptoms such as swelling of the lips, eyes or tongue, it needs to be seen by a veterinarian on an emergency basis.”
A pet that has been hit by a car should immediately be stabilized. Any bleeding areas should be wrapped to help stop further blood loss. “If the pet is thrashing around or attempting to bite you, gauze wrapping or even the leg of a pair of pantyhose can be used to tie around its mouth,” said McDonald. “A stretcher made out of a board or a towel used as a hammock can be used to pick up the pet and transport it. If the pet has a broken or exposed bone, a yardstick can be used as a makeshift splint.”
If a pet has fallen and the pet owner cannot determine whether anything is broken, McDonald recommends giving the pet Motrin, Advil or ibuprofen. Pet owners should never give a pet Tylenol, which is toxic, or aspirin, which is a bloodthinner.
It is important to remember that emergency first aid care for pets is not a substitution for veterinary treatment. Petland recommends pet owners immediately call their veterinarian if they are unsure of what to do in an emergency situation and that they always follow up with a visit to their veterinarian after attempting to administer first aid care themselves on their pets.
For more information and additional pet first aid tips, visit the American Animal Hospital Association’s Pet Care Library, accessible at www.healthypet.com.
Summertime dangers to pets
With warm days and summer walks come a number of summertime dangers for pets. To keep pets safe this season, Petland wants pet owners to know about the following:
• Fleas and ticks—Studies show 10 fleas can reproduce to a quarter of a million in 30 days providing breeding conditions are right—warm and moist. Fleas are everywhere, while ticks are more commonly found in heavily-wooded areas. Lumps in a pet’s fur and excessive scratching are warning signs for fleas and ticks.
Many flea-prevention products are on the market, including pills and ones in liquid form. It also may help to put cedar chips in a pet’s bedding, as the aroma repels fleas and ticks. Lawns also can be sprayed with water-soluble insecticides. If a tick is found on a pet, tweezers should be used to grab the parasite’s head and pull gently to dislodge it, Howen suggests.
• Heatstroke—According to Petland, leaving a pet inside a closed automobile for just 10 to 20 minutes is risky on an 80-degree day as temperatures inside the car can quickly rise to 120 degrees Fahrenheit—enough to kill a pet. Leaving windows open in a car is not the answer, as a pet may jump out and run into traffic.
Petland always advises leaving a pet at home when running errands on warm days. Signs of heatstroke in pets include excessive panting, salivation, a racing pulse, high body temperature and possible vomiting. In the latter stages, the pet lapses into a coma, at which point it may suffer brain damage and die. While en route to a veterinarian, it can help to pour cool water over a pet’s body. Ice packs can be used to lower body temperature, and the pet’s mouth should be rinsed with cool water, offering ice chips or small amounts of water to drink.
• Pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers—Ingesting small quantities of chemicals commonly used on lawns can be fatal to dogs and cats. When not using such items, it is important to store them in a secure cabinet out of the reach of pets. When chemicals are applied to the lawn, pets need to be restricted from that area for a recommended amount of time suggested by the product’s manufacturer. If a pet gets on the lawn after chemicals have been applied and it later licks its paws, the pet may suffer an upset stomach or more serious problems. If it is suspected that a pet has been poisoned, a pet owner should try to determine what the poison was, when it was ingested and how much was swallowed. A veterinarian or poison control center should then immediately be contacted.
• Swimming pools—Dogs often love to jump into swimming pools while some cats enjoy sneaking a drink or two. To keep pets safe around pools, it is ideal to have a securely-fenced area around the perimeter, making sure they can’t squeeze between gaps. A net that is replaced after every pool use also can help prevent a pet from slipping in unsupervised. A ramp or stairs also can be installed to provide water-loving pets with a non-slip easy exit. Petland recommends pet owners hose off their pet after swimming to remove excess salt or chlorine from their coat, which may irritate the skin.
u Fireworks—While people may enjoy watching fireworks, pets often become fearful and panic because of the loud noises. They may even run away or become aggressive. If animals become too curious or are the target of fireworks, they may suffer from burns, broken eardrums, blindness, shock or even death. Ingesting unlit fireworks can be very dangerous or lethal to a pet, as many contain agents such as potassium nitrate, mercury, copper and barium. It is best to keep a pet indoors or safely restrained on a leash or in a carrier to prevent harm.
• Mowing grass and trimming hedges—It is best to confine pets to the indoors when using any lawn equipment. Items such as rakes may poke out a pet’s eye and the loud noise of a lawnmower may frighten a skittish pet. Cats or dogs may even try to run away or attack because of fright, so it’s best not to take any chances.
Petland, Inc., is a franchise operation with more than 200 quality, full-service, retail pet centers across the United States, Canada, Chile, Japan, China and South Africa. For more information about Petland, visit www.petland.com.
From the April 6-12, 2011 issue
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