It is important to know how to take care of your pet during emergencies. Knowing pet first aid techniques may save you money and even save their life.
In January we adopted our first cat. My husband grew up in a house constantly claiming 2-3 cats so he was pretty excited and confident. I had two outside dogs that I’m ashamed to admit we were very inattentive to. So our pet experiences were vastly different. In the 7 months since we’ve added two kittens, one was a runt. And this is where I had my epiphany.
We haven’t touched much on the topic of pets and preparedness here at PreparednessMama. To be honest, we didn’t really have pets and have little to no experience in that area. We’ve done some research but research and first-hand experience are two very different things.
Injuries are going to happen
I learned this 2 weeks ago when I found myself frantically searching Google for “how to tell if a cat has a broken leg,” and “how to help a cat with a broken leg.” Oh, and it was 9 pm at night with my very concerned daughter. Looking into her eyes and his, I felt unprepared.
After a visit to the vet the next day and lots of money, and to be honest feeling quite emotional that this small creature was injured while under my guardianship, I vowed to learn pet first aid. We told the kids when we decided to get a pet it was to become a member of the family, not a toy or a pet.
I realized if my child was injured first aid is pretty reflexive for me at this point, I know what to do and I have what I need to care for them. Even most of my kids know some first aid. Why did I bring 3 cats into my home without preparing myself to care for them in an emergency?!?
Since then I’ve done a lot of searching for resources in pet first aid. While I don’t feel qualified to teach it at the moment, I’m certainly qualified to share what I found to be the best resources for self-education.
Online Pet First Aid Course
You might consider taking a class to really be prepared for pet first aid in an emergency. We found an online course from Cat and Dog First Aid that is presented with videos and the teaching is with a vet and actual animals. She does a great job showing and explaining everything. It includes a large array of topics including maintenance, emergencies, basic first aid, and regular pet health.
The course includes a downloadable checklist for creating a pet first aid kit, a pet disaster kit, and a first aid booklet that goes along with all the videos, quiz, and printed certificate. If you don’t quite have funds for the course you can sign up for their email newsletter which shares a helpful video each week.
I also found that putting the course in “my cart” allowed me to download the booklet and checklists. This course is definitely on my wish list. As a side note, they also have a huge selection of health courses in their library so I’d recommend perusing their course catalog. I definitely have several I’m planning to dive into.
Here’s what you’ll learn from the Cat and Dog First Aid Course:
- You will be able to create a first aid and disaster preparedness kit and how to use some of the important components of a kit.
- You will be able to recognize some common signs of illness in your pet and how urgently these should be assessed by your veterinarian.
- You will learn some basic skills on handling respiratory emergencies, or injuries such as fractures or bleeding wounds.
- You will be able to describe several of the common toxins dogs and cats may become exposed to and the initial steps for decontamination. Snakebites or insect bites will no longer cause you to panic, and you will be able to remain calm when faced with a minor allergic reaction.
- Finally, if the worst case scenario occurs, you will learn the basic steps to performing effective CPR in a dog or cat.
Red Cross Pet First Aid App
Yes, there’s an app for that! And from the trusty Red Cross too! We’ve covered their first aid and disaster specific apps in previous posts so I knew this was a winner! The setup is super easy to use. Select cat or dog and then select the appropriate topic from the list.
You can learn in the ‘Learn’ section which also includes CPR. Disaster preparedness in the ‘Prepare’ section and videos are in the ‘Emergency’ section. Like the other app, there are quizzes to test your knowledge.
It also has basic pet health care information like checking pulse and temperature and what’s normal. It even has training tips for dog owners. In the ‘More’ section under Pets, you can add your pet’s health info, vet contacts, and a picture.
It’s just as fantastic as the human First Aid app! Go Red Cross!
Books and DVD
If you like having a hard copy or simply prefer the non-mobile version, the Red Cross has a Book and DVD set for cats or dogs available online for $17. Everything from the app is in physical form for study at your convenience. This would be great to include in your first aid and disaster kits as a handy reference. It’s always good to have a backup in case your devices hit the fan too.
Check with your local veterinarian for classes and workshops. Your Vet is just as invested in your pet as you are and they know a pet’s health and welfare starts with his owners. Our local small animal vet clinic hosts a first aid class every few months.
I’m certainly going to be at the next one!
Our little kitty still has two weeks in a cast and I’m just beginning the journey of pet vaccines and veterinarian visits, but I feel much more prepared to care for my fur babies. I promise to share more as I begin to put together my pet first aid kit and pet disaster kits as well.
Have you done a pet emergency kit yet? Tell us how it went in the comments section below. We love learning from you too.