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First aid tips. May well save your pet’s life.

The first few minutes in any emergency can make all the difference. How you react and respond may save your pet’s life.  You should ALWAYS seek veterinary attention as soon as possible, however staying very calm and applying the ABC rule is critical in the first moments when your pet is injured or unwell.

What is the ABC rule?
A. Is for airway.
B. Is for breathing.
C. Is for circulation.

Firstly, check there is nothing blocking your pet’s airway.
Secondly, check your pet is breathing easily and normally.
Thirdly, check your pet’s pulse or heartbeat.

If your pet’s airway is obstructed, they are having difficulty breathing or you can’t find a pulse, attempt CPR

  1. Check for a pulse (using the middle and index fingers on the inner thigh).
  2. If your pet isn’t breathing: for small cats and dogs place your mouth over the nose and mouth, keep the jaw closed, and blow air in. For medium-large dogs use your hand to form a funnel over the nose, keep the jaw closed and then and blow air in.
  3. If breath won’t go in, your pet’s airway may be blocked. To dislodge an obstruction, turn your pet upside down with its back against your chest, wrap your arms around your pet and clasp your hands just below their rib cage in the abdominal area. Using both arms perform five sharp thrusts into the abdomen, then check your pet’s mouth for a dislodged object. Remove the object and perform mouth-to-mouth until breathing resumes.
  4. If your pet doesn’t have a pulse start compressions. Lie your pet on its right side, place your hand over its ribs where the elbow meets the chest and begin compressions.

Wounds
Wounds are more common and its more likely you’ll find yourself addressing a wound than what we’ve discussed above.  This doesn’t mean a wound is any less dangerous.  Left untreated, infection can be fatal. If your pet has an accident that causes bleeding.
Firstly, apply pressure to the wound to try to stem the flow.
Secondly, clean the affected area with saline and where possible remove any dirt. A three percent hydrogen peroxide solution (you can buy at the supermarket) makes an excellent all-purpose wound cleaner. If you don’t have any in your kit, grab some next time your shopping. It foams on contact with dirty material in a contaminated wound.
Thirdly, get your pet to a vet as soon as possible so that they can provide antibiotic treatment to prevent infection.
During recovery, pure Aloe Vera jelly mixed with Manuka honey makes a great healing remedy for large wounds.

Snake Bites:
Nasty.  Living in the country we’re very aware of the danger of snakes to our pets.  They’re not confined solely to bushland and can and do get into the backyards of homes. During the warmer months, snakes to become more active.  As we begin to move into autumn and winter, they will become less frequent however be aware and knowing what to do in the case of a snake bite is essential.
If your pet has been bitten by a snake, symptoms may include trembling, vomiting, excessive drooling, dilated pupils, respiratory distress and paralysis. If you can, identify what type of snake has bitten your pet, then head straight to the vet, ringing ahead to let them know you are coming so they have maximum time to prepare.  Keep your pet calm and carry your dog to prevent the spread of poison. Keep them cool, wrap them in soaked towels with ice packs if available. Treated quickly, around 80 percent of pets survive snake bites.

Insect Bites:
Most insect bites only induce mild symptoms such as irritation and swelling. In these cases, try soothing the irritation with tea tree oil diluted 1 part to 4 parts water, alternatively use lavender oil. Don’t use tea tree oil where your pet can lick it off themselves or it will cause more harm than good. Some insect bites can cause respiratory distress (especially if your pet is bitten in the mouth which is common if they snap at an insect flying past) so, if your pet is having breathing difficulties or you know that they have been bitten or stung by a poisonous insect, head to the vet as quickly as possible for treatment.

Pet first aid kit:
Being prepared is your best form of defence.  Having first aid supplies at your fingertips if your pet is injured or becomes unwell is a part of responsible pet ownership. A pet First Aid kit should include gauze swabs, pressure bandages of different sizes, dressings, saline solution, iodine and disposable gloves. There are some good kits available online or you can put one together yourself.

Remember pets are family and our pets rely on us for 100% of their care.

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