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5 Pet Safety Tips in Honor of Pet First Aid Awareness Month

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month, a great time for individuals to consider the special needs of their “other” family members. The best way to resolve injuries for your furry companion is to prevent these injuries from occurring in the first place, by understanding and meeting their own individual needs. However, there is no way to be absolutely sure that your pet will never have an accident, injury or some other health issue, and when it does occur you can greatly mitigate the damages by being prepared to render any necessary first aid.

5 Pet Safety Tips

In order to be aware of any pet emergencies that may be occurring, one must obviously keep a close eye on their furry companion. In some cases, pet emergencies begin without any plainly obvious physical signs, and one will need to spot smaller indications that lead them to uncover exactly what is occurring. No one knows your pet better than you, and just like you would be able to tell if your spouse or child was feeling less than normal, you will be able to tell if your pet is feeling uncomfortable. Following are some pet safety tips one can use to keep their pet healthy and happy:

1. Prevent and watch for dehydration. Just as dehydration can be extremely dangerous in humans, it can also be extremely dangerous in pets. You should always make sure that your pet has access to clean water in sufficient quantity, and keep an eye out for signs of dehydration. If you pull up on your pet’s skin between their shoulder blades, it should spring right back into place upon release. If it remains sticking up for any length of time, your pet is dehydrated. If they have access to clean water and aren’t drinking it, you should immediately schedule a visit with your veterinarian to ensure there isn’t another physical condition contributing to their dehydration.

2. Watch for signs of poisoning and get immediate help. No matter how safe a pet’s environment may seem, a normal inquisitiveness can lead them into trying things that are poisonous for them. If you notice any signs of poisoning, such as external bleeding, dilated pupils, drooling or foaming at the mouth, or general abnormal behavior, contact your veterinarian immediately. In the case of a seizure, make sure your pet is in a safe location and keep your hands away from their face in case of accidental biting.

3. Prevent and watch for heatstroke or heat exhaustion. A pet suffering from heatstroke or heat exhaustion needs medical attention in order to prevent further complications and injuries. Some basic signs of heatstroke and heat exhaustion include collapse, a body temperature of 104 F or higher, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, wobbliness, excessive panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, unusually red mucous membranes and increased salivation.

4. Prevent and treat animal bites. Flea, tick and mosquito bites can be prevented with topical and sometimes even internal medications. Ensuring your pet is not around other aggressive animals can help to prevent most other bites from occurring. However, in the case of an animal bite, one should always consult with their veterinarian and properly care for the bite. Even minor bites can become infected and therefore dangerous for the pet’s health.

5. Address bleeding wounds immediately. If your pet has an injury that is bleeding freely, you should use gauze and apply direct pressure to the wound. If the blood soaks through the gauze, it is important to apply more gauze over the top–without removing the soaked gauze and possibly re-opening the wound. Get your pet to the veterinarian as rapidly as possible.

No one likes to consider what may happen if their beloved furry companion becomes ill or injured, but oftentimes the best prevention is thorough preparation. Furthermore, knowing what to do in an emergency enables one to calmly cope with said emergency, which means faster and better care for your pet.

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