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Aiding your pet: How to provide care in an emergency

When it comes to your pet, you would do anything to keep him safe, happy, and healthy. Working with an AAHA-accredited veterinarian can help you do just that. Preventive veterinary care will help to ensure that your pet is healthy, and can save you from the potential financial hardship that occurs when medical problems are not addressed with proper care.

In case of an emergency, it is important to seek veterinary help immediately—but there are steps you can take to ensure your pet’s comfort until you can get to the veterinary hospital. Always use caution, however. When pets are scared, in pain, or experiencing shock, it is not uncommon for them to bite even their owners.

Sarah Kubacki, a veterinary technician at Brekke Veterinary Clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado, provided the following tips for aiding your pet until you can get professional help.

Help! My pet is bleeding! 

First, clean the wound with a mild antibacterial soap. Rinse with water and dry well.

Apply pressure directly to the bleeding site with a clean cloth or towel for a minimum of three minutes. This is important, as it takes time for the blood to clot. If you remove the cloth or towel too soon, you may remove the blood clot that is forming and have to start all over.

Keep in mind also that ears, gums, and nails tend to bleed more than other areas of the body. If the cloth or towel soaks through, do not remove the material. Instead, add more cloth or towels to the site until the blood has clotted. Consult your veterinarian right away.

Help! My pet is limping!

Check your pet for puncture wounds, broken nails, or any other abnormality that may be causing him discomfort. Be sure to monitor your pet for any other issues, such as vomiting or collapse, and restrict activity until veterinary care is available.

Help! My pet is having a seizure!

During a seizure, it is important to keep your pet from injuring himself or others. Move objects and other animals away from the seizing pet. Do not try to move the seizing pet unless he is near a harmful object that cannot be moved. Also be sure to keep your hands and fingers away from the pet’s face and mouth.

Record a description of the seizure, including its duration. Once your pet has recovered, keep him quiet and warm and contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Help! My pet is vomiting! 

Check for any toxins or foreign material your pet may have gotten into, such as plants, food, household chemicals, or medication. If you believe your pet has ingested a toxic substance, contact your veterinarian or a poison control hotline immediately.

If your pet is not experiencing any other signs of illness, you may fast him for 24 hours (water only) and monitor his symptoms. After 24 hours, you may introduce a bland diet of rice and boiled protein, such as chicken. Feed a small amount (half the normal feeding amount) three to four times per day.

If symptoms persist, however, please contact your veterinarian.

Remember, when it comes to your pet’s health, your best bet is always to seek veterinary expertise. To find an accredited veterinary hospital near you, please visit aaha.org

Katie Meyer is an animal lover who found out the hard way just how helpful a bland diet of chicken and rice can be for a sick puppy.


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