You are your pet’s lifeline in an emergency situation.
Are you ready for whatever may be needed? April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month, and Chilliwack pet food company Petcurean has released a list of six essentials for pet owners to keep top of mind, so that they are equipped to respond accordingly in the event of an emergency or accident.
Christine Mallier, community relations manager for Petcurean, says emergencies can be anything from natural disasters, fires, car accidents, or even the current self-isolation health measures for the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Even something as simple as a cut during a trail walk can warrant being prepared,” she says. “All types of emergency situations, call for a level of preparedness – and this future planning also extends to our pets.”
She cites a study by Banfield Pet Hospital that showed 91 per cent of pet owners are not prepared in an emergency situation.
“We hope we can help equip pet owners with the information they need to keep their pets as happy, healthy, and safe as possible,” she says.
Here are their tips and must-have items below for putting together an easy-to-access first aid kit:
Have a weeks’ worth of food and water
Have enough food and water for your pet to at least get through the first week after an emergency, along with a collapsible silicone bowl. It might seem like a no-brainer, but storing food and treat options that can be easily kept fresh until ready for use is also important for your pet’s health.
Don’t forget the ID and leash
It’s always a good idea to have an extra collar with your pet’s ID tags (don’t forget to include your pet’s name, contact phone numbers, etc.) and a leash and/or harness on hand. Don’t feel like you have to spend a lot of money on a spare leash – an old, used leash that you were about to retire can easily be upcycled for this purpose.
Also consider also including a muzzle in your emergency kit – if your pet requires wound treatment, keeping him/her muzzled may help you safely treat your pet without the risk of being bitten and will also prevent your pet from licking and potentially infecting an open wound. And keep your cat and dog carriers in a quickly accessible location – when disaster strikes there’s no extra time for digging through the garage or closets trying to find them so you can transport your pet to safety.
Keep your pet’s meds up-to-date
If your pet is taking any ongoing medications, talk to your vet about keeping a back-up supply on hand in the case of an emergency. Be sure to take note of expiry dates if you are storing back-up medication so that you always have a fresh and effective supply available for use in an emergency.
Be first-aid ready
Make sure you include multiples of all the traditional first aid supplies in your pet’s emergency kit. This includes hydrogen peroxide for cleaning minor wounds, antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection and relieve pain, gauze, scissors, tape, bandages, and rubber gloves for wound treatment, and wet wipes to keep things as clean as possible. Including an extra roll or two of poop bags is also a good idea – not just for poop disposal, but for general disposal of used first aid items, too.
Pack the comforts of home
In high-stress situations, having something your pet is familiar with will help ease their anxiety and keep them calm. Consider storing a well-loved blanket and favourite toy, or even an old kennel that you know your pet is comfortable in. Take that old blanket or one of your old shirts that still has your scent on it and store with your emergency supplies in a large sealed ziplock bag, so it’s ready if your pet needs it. Just as comfort items are beneficial to us as humans, the familiar sights and smells of an old toy or blanket will help put your pets at ease in stressful environments.
Don’t forget the paperwork
If your pet needs medical attention in an emergency, it will help to have your pet’s health history all in one place. Additionally, include things like phone numbers for your regular vet and an emergency vet, as well as a copy of your pet’s ID, tattoo or microchip information, and vaccination records. In the event of a devastating natural disaster, you may not have access to electronic records, so a paper copy – preferably kept in a waterproof folder – is recommended.
For more information on pet first aid, health and nutrition tips, please visit: https://www.petcurean.com/blog/ .