Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Create A First Aid Team And Assemble A Comprehensive Pet First Aid Kit

Earth Heart welcomes Denise Fleck, certified Pet First Aid & CPR instructor, author, creator of Sunny-Dog Ink Pet First Aid Kits.  Denise is a strong proponent of being prepared: "Every home and vehicle should have a comprehensive first-aid kit. Don’t find yourself wishing you’d learned Pet First Aid and assembled a kit. Gather the tools now and learn how to use them for times your pet may be counting on you."

What Is Pet First Aid?

Veterinarians are the experts, but most of us are not lucky enough to have a vet-in-residence 24/7, and even if you live in a house with other people, odds are that when the dog stops breathing or the kitty cuts a paw, you will be home alone and it will be after veterinary hours.  That’s why it’s so important that pet parents know how to jump to the task to rescue Rover or help Fluffy feel better before professional medical help is available!

My goal as an instructor is to make you and your veterinarian a first aid team for the sake of your pet. Pet First Aid is by no means a replacement for competent veterinary care, but there are some things you can master to help determine whether your pet needs veterinary care:
·         If you know how to lower your pet’s body temperature due to heat stroke, you can prevent brain swelling and gastrointestinal injury.
·         If you know how to stop bleeding, you can prevent your precious pet from severe blood loss on the way to the vet, and through proper bandaging you can help prevent infection.
·         If you know how to induce vomiting, you can expel poison from the body.
·         If you know how to alleviate choking, you can prevent your pet from going unconscious.
·         If you know how to perform Rescue Breathing and CPCR (a second “C” for cerebral means improved techniques for moving blood and oxygen to the brain), you can keep that life-giving blood and oxygen circulating, keeping the animal alive until you get to medical help.

Why Is Attending A Class So Important?

Reading a book or even watching a video is helpful, but not a replacement for actually attending a class where you can view demonstrations and participate in hands-on skills practice which enables you to go on ‘auto-pilot’ when your pet needs you most.  I have found that practicing on animal mannequins allows students to make a hand-to-brain connection aiding them in working on the real thing.

Since I don’t teach yoga or meditation, I don’t claim to get my students into a “zen zone,” but what I do to alleviate their stress – which is so important since our animals pick up on our energy and vibes – is to teach them techniques and run scenarios through their heads so that nothing is brand new, and they have a plan A as well as a plan B in place.  I teach my students to take a deep breath before running to the rescue, and before classes start, I spray my canine and feline mannequins with the calming scent of CANINE CALM to take the edge off, because I’ve noticed that if my students aren’t anxious about everything they have to learn, they stay more focused and soak it all in.

I also suggest to them that during an emergency, they kindly ask any humans on the scene to leave who cannot remain calm.  Send them for a bucket of water or a stack of newspapers, but get them away from the injured animal.

Once you have taken a class, refresh your skills and take a class again because things change and our brains forget.  CPR is now CPCR (again, the second “C” for cerebral means improved techniques for moving blood and oxygen to the brain), so keep up with cutting edge methods to help your four-legged friend when he needs you most.

Do You Have An Up-To-Date, Easily-Accessible Pet First Aid Kit?

In addition to knowing Pet First Aid and having the confidence to react, anyone who spends time around pets must have a well-equipped tool kit (aka your Dog or Cat’s First Aid Kit).  Once assembled however, this kit is only as good as the human on the other end of the leash, meaning if you use something up, you must replace it; if an item expires, get another; and take special care of items that can go bad due to temperature changes. Medications and creams, adhesive on wraps and tapes as well as Hydrogen Peroxide all do not hold up well if they get hot. 

Each year, thousands of pets needlessly suffer and many die from ingesting common household foods and substances.  Accidents can happen to your pet any time, any place, so knowing what to do and having the necessary tools to bandage a wound, pull a tick or soothe an upset tummy at your fingertips is good pet parenting.  Precious time is often wasted looking for what we need, so here are the most basic items your Pet First-Aid Kit should include:

PET FIRST-AID HANDBOOK:  To assist with the important details you need to know.

PHONE NUMBERS & ADDRESSES:  Keep this information regarding your Veterinarian and nearest Animal Emergency Center readily available. 
AROMATHERAPY MIST:  To alleviate anxiety in both the injured animal and yourself as the rescuer.  I love CANINE CALM by EARTH HEART because it smells really good and helps everyone relax. Your initial contact with the pet becomes a gentle bonding time, rubbing a little into the ear flaps and making them feel more at ease with what lies ahead.

3% HYDROGEN PEROXIDE: To flush minor wounds and induce vomiting due to poisoning.  To induce vomiting, dribble 3% Hydrogen Peroxide into your pet’s mouth with a needle-less syringe.  Dosage is 1 tablespoon per 15 lbs. of the animal’s body weight. Take vomit, poison container and your pet to the Vet or Animal ER as soon as possible. If poison was a caustic or unknown substance, you will be instructed to dilute (instead of inducing vomiting) by feeding your pet water or milk, or my favorite – non-fat plain yogurt. Activated charcoal (or even burned toast) may also be recommended to absorb the poison. Learn what to do for the various kinds of poisons, and have phone numbers nearby.

EYE WASH OR SALINE SOLUTION:  To flush minor wounds and clean eyes. Eye wash should be nothing more than purified water with salt, with no chemicals like those found in contact lens solution.

  To control bleeding. 

To secure the gauze squares in place. 

ADHESIVE TAPE or SELF-ADHERING BANDAGE:  To secure the gauze squares in place.

COLD PACK:  To aid in heat stroke, swollen joints, burns and bee stings. 

  To soothe and promote healing. 

  To administer medications and other liquids. 

DIGITAL THERMOMETER:  To check your pet’s temperature.  Normal temperature is 100.4° - 102.5° Fahrenheit and is taken “under the tail.” 

STYPTIC POWDER & COTTON SWABS:  To control bleeding on a minor injury. 
SAFETY SCISSORS:  To remove bandages or cut proper lengths of bandaging materials. 

TWEEZERS:  To pull tick or remove debris from a wound. 

ANTIHISTAMINE TABLETS:  For those times when a bee stings or a snake bites.  Dosage is 1 mg per pound of pet’s body weight (ex. 10 lbs. cat gets 10 mg), but if your pet experiences major swelling or breathing difficulties, GET TO THE VET! 

ANTACID TABLETS:  To soothe an upset stomach. 

ELECTROLYTE REPLENISHER:  To aid in re-hydration. 

LEASH:  To wrangle a pet in need of help or to use as a temporary muzzle.

TOWEL OR BLANKET:  To cover a pet who has gone into Shock OR to use as a sling or stretcher.


How Can Scent Help Your Pet In An Emergency?
Dogs respond well to scent and touch, and topical applications of properly diluted pure essential oil remedies such as the EARTH HEART mists can lead to an emotional response, coupled with a bonding experience and potential behavior modification. The scent itself can anchor a positive experience with a trusted caregiver, and the end result is comfort for both the animal and the caregiver.

How Can Pure Essential Oil Remedies Enhance Your Pet First Aid Kit?

As mentioned above, I spray CANINE CALM on our practice mannequins to help students stay calm and focus (I know dog and horse trainers have used it for the same reason!). I use TRAVEL CALM in our travel kits for dogs who have stomach upset during travel. BUZZ GUARD is in our hiking kits to help improve outdoor activities any time of day or night.