Socks, rocks, bones, chocolate, coins… all of these items can be harmful to our pets!
As a pet owner, there are pet first aid skills that you can utilize to increase your pet’s chance of a positive outcome from unfortunate experiences involving harmful objects or food items. There are also things that you can do to help prevent these scary situations from happening at all.
In just five easy steps, you’ll be able to transform your home into a safer environment for your pet! Here’s how:
- Store all cleaning supplies, harmful food products, and medications in upper cupboards that are inaccessible to your pets.
- Pets are resourceful so be sure to use childproof locks if necessary.
- Ensure your kitchen and bathroom garbage is not accessible to your animals. You can do this by purchasing bins that latch shut or by keeping the garbage in a sealed cupboard.
- Be plant and flower aware. Great resources such as ASPCA Poison Control https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants and Pet Poison Helpline http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/basics/top-10-plants-poisonous-to-pets/ both offer free advice regarding toxic plants to avoid in your home.
- Supervise your pets. Don’t let your pets roam freely, it’s simply too dangerous. And when you do leave Fluffy or Fido home alone, be sure the environment is free from danger by doing a quick “pet safety” check each time you leave the house.
Pet first aid
You may see any combination of the following if your pet has ingested a foreign object:
- Constipation OR diarrhea
- Lack of hunger
- Swollen or painful abdomen
- Acting unusual
With toxins, there may be other signs such as:
- Pale gums
- Ulcers around the face or paws
- Lack of coordination
Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid www.walksnwags.com recommends the following for pets that have ingested foreign objects and/or toxins:
- Ensure that it is safe for you to help the animal. Do not compromise your own safety.
- Keep the animal calm and restrain as appropriate.
- Do not offer your pet anything to eat or drink without Veterinary advice.
- Do not offer your pets laxatives nor induce vomiting without Veterinary advice.
- If your pet is straining to defecate and something is “stuck” in the anus (examples: string, dental floss, saran wrap) resist the urge to pull.
- Contact your Veterinarian immediately. If it is a suspected toxin ingested contact ASPCA Animal Poison Control 1-888-426-4435 or Pet Poison Helpline 1-855-764-7661.
- Follow guidance of your Veterinary professionals. Your pet may or may not need to visit a Veterinary clinic; however, they will be an excellent resource to you.
- At home, watch for any changes in your pet’s condition (breathing, energy, behaviour, gum colour, appetite, etc.) and report to your Veterinarian.
Remember, prevention is the best form of pet first aid. However, if your pet ingests a harmful object or food item, it’s better to have some basic skills to improve your pet’s chance of a successful outcome. Take a Pet First Aid class either in person or via distance learning to prepare yourself. Your best friend is worth it.