April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

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April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month and a great time for all pet owners to learn how best to handle pet accidents and emergencies. Pet Sitters International (PSI) encourages all pet owners to learn what to do if their pet becomes injured.

Dr. Emily Pointer, DVM, at Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City, said that the most important aspect pet owners should take away from National Pet First Aid Awareness Month is how critical it is to be prepared.

“An emergency situation can be handled much faster and more appropriately if an owner has resources like a first aid kit and list of important phone numbers (veterinarian, emergency animal hospital and poison control) easily accessible,” Dr. Pointer said.

Just like people, most pet accidents happen in or nearby the home. Examples of the most common pet accidents include toxic ingestion, dog bites, high rise syndrome, ripped toenails, foreign body ingestions with gastrointestinal problems, eye emergencies, broken bones, trouble giving birth and being hit by a car.

Dr. Pointer says that a good way to become prepared for emergencies is to be proactive; think about the most common accidents and then figure out how to prevent these emergencies from arising.

Simple first-aid procedures can be the difference between life and death. Knowing how to apply pressure to a source of bleeding and place a temporary bandage is vital to your pet’s safety, and may even save the life of your pet.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), 25 percent more pets would survive if just one pet first aid technique were applied prior to getting emergency veterinary care.

“Even after a pet owner has administered first aid, it is extremely important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible,” Dr. Pointer said. “There are many, many emergencies that cannot be managed, even in the initial period, with simple first aid.”

Dr. Pointer advises pet owners to call their veterinarians, an emergency veterinary center or poison control immediately and, above all, remain calm. Panicking will only stress the injured animal.

To find a professional pet sitter in your area, visit the PSI Locator.

© Copyright 2010 by Pet Sitters International. All rights reserved.

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