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Pet First Aid

Pet expert Marc Morrone advises keeping these items on hand for pet emergencies.
Martha Stewart Living Television

Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to keeping your pet safe, but accidents and illness do happen, especially at those times of year, such as the holidays, when novel temptations and unfamiliar people are around the home.

Most important: Recognize when your pet needs a vet's attention. Any sudden deviation from how he or she acts normally can be a signal of something amiss. If you witness an incident, don't assume that just because your pet is acting fine right now that you should hold off on care. Act quickly and decisively, getting your pet to a vet as soon as possible.

It's equally important -- for your own safety -- that you treat him or her properly on the way. A sick animal, no matter how good their disposition otherwise, may act radically different when uncomfortable and sick. Move slowly around the animal, speaking softly, and although it's better to avoid physical contact, being very gentle if the situation requires any sort of touch. During an emergency, never surprise a pet, and remain mindful of what your pet is doing so she or he doesn't surprise you in turn.

First-Aid Kit
Keep a first-aid kit close at hand. A well-stocked kit includes:

  • Gauze
  • Vet wraps that cling to legs and paws but not fur
  • Nonadhesive sterile pads
  • A leash and muzzle
  • A towel
  • A compact thermal blanket or "space" blanket
  • Syptic powder or cornstarch to help staunch bleeding
  • Three-percent hydrogen peroxide for cleansing wounds
  • An expired library card -- perfect for scraping stingers from the skin
  • A pen light
  • Tweezers
  • A good first-aid book for pets
  • A list of emergency numbers including your vet, an after-hours emergency animal hospital, and the National Animal Poison Control Center (800-548-2423)

This article is part of the Pet 'Net Safety Event! Read More Articles

Special Thanks
Marc Morrone, pet expert
Parrots of the World

Dr. Nick Sitinas, VMD
Aiplomate ABVP Avian Practice
203-762-2002