Holiday Hazards by Dr. Anne Chauvet of Critical Care and Veterinary Specialists of Sarasota
The holidays can be a time of joy and family fun, but for the furry members of our clan, they also can present some hazards. For instance, common holiday baking items like yeast dough, raisins and chocolate can be toxic when lapped up by curious pets, and enticing new “playthings” like tinsel, ornaments, ribbon, toy parts and batteries can cause life-threatening obstructions.
When a treasured pet is in distress, it’s very hard to stay calm and clear-thinking, so part of being conscientious pet owners means educating ourselves about the proper care of our animals if they become seriously ill or injured. Having some basic knowledge, a plan of action and critical information at your fingertips is vital to getting your pet the help he or she needs in an emergency.
Start here: Make sure you have the telephone number for your veterinarian, your trusted emergency clinic and the Animal Poison Hotline, 888-232-8870, in your mobile phone and/or near your landline. Make it easy and post these numbers on your refrigerator!
If you don’t know the exact route to the emergency clinic you prefer to use, then map it now and store it wherever will be easiest and quickest for you to access in a crisis. When you are out and about shopping, take a dry run past the emergency clinic so you’ll have exact route in your head when you need it. You might also call the ER and make an appointment to stop by for a tour so you’ll be familiar with them.
Home First Aid Kit: Just like you have the necessaries for a mishap for your kids or family members. You should prepare a first aid kit for your pets. Here are the essentials:
- Extra collar and leash – searching for these in case of an emergency is something that you want to avoid!
- Muzzle – even the most gentle pet can become aggressive if he or she is hurt or in pain. Make sure to test the fit!
- Basic Medical Supplies: sterile non-adherent pads, gauze sponges, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment, eye flush, medical tape and duct tape, bandage scissors, splints and tongue depressors.
- A board for stabilization if you have a big dog
- Of course a pet carrier for smaller pet
Emergency on the go. . .There’s an app for that? Well in a way . . .many clinics now have a QR tag that you can scan and store their information in your phone for urgent care. Also, there is a service called Vet11.com, which you can access from any computer or mobile device.
People often feel uncertain about what conditions require immediate care for their pets. Generally speaking, if you are concerned, call your veterinarian or emergency clinic. Emergencies for our pets are similar to our own: heavy bleeding including bite wounds, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness, heart failure, physical trauma (like being hit by a car), continual vomiting, paralysis, swallowing a poison, toxin or medication, swollen abdomen/inability to urinate or defecate, broken bones, snake or spider bites, and seizures lasting more than 1 or 2 minutes. Something you can do at home is to check your pet’s gums. Pale or blue gums are a sign that your pet is seriously ill and needs medical attention right away.
For the little bit of time it takes to make these simple preparations, you will be paid back in peace of mind, and should you ever need them, this small investment now may just save your pet’s life some day. For more information, please visit CriticalVet Care.com
Here’s to a safe and happy holiday season!