As traveling with pets becomes increasingly more frequent a practice, the number of pets injured while away from home is steadily escalating. When a cat or dog is unfamiliar with its surroundings, the animal may be more prone to various types of injuries, especially if the animal is particularly curious and overly inquisitive. Common pet travel injuries and illnesses include: insect stings, motion sickness, pet allergies, cuts, scrapes, and swallowing foreign objects. More serious injuries such as poisoning, infection, and broken bones may also occur.
Pet travel will become a much safer and more rewarding experience once pet owners are better equipped to handle emergency situations. Both knowledge of first aid, and the equipment available to facilitate such care are essential to ensure the best possible exit for an injured pet. It is best to keep in mind the goals of administering pet first aid: first, to prevent further injury, and second, to minimize discomfort until the animal can be safely transported to a veterinarian.
These objectives determine much of what should be included inside a pet first aid kit. A dog or cat with a preexisting condition or illness may require the presence of additional items. The pet owner should decide what tools, medicines, and equipment to add depending upon their pet's specific needs. All items should be stored in a waterproof container that can be closed securely.
Sample items in a pet first aid kit may include:
– Pet information card with pet's current health information, veterinarian's address and telephone number. Also include poison control hotline number.
– Latex gloves, cotton swabs, and hand wipes
– Rectal thermometer, and lubricating jelly pack
– Scissors, tweezers, nail clippers, oral syringe
– Triple antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream
– Sterile eye flush, eyedropper
– Old necktie (for making a muzzle)
– Bandaging materials (gauze squares and bandage tape)
– Clean towel
– Spare collar and leash
– Pet first aid booklet
Remember to package spillable items in leak-proof plastic bags, and rotate items so that medicines and ointments do not expire. Store the pet first aid kit safely away from children and pets.
In a perfect world there would be no use for a pet first aid kit, but do not procrastinate. Having the necessary tools and equipment on hand during a critical situation can make a difference in the health and safety of your pet.