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National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

National Pet First Aid Awareness Month: Pet First Aid Kits & How To Be Prepared In Case Of A Pet Emergency

It’s National Pet First Aid Awareness Month, which means it’s time to take a closer look at pet first aid care and how we can be prepared in case of a pet emergency. Here at the Bone & Biscuit, we value providing you with important tips and information to help you keep your pets happy, and safe. 

With National Pet First Aid Awareness Month, we thought it would be the perfect time to talk about pet first aid care, pet first aid kits, and how you can be prepared in a pet emergency. 

Keep reading to learn more about National Pet First Aid Awareness Month and Bone & Biscuit’s top pet first aid tips.

What Is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month?

National Pet First Aid Awareness Month takes place in April and was first celebrated in 2011. This month is dedicated to spreading awareness about the importance of pet first aid and how to care for your pet in an emergency. From providing tips on building a pet first aid kit to encouraging taking courses on pet first aid, National Pet First Aid Awareness Month is all about giving you the best tools and information to protect your pet.

Do I Need To Know Pet First Aid?

If you can, we strongly recommend learning pet first aid care. 

A small dog laying on a veterinarian's examination table at a vet clinic for National Pet First Aid Awareness Month.

Much like human first aid, pet first aid can help you save your pet’s life and keep them calm and safe until you can reach a veterinarian. Many pet owners are unfamiliar with what their pets may need in an emergency. 

While we always recommend taking your pet to a veterinarian whenever there are concerns about their health and safety, sometimes you need to respond quickly and in the first few moments, and there’s no time to wait for a veterinarian to protect your pet. Whether your pet is choking, was hit by a car, attacked by another animal, fell and hurt themselves, or hurt in some other pet emergency, knowing how to respond in those first moments is critical to their recovery and health, and ensuring you can get them to a vet in time.

We recommend learning basic pet first aid care, such as how to clean an injury and wrap a wound. If possible, we highly recommend learning regular first aid for people as well, as you never know when it may come in handy and help save another person’s life.

How Can I Be Prepared For A Pet Emergency or Pet Injury? Our Top 5 Tips For Pet First Aid & Being Prepared

Need some tips on ways you can be prepared for a pet emergency? Here are our top 5 tips for pet first aid and be prepared for a pet emergency:

An owner petting his orange cat while it lays on a cushion. Photo by <a href="">Marina Hanna</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>

Pet First Aid Tip #1: Know Your Pet & Their Typical Behavioral Signals

Not all injuries are obvious (such as a cut) and some pets may even try to hide their injuries. For this pet first aid tip, we recommend learning your pet’s behavioural signals for when they’re happy and comfortable, and when they’re stressed or hurt. There are many common signals to look out for in your cat or dog, but many behaviours will be pet specific. Keep an eye out for behaviour that’s out of the norm for your dog or cat (such as a big personality change, like going from friendly to aggressive, or more obvious signs like limping or not eating).

A first aid kit with a stethoscope, gloves and a syringe on a white background. Photo by Roger Brown:

Pet First Aid Tip #2: Have A Pet First Aid Kit (Or Multiple Kits) Available For Emergencies

You never know when you may need some pet-safe bandages to wrap around your pet’s injury. We strongly recommend having a pet first aid kit in your home for emergencies (Most pet first aid kits can be used for people, too!) If possible, we recommend having two to three kits available: one for home use, one for in your car, and a “mini” one you can bring on walks. See below for our suggested list of items to have in a pet first aid kit.

A senior cat, an orange tabby, sniffs a treat in the palm of a veterinarian's hand while getting a check up. Regular checkups with the vet for your senior pet is a good way to keep on top of your pet's health for Senior Pet Month.

Pet First Aid Tip #3: Take A Pet First Aid Certification Course Or Consult with Your Veterinarian On Pet First Aid

While a pet first aid kit can help with things like cuts or broken limbs, a pet first aid kit doesn’t tell you how to help your pet if they’re choking or how to wrap an injury. Many cities and local communities offer pet first aid certifications, and there are online certification courses available as well. If possible, we recommend becoming certified in pet first aid so that you can be as prepared as possible.

Here are some online resources about pet first aid certification:

There are many more pet first aid certification courses available locally as well if you’d like to look into in-person courses instead. If a pet first aid certification isn’t available or possible for you, you can also speak with your veterinarian for advice on pet first aid care.

A senior pet, an older dachshund with a greying face, walks on a cobbled pathway with a dog wheelchair to help keep him mobile. Building ramps is a great way to help your less mobile senior pets stay independent for Senior Pet Month.

Pet First Aid Tip #4: Train Your Pet To Come To You During Stressful Situations

If your pet is ever scared or injured, whether at home or in a new environment, you want them to know that they can come to you for safety and comfort. This is especially important in emergencies like a fire or if your pet is ever separated from you. It’s important to train them where possible to come to you, or a safe space, when they are stressed or hurt. 

Key parts of this training are to make sure your pet feels comfortable and safe in main spaces like your car or home, so they instinctively recognize these areas as a “safe zone”. Most animals will be able to recognize your home as their “den” over time, but you can help this process along by providing comfortable areas in your car and home, among other techniques. We also recommend having what’s known as an “emergency recall” so that your pet knows to immediately come to you in an emergency.

A young australian shepherd puppy takes it's medication through an oral syringe at home for National Pet First Aid Awareness Month.

Pet First Aid Tip #5: Know When It’s Time To Take Them To An Emergency Veterinary Hospital

Of course, if you’re ever uncertain about what to do or if your pet needs medical attention, we always recommend calling or visiting your veterinary clinic and consulting with them for advice. However, sometimes your pet needs medical attention that your usual clinic can’t provide, or in many cases, smaller clinics won’t always be open for later hours or on weekends. In times like these, it’s important to know when you need to take your pet to an emergency veterinary hospital (instead of your usual clinic). To be prepared, we recommend knowing your particular vet clinic’s hours of operation and to have their contact information on hand. We also recommend knowing where your nearest emergency vet is and how to contact them as well if your usual veterinarian isn’t reachable.

Another important part of this tip is knowing what symptoms require immediate emergency care. Here are the most common indicators in dogs and cats that you should look out for that mean an emergency vet visit:

  • Collapsing, fainting, seizures or unconsciousness
  • Bad cuts or injuries (such as a broken limb) that may require stitches or surgery
  • Excessive panting, difficulty breathing or choking
  • Swollen limbs, chest or stomach area
  • Not eating or drinking, severe and continued diarrhea, bloody stool or vomit, or continuous vomiting 
  • Sudden weakness, wobbling or inability to walk 
  • Bleeding nose or eyes (especially if not linked to an incident or obvious injury)
  • Straining to urinate or defecate (As there could be a blockage, tumour or buildup that requires emergency surgery)

There are many facets to being prepared for a pet emergency or pet injury that goes beyond these tips. But, we hope that these tips help you feel more prepared, and provide you with some areas to research and learn more about pet first aid care. Make sure to consult with your veterinarian for more tips for pet first aid care, especially when it comes to your particular pet and its needs.

What Should I Have In My Pet First Aid Kit?

We believe that all pet owners should have a pet first aid kit. In general, having a regular first aid kit at home can cover many of the bases for pet injuries as well as for first aid care for people, too. However, if you’re building out your pet first aid kit for the first time, here are some recommended items you should add to the kit:

  • Styptic powder (to help slow bleeding, especially on things like cut nail quicks)
  • Bandages (such as gauze pads, gauze rolls and non-stick bandages)
  • Regular tweezers & tick tweezers (getting a tick out as soon as possible can help limit the chance of disease being spread to your pet, so having these on hand is key)
  • Gloves (to help with keeping germs out of their injury, and to keep yourself safe from potential infections)
  • Pet-Safe Self-Adhesive Wrap (to avoid their fur being pulled on or ripped out when removing bandages)
  • First Aid Tape 
  • Q-Tips & Cotton Pads
  • Antiseptic Towelettes & Sanitizer Wipes
  • Paramedic Scissors (rounded/non-pointed end scissors)
  • Pet-safe eyewash
  • Oral syringe (non-needle syringe to help with giving your pet liquid medication)
  • Thermometer
  • Small, bright flashlight
  • Towel or blanket (to wrap them in)
  • If your pet takes regular medications or has a prescription, see if you can keep some in your first aid kit as well

Equipment for a first aid kit. National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

National Pet First Aid Awareness Month With Bone & Biscuit

Pet first aid is an often forgotten but key part of caring for your pet, which is why we think that promoting National Pet First Aid Awareness Month is so important. With these tips provided in our guide, we hope you feel more prepared and confident in tackling a pet emergency. 

Be sure to browse our blog for more helpful tips on pet care and other fun news (like our Paws In Motion initiative happening this spring for National Canine Fitness Month). Looking for more advice on pet care or what to add to your pet first aid kit? Stop by your local Bone & Biscuit store for more helpful tips on products and pet care.

*Disclaimer: The contents of this blog post, such as any graphics, images, text and other material contained on this site are for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s medical condition. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately. Reliance on any information appearing on this website is at your own risk. If you have medical concerns or need advice for your dog or cat, please seek out your closest holistic or integrative veterinarian.


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