Pet First Aid Awareness Month

    The American Red Cross has designated April as Pet First Aid Awareness Week.  Would you know what to do if your dog is injured on a walk, or you find your cat has eaten something it shouldn’t have and has gotten sick?  Most pet owners have our vet numbers in our phone, but what if your vet office is closed or you are out of town with your pet?  I became certified in Pet First Aid and CPR Imageshortly after I opened my Fetch! Pet Care franchise.   I’ve already written a blog post  about what you need in your pet first aid kit.  You should also know the emergency vet clinic closest to you.  In my territory there are 3 emergency vet locations, in Cobb County and Cherokee County as well as in RoswellGeorgia Veterinary Specialists is in Sandy Springs off of Abernathy Rd.  Many in-home problems with pets have to do with poisoning, so you should also have a poisoning control number handy as well. 

     The American Red Cross offers pet first aid classes, although I couldn’t find any scheduled anytime soon in the Atlanta office. Image Pet tech is a company that also holds classes and you can find classes that are being offered on their website.  The classes are usually about 4 to 5 hours and the certification lasts for 2 years.  Most of my sitters have taken the class as well.  

    Another important item in being prepared to take care of your pets is to put Imagestickers on your doors to notify emergency workers how many pets are in the house.  The ASPCA will send you these stickers as well as a magnet with their poison control number on it. You can find where your pet’s secret hideout is by watching where it goes when you test your smoke alarms.  Each time you test it, check to make sure it’s going to the same place.  This is where you can go to rescue it if the need ever arises. Also you could tell emergency workers this in case of fire or something where you couldn’t get them yourselves. 

 Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/

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Spring and Snakes

    You may not believe it if you are outside very long today, but Atlanta is in store for a very pleasant weekend.  Many of you will be spending time with your pets outside or start working in the garden.  You may not be the only one looking to enjoy the warm temperatures and the sunshine.  Venomous Snakes of Georgia has sent out a notice that snake activity will be on the increase with the temperatures and the sun. Image

Pet owners should be careful when they walk their dogs through wooded areas and the dogs start to investigate away from the trails. 

    According to the group, the first snakes to emerge from hibernation are the smaller snakes because they can’t store as much as the larger snakes.  As you would expect, they say the most likely time to encounter a snake is in the afternoon, when the sun has warmed things up a bit.  They offer some great advice for reducing the likelihood of snakes around your home in their latest news release you can see here.

    Dogs are usually bitten on the head, neck and front legs because that’s what they investigate with.  Bites to the head and neck have a higher potential of being dangerous because they can affect the pet’s breathing. 

    If you do encounter a snake and you think your pet has been bitten, try and identify the snake.  DO NOT put yourself or anyone else in danger of a bite to do this.  If envenomization has occurred, the symptoms will be almost immediate.  A bitten dog will show signs of pain, swelling, bruising and oozing blood around two puncture wounds.  The dog may also appear nervous or depressed, weak and salivate or vomit.  The bite wounds may not be visible because of the dog’s coat.

     Muzzle your dog as soon as possible.  This is something you should keep in your pet first aid kit.  Keep an eye on its breathing and the muzzle may need to be loosened if it has a hard time breathing.  Get the dog to a vet right away so antivenin can be administered.  Snakebite kits don’t work, so don’t waste your time with that. 

     Enjoy the spring weather this weekend, but be sure to keep a close eye on your pets (and your family).  Remember that the best way to avoid problems is to be prepared and stay away from situations that could cause problems. 

    Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides pet sitting, dog walking and cat care services for Roswell, East Cobb, Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA.  You can see the happy pets by following us on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/fetchnwatlanta/.

Pets and Fertilizer

This time of year we’re seeing the lawn service trucks come back into neighborhoods to spray yards with weed killer and fertilizer as dormant lawns come to life in the warmer temperatures.  ImageThat makes the yards look great but it can be dangerous for your pets.  When you see the signs in a yard that say it’s been serviced, you know not to let your pet walk into that yard.  But even by keeping your pet out of the grass, the weed killer can get on his paws.  If it’s a windy day, the spray can get on sidewalks or the road, but even it’s not windy the spray can go where it’s not intended.   If the pet gets fertilizer on its paws it will track in your house where it could be picked up by others.  Your pet may lick its paws and ingest the poison.

There is something quite easy for you to do to prevent this.  You can keep disinfectant wipes by your door and wipe off your pet’s paws before it goes back in the house.  ImageAs part of your pet and family first aid plan you should have the local poison control center number readily available.  In metro Atlanta call 404-616-9000.  Here’s the link to the website.

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides in-home pet care and dog walking as well as cat care services in Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock, Georgia.

First Aid Kit for pets

As we head into March, even with the mild winter we’ve had, dog owners are looking forward to spending more time outside with their pets.  If you go to a park or on a hiking trail  or even around the house, there are plenty of potential problems out there for dogs, especially given their curious nature.  But if you are prepared you can prevent some of these things from becoming a major problem for you and your pet.  I’m going to list some of the basic things you need for your first aid kit.  This will fit easily in a fanny pack and many of these items can be used by you and other humans should the need arise on your hikes.  Cat owners you too should have a kit ready as well.

I mentioned in the last blog the importance of having a strip of material to use as a muzzle.  This is an essential element to your first aid kit, because unless the dog is restrained, it is almost impossible to move an injured dog who is conscious and in pain.  Here is a list of other items to include from the Pet Tech Petsaver program text book:

Adhesive Tape – 1 inch roll

Gauze pads – 3 or 4 inch square

Gauze rolls – 2 inch for small pets, 3 inch for larger dogs

Triangular Bandages

Individually wrapped sanitary napkins

Digital thermometer

Blunt end scissors

Tweezers

Eye dropper

12 cc syringe with needle removed

Antihistamine gel caps – put a safety pin in the package to prick hole in cap and squirt into pet’s mouth

Antibiotic – ex. Neosporin

Hydrogen peroxide (3%)

Vinegar or baking soda – used to neutralize burns caused by acids

Activated charcoal – used to absorb poisons

Petroleum jelly – as lubricant for thermometer

Kaopectate

Chemical ice pack

Small flashlight

Needle nose pliers

Q-tips

Betadine solution

Razor blades

Extra leash and collar

Plastic bags – for clean up or to save samples to give to vet

Permanent marking pen – for marking sample bags

Towel or blanket large enough to use to transport your pet

Latex or nitrile gloves

Pet Tech offers pet first aid classes and can explain how some of these ingredients are used.  The American Red Cross also offers pet first aid classes.  You can ask your vet about this as well.

In addition to these items you should keep a picture of you and your pet together in the bag in case you need to prove ownership of the dog.  Also you may have emergency numbers in your phone, but you should have them written down too.  Your cell phone batteries could be dead and you may have to borrow someone’s phone.  Also include a number for poison control.

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides dog walking and pet sitting services as well as providing cat care in Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock.

Pet First Aid

Last week I took a pet first aid and CPR class through the GNPP.  I took the class last year, but wanted a refresher course.  First aid for humans and pets is something everyone should know, but hopefully will never use.  I was a Boy Scout growing up and had a lot of first aid training from that.  I was a lifeguard and had senior lifesaving, plus I was certified in CPR.  The class was taught by one of the GNPP members who is a Pet Tech instructor.  At the Pet Tech site you can get information for the smart phone app they have. There is a fee for the app.  The American Red Cross also has pet first aid classes in the Atlanta area.

Many of the basic principals in first aid are the same for pets and humans.  The thing that I liked best about the class is that it addressed a wide range of situations you may find yourself in with a pet and it increases your awareness of situations and things you can do in your pet’s environment to eliminate potentially hazardous situations.  It’s important for you to remain calm.  When your pet senses your panic, it will panic too.  Talk to it in the same calming voice you usually use.

Cat owners probably already know this, but cats are very good at hiding their injuries.  This comes from their natural instinct, not to show weakness because you may lose your order in the group.  A 10 pound cat is equal to a 50 pound dog.  Cats are also more difficult to muzzle and restrain than dogs are because of the shape of their faces.

Dog owners need to have a piece of cloth handy to be used as a muzzle.  It should be at least 6 feet long and about an inch wide.  The belt of an old robe may work.  Felt is a good material because it has a little natural stretch in it.  You do want to muzzle a pet in pain, a pet you are about to move into pain, or a pet that is alert enough to bite.  You don’t want to muzzle a pet it’s vomiting, having a seizure or having problems breathing.  You also don’t want to muzzle a dog that’s having trouble breathing or one you will have to leave unattended.  This link  shows it much better than how I would explain it here.  Scroll down a bit for it.  I’ll have some more information about some things to have in a first aid kit for your pets later this week.

You can always find information about pets, pet events and how we can take care of your dog walking or pet sitting needs at my Fetch! Pet Care website.