How to Approach Treating Injuries to Your Pet in the Field

How to Approach Treating Injuries to Your Pet in the Field


Sponsored Links

Dogs and cats are particularly susceptible to getting injured during emergency situations.  The good news is treating pets involves many techniques we use on our fellow humans as well.  However, there are some things to consider before rendering aid to your sick or injured pet if you can’t get to a vet right away.


Avoid Bites and Scratches
Pets, even the most well-behaved and lovable, can turn ferocious if they are sick, in pain or scared.  It is very important that you take precautions in order to avoid getting bitten or scratched.  This is true when placing them on a table to set a fracture or simply picking them up to assess their injuries.  My cat fell from a four story window and somehow managed to survive once he limped his way home a few days later.

He pretty much recovered on his own, but there was apparently a sore spot on his leg that I didn’t know about until I picked him up and accidentally touched it.  This caused him to freak out in pain and then start biting and scratching me until I was bleeding from a number of different locations.  It went from a peaceful pet session to a wild attack in a matter of seconds, and I think it took longer for me to recover from the gouges and scratches all over my body than it did for him to get fully back on his feet.

The lesson learned is to protect yourself and make sure that the animal is properly secured before assessing injuries.  You should also make sure that you thoroughly assess for injuries that are not visible in order to avoid unpleasant surprises such as the one I received from my cat.

Some ways to immobilize pets include attaching those familiar cones around a dog’s neck to prevent them from turning and biting.  A muzzle is also highly effective to prevent biting as well.  Cats are a little bit more tricky due to their claws and teeth.  The best thing to do is try to cover their claws with some thick material or small socks.  It’s also easy to avoid getting bitten by a cat by having someone help to hold it down while you assess for injuries.

Keep in mind that there is no single, perfect way to make yourself as safe as possible, so these examples are just a couple of many that you can try.  Assess the situation and come up with a solution that will work best, but always remember to keep your guard up and never take anything for granted because getting bitten will occur when you least expect it to happen.

Boy with his dog against the blue sky.

Reassure the Animal
We all know that dogs and cats have feelings and can sense pain.  They also pick up on our emotions and behavior.  A little bit of TLC can be all that you need to get the pet to calm down and relax enough to assess and then treat their injuries.  Don’t rush into anything.  Unless they are critically-injured, you can afford to wait until they calm down enough to make managing the situation more tolerable.

If they sense panic or worry in your behavior, pets will tend to follow suit.  Make an effort to calm them, pet them and get them focused on something other than the injury.  Keep in mind that if you try to manhandle the pet, quickly restrain it or freak out as you try to assess the situation, the struggle and force can lead to further injury as well.  Tread carefully, and things will go a lot easier for you and the pet.


Rendering Aid
Treatment options for cats, dogs and most other mammals that we keep for pets or livestock tend to require similar treatments that us humans need.  Cleaning and bandaging wounds, immobilizing fractures and sprains and preventing infections are common.  The only difference is that most people bring their pets to a vet, even if they only have a minor injury, instead of providing home remedies like the would for a child or family member.

Consider obtaining some information about pet first aid.  There is an abundance of resources and guides out there that can help you to know exactly what to do when rendering aid that ranges from CPR to applying a tourniquet.  Becoming at least marginally-familiar with pet first aid can pay big dividends if you are ever in a situation where they need medical attention and there are no vets around.

Finally, even if you are just “winging it” in terms of providing first aid to your pet in the field or at home, make sure that you consider hygiene as a top priority.  Use clean material, make sure to apply antiseptic to wound sites and change dressings and bandages regularly.

In a nutshell, treat your pet as you would your child or other victim that needs a lot of TLC, reassurance and comfort.  However, the importance of taking steps to prevent getting bitten or scratched can not be underscored enough.  Take some time to explore this topic on your own.  You can learn valuable skills and become better prepared to treat your pet in an emergency if other options are not available.

Sponsored Links