Welcoming a furry new addition to the family is an exciting event. However, in the midst of all the joy, don’t forget to also keep it out of harm’s way – both indoors and out.
Step 1: Pet-Proof Your Home
While pet owners often worry about protecting their living room from damage, furniture can also pose danger to animals. Be sure to trim your cat’s nails regularly to prevent them from getting snagged in sofa upholstery and carpets, while also investing in furniture with fabrics that are tightly woven. Also be sure to throw out all damaged electrical cords and outlets, as inquisitive young dogs have a tendency to chew on everything in sight.
The dining room is a treasure trove of food (and possibly danger) for your pets, especially if care is not taken to place unsuitable edibles out of reach. Ensure that these are in a high area or otherwise locked up safely. Make sure that your trashcan is not easily opened, as dogs especially love to root around garbage for tasty treats. Get a heavy lid or a step-activated bin to prevent mess or even health problems in your pet if garbage is consumed.
Put the toilet lid down when not in use as your dog or cat might wrongly think it is a drinking bowl. Look for open containers that your pet may get trapped in – such as for clothes storage. Do not leave any medicinal items or toiletries out in the open for your pet to accidentally consume, as even common household substances may prove poisonous to animals.
Go down to your pet’s eye level to check for other potential hazards you might have missed out from your vantage point. You might be surprised at the stuff you discover: loose coins, dropped pills or wires all pose a potential threat to your pet’s safety. If pet-proofing your entire house is not feasible, you might just want to place your dogs and cats in a specific pet-friendly area.
Step 2: Equip Yourself with First Aid Knowledge
In an emergency, knowing the right thing to do before the pet ambulance arrives could mean the difference between life and death for your beloved. Learn about these useful first aid tips for these common emergencies or health problems that pets may face.*
To stop external bleeding, apply a gentle compress over the wound, allowing blood to clot. This might take several minutes. Do note that severe bleeding can be life-threatening and that you should get your pet to a vet immediately.
Fractures are a common result of accidents such as jumping down from heights, or falling down stairs. Look out for limbs that are unable to support body weight, swelling or general limp movement. Cats have a high tolerance to pain, and may not show obvious signs.
If you suspect a fracture, the key is to minimise movement in the afflicted part. Wrap the area carefully and gently with soft material such as cloth to give it some support. You might want to put your pet in a box (if it is small in size) as you transport it to the vet.
Choking may be a result of your dog or cat eating a small object and getting it stuck in its throat.
Your pet might have difficulty breathing, possibly gagging or coughing. Other signs include pacing up and down while attempting to paw its mouth.
If your pet seems unable to breathe or cough up the stuck object, try helping it by opening up its mouth and searching for the airway obstruction. Pull its tongue forward and remove the object carefully if possible.
When your pet is hit by a seizure, it might be seen trembling and even falling to the side with its legs in the air. Try not to panic and keep your pet away from any objects, walls or furniture so that it will not injure itself accidentally. However, do not attempt to restrain your pet. Take note of how long the seizure lasts as this might be useful information to a vet.
When the seizure is over, your pet might seem disorientated, be temporarily blind or even paralysed. Speak to your furry friend in a soothing manner after and schedule an appointment to the vet to find the possible causes of a seizure.
*Note that first aid should never be a substitute for professional veterinary care.
Step 3: Look Out for the Great Outdoors
When you have done your best to ensure safety indoors for your precious furry friend, it’s time to let them enjoy the great outdoors with some peace of mind. Bear in mind these simple tips:
1. As pets might be susceptible or allergic to plant-based irritants, make sure that they do not graze on plants or flowers beside the road. Flowers and plants that are commonly known as hazards include: tulips, lilacs, chrysanthemums, lilacs, foxglove and crocus.
2. Keep your pets away from animals in the wild such as bees, snakes and rodents. A playful pet might be tempted to play around with bees, without realising that the bee might cause a painful sting! Make sure your pet is on a leash so that they do not go chasing after critters and possibly get injured or lost.
3. Ensuring your pet’s safety will be easy if you are able to train it well. For example, teach your dog commands like “Sit”, “Come”, or “Stay” to prevent your pet from being distracted by potentially dangerous elements.
4. If you are going to let your pet take a dip in the outdoors (i.e. lakes and ponds), make sure they do not drink the water as it might be potentially contaminated with fertilisers, pesticides, or bacteria. It would be best to give it a shower soon after to rid it of potentially harmful residue.
5. In Singapore’s hot weather, it is important to protect your pet from the heat in order to prevent conditions such as heat stroke. Keep your pet well hydrated and in the shade as much as possible. Also, try to keep your pet indoors during hours where the sun is exceptionally hot – for example, between ten in the morning to four in the afternoon.
Feel free to discuss other tips by commenting below.
Read more on our latest issue of clubpets on Booktique Magazine.
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