According to a recent survey, only 2 percent of pet parents are trained in first aid. Here’s why you should try to sharpen your skills.
Do you have a pet first aid kit at home? Extra food and treats to lure an injured pet that may be hiding? A leash, collar or crate to carry a distressed pet? Do you know how to treat an injury on the way to the vet?

These are the kinds of critical questions you should be asking yourself during National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. A 2021 survey of pet insurance policyholders conducted by MetLife found that while many families have supplies like food and medicine on hand, they don’t know how to respond in an emergency.

In fact, only 2% of policyholders surveyed had taken a pet-specific first aid course. Only 10% had a pet first aid kit. And nearly half (49%) of dog parents and 80% of cat parents said they needed more training.

“This is consistent with what we see and hear every day,” said Katie Blakeley, vice president and director of pet insurance at MetLife. “Most people aren’t really prepared for an emergency with their pet, but the good news is that you can take a few simple steps to be better prepared.”

How to improve your pet first aid preparedness

  • When you think of pet emergencies, don’t just think of medical supplies. Pets in pain don’t react the way they normally do. You can help them by providing items like a muzzle, leash or pet gloves. An emergency supply of treats can also be helpful.
  • Pet first aid classes are a good investment, but there is a lot you can learn at home. The American Veterinary Medical Association offers several online resources on emergency veterinary care. Lessons are also available online, including this lesson on dog CPR from the ACE Academy for Dog Educators.
  • Put it all in one place. Most pet parents claim to have the basics of a pet first aid kit, such as tweezers, antibiotic wipes, etc. But you don’t want to be running around the house looking for supplies in case of an emergency.

“Of course, we all hope we never have to perform CPR or rescue an injured pet,” Blakeley says. “But small emergencies are likely to happen. If you learn pet first aid, you’ll be prepared for situations such as minor scratches at the dog park or treating a cat after a fight with another cat in the neighborhood.”

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