While many people are gearing up for Halloween this time of year, October is also known as National Animal Safety and Protection Month and is a time when veterinarians and others who work with or around animals take time to raise awareness about animal safety.
On the companion animal side, for example, one expert suggests preparing a well-stocked first-aid kit for dogs, cats and other household pets. Having a pet first-aid kit in your house, he says, can help you spring into action quickly if your pet becomes injured or sick. Some items to include are:
- Dog/cat first-aid book
- Gauze sponges in various sizes
- Gauze cotton rolls of various widths
- Self-adhering wrap
- Disposable gloves
- Baking soda
- Sterile saline eye wash
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Antibiotic ointment
- Styptic powder (stops bleeding from broken nails)
- Tweezers/wire cutters/needle-nose pliers
- And more
Supplies should be kept in a sturdy box such as a tackle box, and expiration dates on supplies should be routinely checked so your first-aid kit is always up-to-date and ready for use. In addition, keep a list of telephone numbers to your veterinarian, including after hours and emergency numbers, pharmacy, and Animal Poison Control: 888-420-4435.
It is also important to “pet proof” your home by keep medications, chemicals, and anything potentially harmful out of reach and out of sight. October is also a great time to also learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to do the Heimlich maneuver on your pet.
If you are an animal trainer or work around large animals or livestock, October is also a good time to brush up on important safe handling practices. According to another article, it’s important to remember that large animals can be very unpredictable and although you may feel comfortable because you have worked with them for a long time, it’s important to always use extreme caution.
According to the article, some of the reasons why animal-related accidents occur include:
- Animals are injured, sick or stressed by the heat
- Animals become frightened or startled
- Workers are overtired, in a hurry or distracted
- Animals have been hit, neglected or otherwise abused in the past
- Lighting is uneven or poor
- Animal handling facilities are cluttered or overcrowded
To help limit these kinds of accidents, remember the following:
- Male animals can be very dangerous. Stay away from them unless you have been specially trained.
- Be extra cautious around newborn animals. Their mothers are likely to be very protective.
- Swine, beef and dairy cattle have poor depth perception, which means they have trouble judging distances.
- Most animals are colorblind, but have very sensitive hearing. They can easily be startled by loud noises and by quick color shade changes.
- Cattle and horses cannot see what is directly behind them so sudden movements are likely to frighten them.
- Animals are “territorial” and are generally very comfortable in their pens or other areas where they spend most of their time. Forcing them to leave these areas disturbs them.
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Neogen’s Animal Safety Division manufactures and markets various animal care products including rodenticides and pharmaceuticals, vaccines, topicals, disinfectants, and diagnostic products. For more information, click here.