By Garima Kaushal

Welcoming a new member of the family is no less of a celebration than a birthday or anniversary. This new member is increasingly becoming a four-legged furry baby, especially with Gen Z and Millennials in metros. That’s a change no one is complaining about. And why must one? All you get with a pet in the house is unconditional love, unparalleled companionship, and unwavering loyalty. Since the pandemic, the growth of pet adoption in India has risen. In fact, the CAGR is said to be at 19.2% and is expected to be estimated at Rs 21,000 Cr over the next decade as suggested by a Market Decipher report. Clearly, the rise in pet adoption is happening in tandem with the expansion of the pet-care industry. Despite many facilities and ease of availability, newer pet parents often are saddled with a haul of questions, confusion, and worries. But before one starts opening the Pandora’s box of questions, let’s get to the basics.

Having a pet at home is, by all means, a delight. However, if you are planning on bringing one home or are already a pet parent, check your first-aid kit. From insurance to liquid cash, we do a lot to save ourselves some trouble for the times when things go south. This is why a first-aid kit is considered essential in all places, including our houses, cars, schools, and even workplaces. Should someone hurt themselves, immediate care can be given to the wound before we reach the hospital. When pets are increasingly becoming a member of the family, why not ensure your first-aid kit has what it needs to take care of your furry friend? Because problems do not knock on the door before crashing in. That being said, a well-prepared first-aid kit does not substitute for a veterinarian’s care. All that the kit will do is make the journey to the vet easier for you and your pet.

Do what you already know

You may wonder, how does one go about preparing a first-aid kit for furry pets? The answer is simple! Begin with the essentials and work your way up to include medication or special needs that are unique to your pet. Essentials are varied. But you can start with a sanitiser (We come out of the pandemic learning about hygiene and safety, don’t we?) The next step in maintaining hygiene calls for some non-latex and disposable gloves, along with cotton balls, gauze rolls, bandage rolls, q-tips, and medical-grade tape to secure them. These are part of all first-aid kits.

Make it furry-friendly

Let’s move on to the next step: the furry essential tools. Keep an additional pair of tweezers here. It may come in handy when you have to pick out ticks or splinters. A rectal thermometer is another important tool that will help you identify if your four-legged baby is alright or catching a cold or fever. PS: Advanced Monitor Corporation says your pet’s ideal body temperature is between 37-39º Celsius. Anything lower or higher than that is a cause of concern and you must take your doggo to the vet. With these in your kit, you should be ready for moderate mishaps.

Pet-proof it like a pro

For really unpredictable times, keep an instant ice pack. When in discomfort, this will help ease the pain. A set of antiseptic wipes and styptic powder are what you will need to wipe the wound and stop the bleeding. Add a saline flush or a plastic syringe. It is useful for times when you have to wash a wound or eyes, or even administer medication.

Let’s talk meds

If your pet uses any medication, be sure to pack an extra dosage in a compartmentalised pill container. This is also a great addition for the times you have to travel with your pet or have to leave them with someone else until you come back. Apart from the usual, keep antacids, antibiotic spray, and ointment handy. Additionally, hydrogen peroxide and Benadryl may be helpful when you need to act quickly. However, never administer these to your pet before you confirm the dosage with your vet. Lastly, a soft muzzle for the times when your furry baby gets agitated or anxious in times of distress.

Go a step beyond keeping a first-aid kit

Timely visits to the doctor not only help keep your health in check but also your pet’s. This practice will also guarantee what needs to be in your pet’s first-aid kit and what can be skipped. Another thing that you can do to take care of and prevent any mishaps with your furry baby is to pet-proof the house. This could begin with eliminating products with harmful chemicals and things that are toxic to your dog’s health or keeping them in closed cabinets, beyond their reach. Part of pet-proofing the house is also training your furry baby to know what places are off-limits. To make them feel more at home, assign them their things. Like humans, pets enjoy a little me-time too. A crate or a tiny room for entrance big enough for them to enter and exit may be all they need to return to you with renewed energy.

As a new pet parent, the world of pet parenting may seem exhausting and overwhelming at times. That’s completely valid and understandable. It’s times like these when the only thing that can truly help is having a community of pet parents that have been through what you are going through and can guide you out of difficult situations with ease. Luckily, finding one isn’t all that difficult now.

Author is Co-founder, Sploot

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