First aid kit

April 12, 2012

Just as with humans, having the capability to administer first aid can mean the recovery and survival of the pet dog. A pet owner can never be careful. Accidents do happen and when it does the owner should be able to administer the necessary medical care that can get the dog through the pain and danger. As the owner is the first line of care, a well stocked first aid kit is necessary.

The very first thing a responsible owner has to do after getting a pet is to build a first aid kit. Needless to say, an extremely serious medical situation would necessitate for the dog to be rushed to a vet as soon as possible. However, there are instances when this can not be done. Knowing what to do and having the resources to accomplish the first aid remedies can save the life of the dog. Dog injuries would need different treatments. Some would need professional care while minor and non-serious injuries can be taken cared of by the owner.

A dog first aid kit can be purchased. Pet shops carry a wide selection of these first aid kits. If you don’t want these ready made first aid kits you can assemble one yourself. A first aid kit for your beloved pet dog is really quite easy to assemble. With your dog first aid kit you should be able to manage an incident that can be life threatening.

To assemble a first aid kit you would need to have a suitable container. A fishing tackle-type box or any waterproof container will do. Most first aid boxes are painted white with a red cross. If this is not possible, mark the container “First Aid” on all sides with a permanent marker. A card with your name, telephone numbers and address, the name and contact numbers of your vet and the nearest veterinary hospital should be securely taped on the inside lid of the box cover. Your name and contact numbers are most necessary if you and your dog are both incapacitated.

Here are the items that should be included in your dog first aid kit:
Blunt tipped scissors to cut tape, bandages and also a trimmer to trim hair away from the injured body part. Instead of scissors a safety razor can also be used to remove the fur around a wound. Tweezers and sterile needles will be used to remove splinters. A syringe without a needle will be use to administer oral medicine. A bulb syringe will be used to flush wounds and to force feed the injured dog.

Strips of clean cloth, bandannas and nylon stockings can be used as makeshift muzzle as well as to tie and secure bandages. Injured and hurting dogs need to be muzzled as they have the tendency to bite. A nylon stocking is an effective makeshift muzzle if a purchased muzzle is not available. Gauze pad, cotton balls and bandages to cover wounds and to be used in applying pressure to the wound to stem the flow of blood. Adhesive tapes of varying widths would be necessary. A Vet wrap is more advisable as it would stick to the tape and not to the fur of the dog. A canine rectal thermometer should be included to take the temperature of the pet. The electronic type is more efficient as it beeps when the dog’s temperature is already registered.

Hydrogen peroxide and activated charcoal tablets will be used if the dog has ingested poisonous substances. Hydrogen peroxide will induce vomiting and activated charcoal tablets will absorb the ingested toxins. Hydrogen peroxide will also be used to clean infected wounds. Betadine solution and antiseptic ointments will prevent infection. Rubbing alcohol is a must. It is a body cooling agent that is effective to reduce fever and the effects of heat stroke. Alcohol is an effective drying agent when applied between the toes and skin folds of the dog. Alcohol however is not a suitable antiseptic, one that should not be applied on wounds.

Other medicinal supplies would be sterile saline solution to wash cuts and abrasions. An eye solution will flush out imbedded contaminants in the eyes of the dog. Artificial tear gel will be used to lubricate the eyes of the dog after the contaminants are flushed out. Epsom salt, baking soda and styptic powder are used to sooth itchy, irritated and bleeding skin and dog paws.

Include in your first aid kit other medicinal supplies like canine aspirin, antidiarrheal medication like Pet Pectate, Diphenhydramine, in case the dog will suffer from allergic reactions; Milk of Magnesia for the dog’s upset stomach. Do not forget to include a gentle sedative for your pet like the Rescue Remedy. These sedatives are easily available from health food shops and from your friendly pet supplies store. Rescue remedy is an essence that can effectively reduce stress, fatigue and irritation.

Nutritional support for the dog will be needed too. Include in your kit a bottle or two of rehydrating solution like Gatorade or Pedialyte. Injured dogs would commonly shun food. Nutri-Cal, Nutristat and Vitacal are nutritional supplements that would be most needed by an injured dog. The same goes with Karo syrup that is known to be a good source of sugar.

If the dog will be taken on a trip, other items have to be added to the first aid kit. Towels and blankets would keep an injured dog warm. These items will also double up as makeshift stretcher is a stiff board of a plank of plywood is not available. Also bring in your car, extra leash, muzzle and liquid ice that will be most effective to treat sprains, swelling and bruising.

Nothing beats being prepared for any eventuality. Emergencies and accident do happen. A well stocked first aid kit and sufficient first aid knowledge will at least lessen the stress not only of the dog but also of the human family. Be sure though that all the medications are kept up to date. You can do this by periodically checking the expiry date of the medications and replacing expired medications. Check the first aid kit from time to time and replenish used supplies too.

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