Doggie First Aid: It Really Matters

August 15, 2014 at 11:55 pm (How-to, pugs) (, , , )

As a follow-up to my post about canine heat injuries, I’m sharing some information about how to properly take care of your fur-babyf  You never know what might happen.  But, if the unthinkable happens, and your fur-baby has a minor accident or injury, you’ll be equipped to handle it, even if it’s just to stabilize your pet and get to the vet’s office (or doggie ER, depending on when it happens). 

You can purchase ready-made kits, but they are ridiculously expensive.  You can make your own for a fraction of the cost, especially if you pick up a lot of the supplies at the Dollar Tree (or similar store where everything is $1). So, let’s get started.

First, you need something in which to place everything, preferably with some hint at organization.  If you just toss everything into a bag or pack, you won’t be able to get it quickly when you need it.  My first doggie first aid kit was made from a small tackle box that I picked up from Wal-Mart for less than five bucks.   Now that you have a container, you need to add the equivalent of your pet’s demographic information.  First of all, make sure your pet’s ID, recent photo, microchip info (if applicable), vaccination information , along with your vet’s name and address, is noted prominently.  That way, if you are out somewhere and have an issue, you won’t have to look up the info.  You can drop the info into a baggie and tape it inside the lid. Another option is to use the stick-on document “pouch” that is used by USPS, FedEx, and others to display shipping bills.  

Now, let’s get it stocked. Obviously, how much you can add will depend on the size.  You don’t need a dozen of everything.  Remember, this is just for basics, to take care of the moment, until you can get to the vet.  Start with basic: scissors, tweezers, flashlight/penlight, gloves, eyedropper, bulb syringe or small meat baster (to irrigate wounds), tongue depressor (to examine mouth or use as a splint), nail trimmers, styptic powder (for bleeding), rectal thermometer, disposable razor (safety kind, in case area around a wound needs shaving), brush, towels, emergency thermal blanket (I got one at Dollar Tree), bandanna, hemostat, tick key (for removing ticks), Krazy glue (for small skin lacerations), and anti-bacterial wipes (or  make your own with a bottle of antibacterial liquid and gauze pads).

Next, we’ll add in the mostly disposable supplies that you will want to replace after using them, so your kit stays well-stocked at all times.  You will want the following: sterile gauze pads, roll of gauze, coban (self-adhesive wrap that sticks to itself but not to skin or fur), hot/cold pack,  activated charcoal tablets, Betadine (antiseptic), antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide (for wounds or to induce vomiting), rubbing alcohol (multiple uses, but especially good for cooling the body in instances of heat exhaustion or heatstroke), doggie socks (can use baby socks, used to cover paws for protection or to cover a wound).  Q-tips, sterile saline for eyes (to flush debris from eyes), artificial tears, eye ointment (no steroid), epsom salt (to draw infection and to help itching skin and paws — 1 tsp. in 2 cups warm water), udder cream/bag balm or equivalent (for paw pads).  

Now that you’ve got a great kit put together, you still need to know what to do with all those goodies.  Here is the link for first aid procedures from the Royal Canin’s site:

Familiarize yourself with the basics and you’ll be able to take good care of your fur baby should the need arise.  What else do you need in your dog’s first aid kit? Let us know in the comments below.  

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Too Hot for Spot

July 10, 2014 at 9:34 pm (Current Events, Personal, Pets) (, , , )

Every year when school starts back, there are always stories about kids who have been left in a car or bus and succumbed to heat stroke.  But another  common issue is that of pets that are left in vehicles, often with fatal results.  


What many people don’t realize is that the temperature inside a vehicle can exceed 100ºF in just a few minutes, even in what seems to be pleasant outdoor conditions of 75º.  


Some things you can do if you must take your pet with you include keeping fresh drinking water and a bowl (keep water in a cooler or insulated bag with cold packs) and take your pet with you (on a leash) into pet-friendly stores.  You cannot rely on leaving the air-conditioning on, because it could malfunction and begin blowing hot air or shut off altogether. 

Dogs cannot cool themselves as easily as we do, and they don’t sweat like us.  They release heat by panting and thru their paws.  Their paw pads are sensitive and can burn easily.  If the asphalt and sidewalk are hot to you, they are hot for your pet. Walk them on grass or dirt instead of on the pavement.  


If you’re out and about and see an animal in a hot car, call animal control or 911 and stay until help arrives. Local law enforcement officials can enter the vehicle and rescue the pet. You can also alert store managers at local businesses.




 This graph shows the outside temperature and the corresponding temperature inside a vehicle. As you can see, it only takes a few minutes for the temperature inside the vehicle to reach very dangerous levels. 

Symptoms of heatstroke include excessive panting, vomiting, discoloration of the tongue, rapid heart rate, glazed eyes, dizziness, and lethargy.  If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, gradually lower their temperature by giving them water, placing a cold towel or ice pack on the head, neck, and chest, or immersing them in cool (not cold) water.  Call your veterinarian for further instructions and please take your pet to the vet for follow up care.

If you routinely travel with your pet, it is a good idea to keep a canine first aid kit with you.  Partnership for Animal Welfare has an excellent resource on their website for Canine First Aid Kits and Emergency Treatment, including a list of necessary supplies for you to make your own “Doggie First Aid Kit”. There are also links to ready-made kits that can be purchased. 


There are several flyers available online for free download.  Keep a few of these available with you to place on vehicles while you’re out and help educate others. 


Too Hot for Spot from PETA:


Overheating Kills  from ASPCA:


Hot Car Flyers from Humane Society:

Taking a few minutes to get involved might save a dog’s life. 

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First Aid: Cache Style

May 10, 2013 at 10:03 pm (Geocaching, Productivity) (, , )

Ok folks, it’s springtime!  You know what that means.  Spring cleaning…oh joy…and cache first aid.   For the geocache. First Aid for the human geocachers will be another post. 😉  Yes, it’s time to check on your caches to make sure they fared well through the winter, and to make sure they are ready to be found by a new group of eager geocachers. I’ve already provided a little first aid for some caches I’ve come upon in the past few weeks. They were exhibiting typical signs of post-hibernation wear: spider webs, water damage, mold, ants, torn baggies, full logs, and occasionally a few other unpleasant discoveries.  To combat those little hindrances, I keep a Cache First Aid Kit in my GeoBag. It’s handy for performing those little random acts of geokindness that give one the warm fuzzies, and because it’s just nice to do nice things for others. Karma, and all that. 

Cache 1st Aid

Start with a small bag or container.  Then just add the things you’re most likely to need for performing a little cache first aid or some minor repairs. Some large and small ziplock bags are essential. IBB’s (Itty Bitty Baggies) can be found at craft stores, such as Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, and are great for keeping small logs protected from the elements. Carry several sizes of replacement logs in your bag. These can be found online and printed from several sites. Geocacher University’s site has a page devoted to Downloads and Printables,  where one can print logs for a variety of containers, as well as FTF certificates, stash notes, geocaching brochures, and more. Another good resource is MadCacher. They include links to most sizes as well as options for logs in color or black and white. 

A multi-tool is essential for caching in general, but it also helps for things like prying open rusted containers, getting stuck things unstuck, cutting things to fit, sizing tape, etc. I keep small pencils (grab a couple extra when you play mini-golf) and a knife can be a great pencil sharpener in a pinch. It’s not a great idea to keep ink pens in caches because they don’t fare well with the elements. They dry up or worse, leak or explode on the logs. Mix that with some moisture, and it’s a recipe for disaster, not to mention unreadable and forever ruined log sheets.  So, small pencils work best. It’s quick and easy to sharpen them and return them to their cache. 

Super glue is almost a must these days. It works great for reapplying velcro tape to cache containers and works really fast. I keep a couple strips of velcro for replacements purposes as well, along with a couple of magnets, rubber bands, craft wire (for rehanging containers on branches if their wire has been twisted one time too many), and a black sharpie marker. I also try to keep a couple of small O-rings, in case I come across a cache that has lost it’s “waterproofness” because of a lost or worn out O-ring. A quick replacement fixes it, and keeps the log dry again. 

Duct tape goes without saying. It is the one thing I would have if I didn’t have anything else. Now that it comes in so many colors and patterns, we don’t have to stick with basic grey. I generally have some black 1″ tape along with the standard 3″ camoflauge pattern. Both are great for quick and easy repairs, to cover containers, seal leaks, and can even be twisted to “hang” an item if needed. What would we do without duct tape?  😉   

Once I’ve provided a little love to the cache, I write a note on the cache’s listing page and submit it so the CO (cache owner) will see what was done. Sometimes, there have already been a couple of “needs maintenance” notes submitted, and doing a few little things like replacing a log or an O-ring will save the CO a trip.  That’s really all there is to it. Did I leave anything out that you do for spring cleaning? What other equipment do you keep in your Cache Maintenance kit? Keep on caching!


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