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:  http://breeds.royalcanin.co.uk/health/diseases-of-the-dog/first-aid-procedures

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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Fourth of July: Fireworks (not) for Fido

July 1, 2013 at 1:54 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

It’s almost that time again, when we don our patriotic garb and prepare to celebrate the Independence Day holiday in typical Southern fashion: grilling, picnicking, jamming to great music, swimming with friends and family, and capping it all off with some great fireworks.

However, some members of our family, like our four-legged furry babies, might not enjoy the fireworks as much as the rest of us. The flashes of light and the loud pops and bangs can really set their nerves on edge. Their reactions might range anywhere from mild discomfort, trembling, and wanting to be held to hiding under the bed to stark terror, trying to scratch through the door, dig under, or jump over a fence. I’ve seen small dogs claw their way right up and over a four to six foot fence when stressed. 

When our furry friends are frightened, their fight or flight response kicks in just like ours. They can bolt over a fence or jerk free of a collar or leash in seconds. From there, tragedy can quickly follow, particularly if you are at a fireworks display near a main road or highway. A dog can dash into the street and be hit before a driver realizes anything has happened. 

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Here are a few tips from the ASPCA to keep your dogs safe. 
Keep your pets away from fireworks, candles, grills, lighters, and any other fire source.
Don’t let your pets near alcoholic beverages, as it can be poisonous to pets.
Don’t feed your pets scraps or people food from the cookout. Stick with their normal food. Especially steer clear of onions, chocolate, raisins, grapes, and avocados, which are toxic to pets.  
Don’t put any sunscreen or insect repellent on your pet that isn’t pet-safe. Ingestion can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst, and lethargy.
Don’t leave pets alone around a lake or pool.  Aside from all dogs not being super swimmers, they could also ingest chemicals that could make them sick.

Make sure your pet has a properly sized collar, although many favor a harness at times such as these when they might be prone to pull or jerk from fright. A harness is much more secure, and does not risk choking the pet, plus it is much more difficult for them to slip out of it.  Be sure to have ID tags on your pet, with your phone number, so you can be notified if your pet does get away from you. If you’ve been considering microchipping, but haven’t done it, this is a great time to take care of that. It’s a great way to make sure your pet can always find the way back to you. 

If your pet always exhibits fear or anxiety from fireworks (and possibly storms and other triggers as well), talk to your vet. They might recommend medication to help calm your pet. If you must leave your pet alone, leave them in the house if at all possible, to prevent them going over or under the fence. Another suggestion, according to Dr. Pamela Reid of the ASPCA, is to give your pet a toy stuffed with peanut butter (if there are no dietary restrictions). She says the pet’s nerves are calmed by the persistent licking. 

If you suspect or know that your pet has ingested something poisonous or potentially toxic, call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.  Follow these simple tips, and enjoy the holiday with your furry friends. 

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