Your Dog's First Aid Kit
Always Be Prepared
Keeping a first aid box in your home for your dog is just as important as keeping one for yourself and your family.
If your dog has special needs discuss with your veterinarian any specific items you should keep handy. For example if your dog is diabetic or prone to seizures, special medications and instructions are necessary to have.
General items you should have for any dog cover a variety of possible problems, from bee stings to cuts and wounds.
Some Necessities are:
A styptic pencil or powder is necessary in case your dog tears a toenail that bleeds.
You should have Benadryl for allergic reactions. Even if your dog has never had an allergic reaction to a bee sting or a reaction to a vaccine it's best to be prepared. Your vet can recommend the dosage you'd administer if your dog had such a reaction.
You should also have betadine or a good povidone iodine solution to clean bites or wounds in case your dog is ever entangled with another animal.
Good gauze and water proof tape are also musts.
Pepto or Pepcid AC are both human medicines that are safe for dogs and can help relieve diarrhea or an upset stomach for your canine companion. Constipation can be relieved with a few tablespoons of condensed pumpkin, so it's smart to have at least one can in the house. You can find that in any grocery store where the pie baking products are.
A bottle of eye wash or saline solution is great to have if your dog seems to have gotten something in his eye.
Call Your Veterinarian
Having a first aid kit is not a replacement for veterinary care. If your dog is bleeding, or in anaphylactic shock, you need to seek the help of a veterinary medical professional. However, there is no excuse for being unprepared.
When you call your veterinarian or your animal emergency hospital, let them know what products you have that might help.
There's a big difference between having to call your vet to say, "My dog has been stung by a bee and can't breath!" and in saying, "My dog has been stung by a bee and can't breath! I have Benadryl in my hands. What should I do?"
Often even if your vet wants you to bring your dog immediately for medical attention, your ability to administer on-the-spot help can be life saving.
An Ounce of Prevention...
You also may want to talk to your vet about pain relief for emergency situations. Most dogs can take an aspirin or a baby aspirin, but never Tylenol or other human pain relief products. Often general information doesn't apply to your dog's particular needs. Get the facts for your dog from your vet and get prepared.
If you bring your dog on vacation with you, bring the first aid kit. Even if you bring the dog on a long hike or drive, put the kit in the car with you. It's better to be safe than sorry. You just never know what's going to happen.
Here's an important tip: have a copy of your dog's most recent vaccination record, signed rabies certificate and dog license copied and ready, right there inside of your first aid kit. How many times do you have an emergency close to your own veterinarian within normal office hours? Exactly. Not very often. On the chance that you have an emergency while away from home, or during hours when your veterinarian is not reachable, you will have your dog's records handy to present to the on-call or emergency vet.
Be sure to tell the emergency vet about any medical conditions like thyroid condition or Lyme disease that your dog has, and what medications he's on. Can't remember exactly what meds the dog takes? That's OK, just make sure you write it down and keep it in the first aid kit with the other paperwork.
Be sure that note includes regular preventatives as well, such as heartworm prevention and flea & tick prevention. For example, if you're dog suddenly has very bad diarrhea, it's important that the emergency vet know you're dog is on monthly heartworm prevention as he should be, because with that information the vet can quickly eliminate most ground worms as being the culprit for the dog's illness.
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* All text is original content by Veronica. All photos are either original content by Veronica, or used with permission. All videos are courtesy of Youtube.com
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