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BASIC FIRST AID AT HOME: PREPARING A FIRST AID KIT

Dogs, like people, can become injured in emergencies and contract illnesses that need to be treated: You should always consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any first aid, but having some basic supplies on hand can save you a trip for minor problems.

Commercial Vs. Homemade Kits

There are several commercially made pet first aid kits on the market; the advantage to these is that you don’t have to spend time searching for individual items and everything comes together in a nice-looking container. One of the problems is that these kits are often generic for all pets -- The least expensive (not surprisingly) contain the fewest supplies and may not have what you need in an emergency. If you choose to put together your own kit you can create one specific to your dog’s needs and include as many supplies as you like. The list below contains suggestions: Many of the supplies you may already have on hand; humans and other pets can use most items as well.

Assembling Your Dog First Aid Kit

Plastic or thermal lunch boxes, new or used, make good and inexpensive containers for first aid kits. For added protection, store first aid products in sealable plastic bags inside the box: Keep a dog first aid book near the kit.

At the same time you are putting your kit together, place these important numbers next to your phone:

  • Your dog’s personal veterinarian's office and emergency phones and/or pager number(s).
  • The National Animal Poison Control Center's 24 hour Poison Hotline -- There is a $30 charge for each call and they can be reached at any of the following three numbers.

(800) 548-2423.
(888) 4-ANIHELP.
(900) 680-0000.

When you call, be prepared to provide the following information about your dog:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Sex
  • Breed
  • The condition and/or symptoms your dog is experiencing

First Aid Kit Contents For Dogs

  • Antibiotic ointment for minor cuts or scrapes.
  • Anti-fungal spray for control of ringworm, itching or other fungus problems.
  • Anti-itch spray for relief of itching, dermatitis and abrasions.
  • Artificial tear gel.
  • Bandages -- Purchase an assortment of gauze and stretch bandages, and large and small gauze pads to cover wounds.
  • Bitter Apple Spray: Its bitter taste keeps your dog from licking her wounds.
  • Cotton balls and swabs for applying just about everything.
  • Ear wipes for wax and ear discharges.
  • Eye wipes to clean eye discharge.
  • First aid lotion.
  • Flea & tick shampoo for flea control.
  • Grease-cutting dishwashing detergent (mild) for cleaning wounds.
  • Hydrogen peroxide solution (3%): This is the most versatile item in your pet first aid kit. If you have one only thing available for pet emergencies make it hydrogen peroxide: It can be used to clean wounds and ears, and to induce vomiting. Check with your veterinarian for specifics on these procedures.
  • Iodine for wounds.
  • Latex gloves for your own protection.
  • Milk of magnesia -- as an acid neutralizer.
  • Saline solution -- to flush eyes.
  • Sanitary wipes for cleaning wounds and yourself.
  • Sterile eye ointment.
  • Styptic powder to stop bleeding on nail tips.
  • Large Syringe (no needle) for flushing wounds or administering medicine.
  • Small nail scissors.
  • Tick release ointment.
  • Tweezers.

Additional Items To Consider Or Keep Nearby

  • Towels (for restraint)
  • Rectal thermometer
  • Vaseline
  • Bulb syringe
  • Penlight
  • Can of soft dog food
  • Pet carrier
  • Syrup of Ipecac (to induce vomiting)
  • Activated charcoal tablets (for poison absorption)
  • Thermal pack
  • Tourniquet

Storage

Your dog’s first aid kit should be kept in a cool, dry place where you have easy access to it, such as an interior closet -- Many people keep medications and first aid supplies (even for humans) in bathrooms, but because of moisture from baths and showers this is not an ideal location.

Normal Values For A Dog:

  • Temperature: 99.5 - 102.5F
  • Pulse rate: 60 - 120 bpm
  • Respiration: 14 - 22 respirations per minute.

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