Saturday, July 27, 2013

Comprehensive First Aid for Pets Part 1 - Dogs

My dog is a very important member of my family. In  the spirit of being prepared for any potential situation that may arise on my homestead, seeing as how I am going to be quite far from "help" in an emergency, I decided I better have comprehensive emergency supplies for all my animals. I currently own a cat, dog, rabbit, and two guinea pigs. I will add to my menagerie chickens and goats at some point. I believe that as an animal owner I take on the responsibility of making sure they are healthy and seek treatment for them when they are not.

My dog has an addiction to this thing called a Fling It. It is a way to launch a tennis ball much further than the average dog owner can throw it. My dog LOVES to fetch. One day after a particularly active day of running I noticed his paw was bleeding. Somehow he had managed to damage the pad off his foot. It bled quite a bit and I needed to apply medications and bandages to assist him in healing. Luckily I had supplies on hand, but I still needed to research on the internet just how to go about treating him.
This sparked my desire to make sure I had a comprehensive first aid kit/medical kit for all my species of animals. This way I was sure what medications and treatments I could safely apply to each animal.

I will start by including in this post information for Dogs and will do follow-up posts on other animals. I will also be including some resources you may want to look into printing out and ordering for your home.

A dog first aid kit is really similar to a human first aid kit. So let me start by listing out the things I included:

Contact Info Including:
  • Veterinarian's Phone Number
  • After Hours Emergency Number and/or Closest Animal Hospital Number
  • Poison Control Number
  • Medications (Dosages and Frequency)
  • Vaccination Information
  • Medical Records
  • Allergies
  • Pet Insurance Info (If you have a policy)

Kit Contents:
  • First Aid Book For Pets
  • Paper Adhesive Tape (Hypo Allergenic)
  • Gauze Pads (assorted sizes)
  • Gauze Roll
  • Triangular Bandage w/safety pins
  • Cotton Balls
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Towel/Rags
  • Tongue Depressors
  • Finger Splint (acts as SAM splint)
  • Thermal Blanket
  • Instant Ice Pack

  • Gloves
  • Eye Dropper
  • Blunt End Scissors
  • Thermometer (Digital or Anal)
  • Tweezers
  • Magnifying Glass
  • Pen Light/Small Flash Light
  • Clippers
  • Razor
  • Muzzle
  • Leash

  • Canned Pumpkin
  • Epsom Salts
  • Glucose Paste (or syrup)
  • Bactine
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Saline
  • Saline Eye Solution
  • Styptic Powder
  • Antibacterial Soap
  • Antibiotic  Ointment
  • Antihistamine (Benadryl™)
  • Hydrocortisone Cream
For information about what human medications can be used on pets, you can go here to the ASPCA website and see a list with dosage information. 

The majority of items on this list can be purchased at your local dollar store and will store in a plastic container or backpack. Keep an inventory checklist of all the contents so that you know what gets used and needs to be replaced. I organize the medications section by expiration date, not in alphabetical order, so that I can more easily see what meds expired and need replaced. I set a reminder in my calendar program to remind me to check for expired items quarterly, at the same time I inventory and rotate/replace items in all my first aid kits. It is better to have duplicate items (antibiotic ointment in each of the human, dog, cat, rabbit kits, etc.) rather than try to figure out which kit it might be hiding in.

Read through your pet first aid book before stowing the kit away so that in a time of panic you understand how the book is laid out and can find information quickly. You should also go here to the ASPCA to read about how to deal with pets in times of an emergency such as a natural disaster or an evacuation of your area. The ASPCA has a free sticker you can order to indicate how many pets are in your home so that if you have to leave in a hurry without them, others can go and retrieve them, knowing how many they are looking for.

You can go here to a poster produced by the American Red Cross and print out instructions on giving dogs CPR. Print it out full page size so you can easily read it for reference while administering CPR to your dog.

If you have a large animal that you cannot easily lift (dogs over 40lbs), you may want to consider what you would use as a transport to get him/her in and out of a vehicle safely and with as little jostling as possible.

Emergencies are just that, emergencies. We cannot predict them, but we can be as prepared as possible. Preparation can often be the difference between life and death.

Did I miss anything you find important? Feel free to add your input below.