Life with dogs is full of joy and adventure!
When I think about the experience of having a dog, an idyllic picture forms in my mind.
I see myself walking along an empty seashore, with my best friend following me quietly. Suddenly, he playfully leaps towards the water to make his paws wet and gives a sound bark: it is an invitation. My face melts into a smile. I have nowhere to rush and the weather is wonderful. Why not play? I start chasing my dog. Now he is merrily trotting along the water line, making salty splashes…
If someone was observing from the side, they would have an impression that they are watching a cheesy pet products ad. You know, that type where you obviously live in California and your dog never gets muddy. You are one purchase away from living a dream! (I am giggling while writing this.)
So, what could possibly go wrong while I am spending time with my dog on a beach? Nothing. And something.
For example, my dog could cut his paw with a broken seashell. I wouldn’t know about that on the spot, but when we arrive home I would notice light blood stains on the floor. What do I do in this situation apart from stay calm and not overreact?
First, I should examine my dog’s paws and understand which one is bleeding. It is important to assess the cut and bleeding intensity. Secondly, I can take action.
The blood is light and flowing slowly, so I decide to sterilize the cut first, then remove any sand left (in this case) and tape a gauze pad before I call the vet.
Remember, even small wounds can get infected and potentially cause a blood infection. It is important to get wounds cleaned out professionally and ensure they don’t need stitches or preventative antibiotics.
From this example, it is clear that every dog owner should have a dog first aid kit. It will allow to avoid confusion and keep all the necessities in one place. You can purchase a ready kit or assemble it yourself, according to your choice.
Your Home Dog First Aid Kit:
- A simple reference guide to canine first aid and accident management is a great place to start, as this will provide you with an at a glance guide to most of the minor problems and accidents that you might face.
- Alongside of the book, keep a list of the phone numbers and contact details for your local vets: both the vet that your dog is registered with and, if possible, the details for an alternative practice, just in case.
- You may also wish to keep your pet’s veterinary records and vaccination papers in your first aid kit as well. It can be helpful to keep everything together and ensure that if you need to grab the kit in a hurry to accompany your dog to your own vet or a new practice, all of their health data and vaccination history is to hand as well.
- Keep several pairs of latex gloves (or latex-free for allergy sufferers, either canine or human) within easy reach in your kit.
- A pair of blunt, rounded end scissors for cutting dressings and bandages is essential.
- A tick twister tool is useful to have, to quickly remove any ticks that your dog might acquire when out walking.
- A pair of slanted-edge tweezers are handy for many reasons, including removing splinters and thorns.
- A packet of cotton wool balls is always handy, although these can shed fibers so should not be used for dressing wounds.
- A roll of gauze and some gauze-covered pads are essential, to dress wounds and apply dressings with.
- A gentle but effective dog-safe skin disinfectant and cleanser should be near to the top of your kit for cleaning wounds.
- A direct wound spray is also handy for cleaning and disinfecting small cuts and grazes.
- A tube of antihistamine to treat any stings, bites or allergic reactions of the skin.
- A large bore sterile syringe (without a needle) is handy to keep, in order to enable flushing or irrigating wounds or eyes.
- A bottle of a good quality antibacterial skin wash such as Chlorohexidine is important, both for washing wounds and cleansing your own hands before and after touching any wounds.
- Antibacterial wipes can also come in handy.
- A rectal thermometer is important in order to be able to take your dog’s temperature, and it is handy to keep with the thermometer a note showing the normal healthy parameters of the dog’s temperature.
- A jar of Vaseline or petroleum jelly in order to comfortably use the thermometer on your dog.
- A small jar of honey (the type of size that is often provided with breakfast in hotels and restaurants) in case of any blood-sugar emergencies. Honey is preferable to raw or refined sugar, as it is more easily digestible and gets to work faster.
- A pot of styptic powder, a special powder that reduces bleeding and promotes clotting. This can be useful to stem the flow of bleeding if your dog damages a claw, as claws often bleed profusely when injured.
- A range of bandages, wound dressings and pads that can be used to stem the flow of blood from wounds while you seek veterinary help.
- A muzzle that fits your specific dog. Many dog owners will immediately discount this suggestion due to their dog’s usually good-natured temperament, but a hurt, frightened dog that is in pain may well lash out or bite, even when faced with someone trying to help them.
- Pocket torch for easier inspection of ears, eyes and mouth.
I took this list from Pets4Home as it is really comprehensive and I couldn’t write it better myself. Especially I like their advice to have some cash emergency funds. (It brings me to a conclusion that I should write an article about a dog health fund and how to create it.)
Make sure you keep your kit accessible in an easy location in your house.
It also makes sense to keep one in your car, additionally equipping it with a towel, a warm blanket and a spare lead.
Dog first aid kit is exceptionally useful for every dog owner. It helps you stay calm and act effectively instead of desperately looking for things you need. Take time and arrange one yourself or buy one pre-packed. If you decide to do it yourself, buy all the necessary stuff and then find a box or a bag to accommodate it all. Check your kit regularly to make sure nothing has expired.
What extra items do you keep in your kit? Or maybe you think it is not essential to have one? Feel free to leave a comment!
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Also, if you like the topic of dogs, please check the book ‘Before You Get A Dog’ by Simone Burani. You will find the essential knowledge written in simple language to have a great time with your pet.