Imagine you’re out for a leisurely hike when you suddenly discover that your canine co-pilot has a massive gash on his leg. What do you do?

If your dog was choking, would you know how to save him?

These aren’t necessarily things that everyone thinks about; I certainly never did until I took a pet first aid class and learned all the important skills to keep my dog alive until I could get it to veterinary care. It’s easy to think that since you’ve never had a serious medical incident to deal with, that you’ll never have to.  But this is a dangerous and irresponsible assumption. The reality is that preventable accidents are the leading cause of deaths in pre-senior dogs.  

I implore all of you to go out and educate yourselves about proper First Aid for your dog. Not only is it a valuable and empowering skill to have – you might just save an dog’s life.

For best results, you’ll want to be armed not only with the basic knowledge of what to do, but also with a well-stocked Pet First Aid Kit.

Here is what you should have in a basic pet first aid kit for cats and dogs (What You Should Have in Your Pet’s First- Aid Kit, www.humanesociety.org, Feb 7,2014):

  • ·      Pet first-aid book
  • ·      Paperwork for your pet (vaccination records, etc)
  • ·      Nylon Leash
  • ·      Self Cling Bandages
  • ·      Muzzle or cloth strip
  • ·      Absorbent gauze pads
  • ·      Adhesive tape
  • ·      Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder, or spray
  • ·      Blanket (a foil emergency blanket)
  • ·      Cotton balls or swabs
  • ·      Gauze rolls
  • ·      Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
  • ·      Ice pack
  • ·      Non-latex disposable gloves
  • ·      Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)
  • ·      Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
  • ·      Scissors (with blunt ends)800px-First_aid_bag
  • ·      Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
  • ·      Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies)
  • ·      Tweezers
  • ·      A pillowcase to confine your cat for treatment
  • ·      A pet carrier
  • ·      Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), if approved by a veterinarian for allergic reactions. A veterinarian must tell you the correct dosage for your pet’s size.
  • ·      Ear-cleaning solution
  • ·      Expired credit card or sample credit card (from direct-mail credit-card offers) to scrape away insect stingers
  • ·      Glucose paste or corn syrup (for diabetic dogs or those with low blood sugar)
  • ·      Nail clippers
  • ·      Non-prescription antibiotic ointment
  • ·      Penlight or flashlight
  • ·      Plastic eyedropper or syringe
  • ·      Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) to clean the thermometer
  • ·      Splints and tongue depressors
  • ·      Styptic powder or pencil (sold at veterinary hospitals, pet-supply stores, and your local pharmacy)
  • ·      Temporary identification tag (to put your local contact information on your pet’s collar when you travel
  • ·     Towels
  • ·      Needle-nosed pliers

If you are interested in taking pet first aid classes here are some useful links:

www.pettech.net

www.redcross.org – Wilderness, Sports and Pets

 Stay safe and have fun with your dogs this summer!