Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dog First Aid Checklist

So as I'm researching/prepping for/obsessing over the arrival of my new puppy, I keep coming to the following question:
Do you have an emergency plan?
It doesn't help that Hurricane Sandy is knocking on my door as I write this! And unfortunately, my answer is only "sort of." It's been years since we were hit with a big storm (knock on wood!) so my hurricane kit could probably use some updating. We rotated the food and batteries last spring, but should stockpile more water. I know we need to restock our first aid kit (it's been cannibalized over the years). Although I have extra pet food, I don't have a first aid kit for the dogs! I looked online and found several pet first aid kits I can order, but the prices vary greatly, and I couldn't figure out which one I should buy. I wasn't sure exactly what's in each kit, and I didn't know what's essential versus what's just nice to have. After a couple hours of frustrated surfing, I asked myself, "Self, do you think you can make your own kit?" The answer was yes! I searched and searched and have compiled what I believe to be a comprehensive Dog First Aid Checklist. I will need:

  • A sturdy box - to hold all of the supplies. The box must be easy to carry and pack, and is able to hold the complete kit. And I want it red.
  • A muzzle - because even loving, well-trained animals may bite when injured or afraid.
  • Tweezers - to remove splinters, or other foreign materials from wounds.
  • Scissors - for cutting out things matted in fur or freeing pets from entanglements.
  • Saline Solution - to clean out wounds and flush the eyes.
  • Thermometer and small jar of Vaseline - to check temperature. The normal temperature for dogs is between 100.0 – 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Tape - 1" white medical tape is easy to tear off and holds well.
  • Roll Gauze - is used for bandaging, an aid to stop bleeding, and padding for splints.
  • Telfa pads - are non-stick dressings for bandaging a wound.
  • Vet Wrap - is used over a telfa pad or roll gauze. It clings to itself and is semi-watertight. Caution: do not wrap this too tight.
  •  QuikClot or something similar - to stop bleeding (wounds).
  • Antiseptic wash or wipes - I need to look for non-stinging preparations such as chlorhexidine or betadine. Rubbing alcohol is not good for open sores or wounds.
  • Antibiotic ointment - Look for an over-the-counter "general purpose" antibiotic ointment for light use with minor skin wounds.
  • Toenail trimmer and styptic pencil for torn toenails.
  •  Hydrogen Peroxide and a plastic syringe - Hydrogen peroxide is an emetic which induces vomiting. Only use this emetic when warranted, such as if a veterinarian or poison control center says to immediately administer it. Dogs should receive 5 – 25 cc of hydrogen peroxide (orally) for every 10 pounds of weight. If vomiting does not occur in 15 minutes repeat the dose.
  • Small flashlight - can be used to check for any injuries within the mouth or any objects or materials that could be blocking respiration in the upper part of the throat.
  • Vet-prescribed pain relief (NSAID) - I need to speak to my vet about obtaining some as-needed pain relievers for the first aid kit.
  • Diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl) - used for stings and allergic reactions.
  • Cold Packs - can be stowed in an emergency kit and will change temperature when broken or shaken. Can be used to cool down skin after a burn or in case of heatstroke. Remember: always use a cloth between the pack and skin and check frequently for redness or irritation.
  • Emergency Heat Blanket - should be used if an animal’s temperature is decreasing due to shock or exposure.
  • Sterile Latex Gloves
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • A list of phone numbers - which includes my regular vet, the emergency vet, animal control, and animal poison control numbers.
  • Pet First Aid book*
How about you? Do you feel the need to make your own pet first aid kit now too? Can you think of anything I have missed?
* I have a really nice Pet First Aid book (pictured above) that I got about 8 years ago. The American Red Cross taught a Pet First Aid class and the book was included in the price of the course. It was a great class. If you ever get a chance to take Pet First Aid class, do it! It was worth the money. I've contacted the American Red Cross several times over the past 5 years hoping to retake the class, but they have stopped offering it at our local chapter. If anyone knows of a Pet First Aid class offered within a 2-3 hour radius of Jacksonville, please let me know! Thanks, and stay safe. -- K

P.S. Just after I posted, I was sent a related link about Dog Emergency & Disaster Preparedness. Check it out!

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