I recently downloaded an episode of the NPR broadcast, This American Life, called Animal Sacrifice. The first act is hard to listen to, discussing the use of dogs in war, but the second act presents one of the more balanced stories about butchery and the choice to eat meat that I’ve heard.
Earlier this week, some friends and I went camping in the Crazy Mountains. There was a 3:5 ratio of canines to humans (unusually low for our group of friend) – still, we managed to talk about our pets for around 75% of the time. One of the topics covered? Our need for canine first aid kit. I decided to reference the list that Dr. Gustafson and I had compiled a year ago when we considered creating our own for the clinic.
The list below should provide you with a starting point for putting together your own first aid kit.
I’d also recommend visiting with your veterinarian about how to use each of the items below at your next wellness visit.
1. A Thermometer
A healthy dog’s body temperature is between 100°F and 102.5°F ( 38°C to 39.2°C). Don’t forget, temperature is taken rectally!
3. Blunt-end Scissors
For trimming hair away from wounds, and cutting wraps.
4. Triple Antibiotic Ointment
The same stuff you use on yourself!
5. Sterile Saline Solution
For irrigating eyes and wounds. NOT contact solution or other eye drops.
6. Electrolyte Tablets (Canine Specific)
7. A 10cc Syringe
For irrigating wounds
8. Alcohol Wipes
For cleaning wounds. Steal ’em from your own first aid kit.
9. Hydrogen Peroxide
Make sure to store in a light-proof container. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to induce vomiting, but this should only be performed with the direction of your veterinarian. Can also be used to clean wounds.
10. Sterile Gauze Pads
11. 4″ Cotton Roll
12. 2″ & 4″ Vetwrap
Any self-adhesive works. Be sure not to wrap too tight, and to remove immediately if swelling occurs on either side of the wrap.
13. First Aid for the Active Dog, by Sid Gustafson, DVM
14. The numbers of your veterinarian, the nearest emergency vet, as well as a list of any medications that your dog takes.
In addition to the items above, talk with your veterinarian about including:
13. 81mg Enteric-coated Aspirin
Or another fever-reducer/NSAID more appropriate for your dog.
For a great article about assessing the seriousness of your dogs condition, check out Examining Your Dog: Determining the Seriousness of Injury and Illness, an article by Dr. Gustafson.
Any additions or experiences compiling your own canine first aid kit? Share in the comments!
Summer has reached it’s peak here in Montana, with temperatures in the 90s, even up here at 5500 feet! We took a trip to Missoula this past weekend, and despite the high temperatures and the action campaigns by every animal care/advocacy group I know of, I STILL saw dogs left in cars in the broad sunlight.
One of the great things about living in a place where people are so connected with their animals is that people tend to want to take their animals with them everywhere. Lucky dogs get taken on hikes, vacations, to float the river, or maybe they just come to town for a quick trip to the groomer, or a wellness visit at the vet. Unfortunately, that also means that our canine companions might suffer if we feel we the need to multi-task, running into the grocery store to grab some last minute grub to grill.
There’s just no reason to take the risk of leaving your dog in the car. To help us understand why, Dr. Ernie Ward recently posted this video about what it’s like to be locked in a vehicle for 30 minutes with the windows cracked.
If you’re skeptical, I suggest you subject yourself to the same conditions you expect your dog to endure, much like Dr. Ward did. If you need to find a fur coat, check your local thrift shop.
Alternatives to leaving your dog in the car while you run in:
– Train your dog to tie, then tie them outside in the shade (bonus points for providing water)!
– Ask if leashed pets are welcome inside! (Not likely for food/eating establishments, but worth a try everywhere else.
– Get a friend to walk them outside!
– Skip the errand, take your pet home, and come back later.
Other ways to help prevent heatstroke in pets:
– If you’re a shop owner, consider posting a sign that says “leashed pets welcome!” Increased business, free pets, and it feels good to know that you’re keeping pets cool.
– If you see a pet locked in a car, call the non-emergency number for your local police. I recently checked with my local police department to see if this was correct protocol, and they confirmed. This goes for children as well. Do not feel guilty about making the call – animals die of heatstroke in cars daily.
– Not willing to make a call? Print out the file below, cut it in half, and carry it with you to place under the windshield wipers of cars with dogs inside. If you choose this option, I suggest monitoring the vehicle until the owner returns to make sure that the situation doesn’t become serious.
If you decide to remove the dog from the vehicle because it is visibly distressed, make sure that you have witnesses that can confirm that you weren’t trying to steal their leftover wrappers, and for your safety.
Still not convinced that leaving dogs in the car is a bad idea? Maybe you’ve heard about children dying of hyperthermia when left in vehicles. If you haven’t, this article is enough to turn your stomach, and has some significant information about just how quickly cars act as greenhouses.
I promise the next blog post will be more fun.