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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Gouley

DIY First Aid Kit For Dogs

First aid is the care given to an injured dog until full veterinary services are available. It is not a replacement for veterinary care. In emergencies, your goal is to temporarily make your dog’s situation better – stop the bleeding, etc., until a trained veterinarian can take over.

Every owner should have a first-aid kit set-up for their dog (or any pet). This is especially important to have if you are an avid hiker

But what should be included in that kit? The list below was provided on Whole Dog Journal, by Cynthia Foley a Freeland Writer and Editor.

Abdominal pad: Large absorbent pad, usually gauze, for large wounds and heavy bleeding. Best if sterile.

Adhesive bandage tape: Inch-wide tape is more comfortable and secure than narrower tape. Use to secure bandages and gauze.

Alcohol: Either in a bottle or used to soak gauze pads soaked in sealed packets. Use to sterilize scissors, tweezers, etc.

Antibiotic ointment: Prevents infection.

Antiseptic: 10% povidone iodine often included in kits; Nolvasan is a good alternative. Pre-wetted pads seem convenient, but we prefer at least a 4-oz. bottle of antiseptic. Use to clean wounds, your hands, equipment, etc. Using a syringe to apply it will waste less of it.

Benedryl (Diphenhydramine): Use these tablets for allergic reactions or severe itching caused by insect bites or bee stings. Discuss dosages of this useful antihistamine with your veterinarian. A common recommendation for dogs is 1 mg per pound of the dog’s body weight every eight hours, up to a maximum of 50 mg (regardless of the dog’s weight).

Cotton shirt or towel: A white cotton t-shirt or towel can be used for packing or wrapping large wounds.

Cotton swabs: Use to apply ointments and solutions.

An expired credit card: perfect for scraping off bee stingers.

Elizabethan collar (or alternative) Probably too big to keep in your kit, but having one in advance of an injury can prevent a dog from worsening a wound.

Emergency blanket: Use to provide warmth due to weather, shock, or exposure. Most are packed in tiny packets and are silver, which can also double as a flag to get someone’s attention.

Exam gloves: Use to avoid further contaminating open wounds. Choose latex-free gloves if you or your dog is sensitive to latex.

First-aid instructions: A written how-to can be useful, but it must be written for use in an emergency – clear and concise.

Gauze pads: Use to absorbing blood or bandage wounds. Pads smaller than 3 inches square are unhelpful, except on the smallest dogs.

Gauze rolls: Can be used to hold cold packs in place, bandage wounds, stabilize splints, or for a temporary muzzle.

Hemostat, forceps, or needle-nose pliers: A smaller, thinner hemostat can be used to remove objects from dog’s throat or to hold skin or bandage pieces in place. Needle-nose pliers can also be used to gently remove porcupine quills or debris from large wounds.

Honey: Administer for shock; Karo syrup is also a good choice.

Hydrogen peroxide: Use as a wound wash or to induce vomiting when needed. Dosage is usually 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs of body weight. Also works to remove skunk odor.

Instant cold press: Use for stings, bruises, inflammation. (At home, you can use frozen vegetable bags or ice bags instead of the instant type.)

Muzzle: Even the kindest and most loving dog on the planet may bite when in pain. Use for any dog in severe pain to prevent being bitten while you are carrying him or

otherwise trying to help him.

Penlight: Use to help you see more clearly into the dog’s ear, mouth, or wound. (And pack spare batteries.)

Phone numbers: Include numbers for veterinary poison control (888-426-4435); your veterinarian; and your local veterinary emergency clinic.

Rehydrate tablets: Electrolyte tablets can be critical for a severely dehydrated dog or one with heatstroke.

Scissors: Use to trim hair away from wounds, or for gauze and bandages. Blunt-tipped scissors are ideal.

Cohesive bandages: (Vetrap or CoFlex.) This 3-inch-wide, stretchy bandage, made of a material that sticks to itself, is ideal for fast bandaging.

Skin Stapler: Use to hold edges of a gaping wound together, to help control bleeding and worsening of wound.

Sterile eye wash: Use to flush debris or caustic material (including skunk spray!) from eyes.

Sterile wound wash: Use in a syringe to irrigate and flush debris from wounds.

Styptic powder: Use to help stop bleeding (toenails, minor wounds).

Syringes: For flushing a dog’s wounds or eyes.

Thermometer: Taking a dog’s temperature is especially critical in case of heat stroke or hypothermia.

Tick remover: A good tick remover works far better and faster than tweezers.

Tongue depressor: A tongue depressor is invaluable for examining a dog’s mouth or throat; it can also be used as a splint on a smaller dog.

Tweezers: Removing debris from wounds, splinters, etc.

Remember Keep in mind the purpose of a first-aid kit: It’s basically designed for one incident. After that, you replenish the supplies you used.

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