First Aid Kit for pets

As we head into March, even with the mild winter we’ve had, dog owners are looking forward to spending more time outside with their pets.  If you go to a park or on a hiking trail  or even around the house, there are plenty of potential problems out there for dogs, especially given their curious nature.  But if you are prepared you can prevent some of these things from becoming a major problem for you and your pet.  I’m going to list some of the basic things you need for your first aid kit.  This will fit easily in a fanny pack and many of these items can be used by you and other humans should the need arise on your hikes.  Cat owners you too should have a kit ready as well.

I mentioned in the last blog the importance of having a strip of material to use as a muzzle.  This is an essential element to your first aid kit, because unless the dog is restrained, it is almost impossible to move an injured dog who is conscious and in pain.  Here is a list of other items to include from the Pet Tech Petsaver program text book:

Adhesive Tape – 1 inch roll

Gauze pads – 3 or 4 inch square

Gauze rolls – 2 inch for small pets, 3 inch for larger dogs

Triangular Bandages

Individually wrapped sanitary napkins

Digital thermometer

Blunt end scissors

Tweezers

Eye dropper

12 cc syringe with needle removed

Antihistamine gel caps – put a safety pin in the package to prick hole in cap and squirt into pet’s mouth

Antibiotic – ex. Neosporin

Hydrogen peroxide (3%)

Vinegar or baking soda – used to neutralize burns caused by acids

Activated charcoal – used to absorb poisons

Petroleum jelly – as lubricant for thermometer

Kaopectate

Chemical ice pack

Small flashlight

Needle nose pliers

Q-tips

Betadine solution

Razor blades

Extra leash and collar

Plastic bags – for clean up or to save samples to give to vet

Permanent marking pen – for marking sample bags

Towel or blanket large enough to use to transport your pet

Latex or nitrile gloves

Pet Tech offers pet first aid classes and can explain how some of these ingredients are used.  The American Red Cross also offers pet first aid classes.  You can ask your vet about this as well.

In addition to these items you should keep a picture of you and your pet together in the bag in case you need to prove ownership of the dog.  Also you may have emergency numbers in your phone, but you should have them written down too.  Your cell phone batteries could be dead and you may have to borrow someone’s phone.  Also include a number for poison control.

Fetch! Pet Care of NW Atlanta provides dog walking and pet sitting services as well as providing cat care in Roswell, East Cobb, Marietta and Woodstock.

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Pet First Aid

Last week I took a pet first aid and CPR class through the GNPP.  I took the class last year, but wanted a refresher course.  First aid for humans and pets is something everyone should know, but hopefully will never use.  I was a Boy Scout growing up and had a lot of first aid training from that.  I was a lifeguard and had senior lifesaving, plus I was certified in CPR.  The class was taught by one of the GNPP members who is a Pet Tech instructor.  At the Pet Tech site you can get information for the smart phone app they have. There is a fee for the app.  The American Red Cross also has pet first aid classes in the Atlanta area.

Many of the basic principals in first aid are the same for pets and humans.  The thing that I liked best about the class is that it addressed a wide range of situations you may find yourself in with a pet and it increases your awareness of situations and things you can do in your pet’s environment to eliminate potentially hazardous situations.  It’s important for you to remain calm.  When your pet senses your panic, it will panic too.  Talk to it in the same calming voice you usually use.

Cat owners probably already know this, but cats are very good at hiding their injuries.  This comes from their natural instinct, not to show weakness because you may lose your order in the group.  A 10 pound cat is equal to a 50 pound dog.  Cats are also more difficult to muzzle and restrain than dogs are because of the shape of their faces.

Dog owners need to have a piece of cloth handy to be used as a muzzle.  It should be at least 6 feet long and about an inch wide.  The belt of an old robe may work.  Felt is a good material because it has a little natural stretch in it.  You do want to muzzle a pet in pain, a pet you are about to move into pain, or a pet that is alert enough to bite.  You don’t want to muzzle a pet it’s vomiting, having a seizure or having problems breathing.  You also don’t want to muzzle a dog that’s having trouble breathing or one you will have to leave unattended.  This link  shows it much better than how I would explain it here.  Scroll down a bit for it.  I’ll have some more information about some things to have in a first aid kit for your pets later this week.

You can always find information about pets, pet events and how we can take care of your dog walking or pet sitting needs at my Fetch! Pet Care website.

Caution around strange dogs

One of the most viewed stories on YouTube and the internet this weekend has been the story of the Denver news anchor who was bitten in the face by a dog on her show Wednesday morning.  This serves as a way to remind us not to put our face in the face of a dog, especially a dog they don’t know well.

Kyle Dyer, the KUSA-TV anchor was doing something we all do when loving on a dog, putting our face in front of the dog and talking “doggie talk” to them.   A few months ago I was visiting with Xalina Labarge, a dog trainer and co-owner of Dog School 101 in Marietta.  One of their clients brought in a dog and I asked for permission to pet it, the owner said sure, so I bent over and started petting the dog.  The dog was about 40 pounds or so and very friendly and I didn’t feel threatened at all.  The dog seemed to enjoy my affection.  After they left, Xalina told me that I should never put my face near the face of a dog that I don’t know.  This could possibly trigger a stress response in a dog, which may cause a dog to bite.  Most bites are due to a stress response based on fear, unfamiliarity, or even a pain reflex.  It’s best to extend out your hand, and allow a dog to come to you first for meet and greet.  I thought about how many times I have done that.  How many times have we even dropped to a knee to pet a dog?  Dyer learned the hard way not to get in a strange dog’s face.   Now before you call me a hypocrite for the picture I have on the blog, this was a dog I was familiar with at the dog’s home.

Many TV stations frequently have pets in the studio, usually they are brought in by someone from a humane society or adoption agency and they maintain control over the animal.  I’ve spent many years around TV studios and regardless of how nice and homey they may look on TV, it’s not the best environment for a pet.  It’s very bright because of the lights, it’s usually very cold because of the lights and there are a lot of things going on off-camera.  The reason Max, an 85 pound Argentine Mastiff, was on the show was that he was rescued from icy waters the day before and the rescue was a big story.  KUSA wanted to show that Max was fine.  Max’s owner released a statement after the incident stating that they were sorry Dyer was injured and wish a quick recovery for her.  They agreed to do the interview at the station’s request to thank the rescue workers.  Sunday night Max was serving a 10 day quarantine, at the end of which his fate will be determined.  KUSA is reporting it is doubtful Max will be put down when it ends.  Dyer was released from the hospital on Thursday after undergoing plastic surgery on her face.  It’s not known when she will be able to return to the air.