Accidents happen. A fall may lead to scraped knees, or a run through the house may lead to a bump on the head. Dogs also have accidents, often very similar to what we experience. While hopefully the medical attention will never require more than pulling a few stickers out of your dog’s paw, you should always be ready to handle the worst.
As a dog owner, you should keep a first aid kit wherever your dog spends time. You should definitely keep one in your home, and since dogs enjoy some travel time, so you should have one in your vehicle. Here are a few things that you should consider keeping around for that just-in-case situation.
Sterilizing powders should definitely be in your kit, and you should never put rubbing alcohol on a dog’s wound. Not only will it hurt their skin, but they may also lick it up, resulting in poisoning. Septic powder in a jar is one of the best methods. Rather than struggle with a wounded pet as you attempt to apply it manually, you can place your dog’s entire paw into the jar to stop bleeding. For cuts and scrapes on their back, body, or face, a septic stick application can be handy. These products should be designed for animal use, to avoid any toxic additives or side effects.
Antibiotic ointment is a great addition to any kit. Keep in mind that they do make specialized ointments for dogs, but in case of emergency, you can use human ointments, such as Triple antibiotic or Neosporin, to help prevent infections. As with any antibiotic, you shouldn’t use them for longer than three days in a row. If redness, swelling, and other signs of infection remain or worsen, a trip to the vet should be in order.
Sterile pads and tape should also be part of your doggy first aid kit. While most injuries will hopefully be little more than scratches and stickers, you should be prepared for the worst. Large cuts need to be sterilized and padded to stop the initial bleeding. These can be extremely valuable in case your dog manages to walk across broken glass (this is yet another reason that you should never litter) or manages to cut their paw. When paws are cut, they can become quickly infected if they continue to walk around on it, since it can result in particles and debris getting in the open wound.
Because injuries can be extreme, a tourniquet can help stop the blood flow to and from an area. If you and your dog enjoy nature walks, snake bites can be a nasty and deadly problem. A tourniquet can prevent the poisons from traveling throughout their body, slowing the effects of the venom.
You should also consider keeping a temporary splint to hold a leg or paw in place so the problem won’t worsen when they move around. Broken bones can happen, especially in older dogs who can suffer from osteoporosis. Although you may not be able to set the bone, a splint can prevent shifting of the broken bones, which can cause more pain and discomfort.
A blanket or towel in your car is a must for any pet owner. Not only does it keep the loose fur off your interior, but it can also be used for a variety of medical reasons. In case of injury, a towel can protect the wound from dirt and debris. It can be used to wrap your dog up to keep them warm in case they’ve succumbed to an excessively cold environment (Chihuahuas will definitely thank you for this), and it can provide a comfortable and safe transport on your way to the vet. Towels and blankets also act as an absorbent, specifically applying to toxic ingestion, such as chocolate or even cleaning chemicals, which often results in vomiting.
This raises the question of how you should prepare for poisoning. The ingestion of several foods, such as grapes, chocolate, and even household medications can be a danger to your dog. While a trip to the vet is your best option, there is still the time between here and there. Depending on the toxicity, vomiting to get the toxin out of them is one of the first aid steps. Laxatives can also help quickly flush the toxin out of the body to reduce the threat of absorption. While these are options when absolutely no help is available, be sure that you get your dog to a veterinarian as quick as possible for proper attention.
Being prepared for the worst means that your dog will receive the best treatment when your options are limited. While a first aid kit can be beneficial for your dog, unless you are properly trained as a veterinarian, be sure to take your dog to a professional in case of serious injury.