Putting Together a Dog First Aid Kit


Frank (the Pug), had a toe nail almost completely ripped off while playing one Sunday afternoon out in the yard. I had no idea how to stop the bleeding or what to do with the hanging-by-a-thread nail. Fortunately, a friend who was visiting called her veterinarian Dad on his private cell phone number. But what if you can’t get help right at the moment?  Do you know what to do if your dog suddenly becomes sick, is injured or having trouble breathing?

I picked up First Aid for the Active Dog, by Sid Gustasfson, DVM. It is simple to read, arranged in categories and filled with specific instructions and how-to information for common injuries and illnesses.  I’d highly recommend it for everyone who has a pet. He outlines symptoms, what to do in emergencies and importantly, what not to do to make a situation worse. He also explains the difference between healthy and normal pulse rates, tongue color, breathing patterns, etc. and when to be concerned.

        The best thing you can do for your dog is to know what symptoms to look for, know what to do to help him if he is in distress and to be prepared for an emergency situation.

Following is a list of items for your own home first aid kit for your dog, as recommended in First Aid for the Active Dog.

• sterile gauze pads

• blunt-end scissors

• hemostat

• tweezers

• rectal thermometer

• 3-cc syringe, sterile

• 14-gauge, 1” needle

• 20-gauge, 1” needle

• staple gun

• cotton balls

• Q-tips

• 2” gauze roll

• non-cortisone based antibiotic eye ointment

• padding or cotton roll

• disinfectant solution

• sterile Telfa pads

• eye wash

• baby buffered aspirin and regular aspirin.

The first aid kit, and the information in the book should enable you to give the first emergency help your dog might someday need if you cannot get immediate veterinary help.

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