It’s usually a dog owner’s worst nightmare, but accidents do happen. It is basically inevitable that something will eventually happen. When it does, it is extremely important that you be prepared. This means not only having a first aid kit with the proper items in it, but also knowing what emergencies constitute which remedies.
To be prepared, one must familiarize themselves with what constitutes as a serious crisis versus a minor injury/illness that can easily be taken care of at home. Remember that first aid is not a replacement for taking your dog to the vet. If an injury or illness seems to be extreme enough, address the issue(s) as best you can, and then take your dog to the vet immediately.
One should always have a first aid kit on hand. It might be best to have one at home and one in the car. If your dog is with you, it is extremely important that you also have a first aid kit with you. The next step is to ensure that you know what every piece of the aid kit is used for. It will do you no good to have every known item on earth in your kit if you don’t know what each piece is used for when protecting and aiding your dog.
Be sure to keep a roll of gauze in your kit. Gauze is great for bandaging a wounded leg, as well as creating a quick and efficient muzzle when your dog may be feeling threatened or hurting and may make a lot of noise or even bite. Gauze is a great multi-use tool that every first aid kit should include. You may also wish to include square gauze, non-stick pads, and/or first aid tape.
Speaking of multi-use items, one should always consider having multi-use or multi-purpose products in their first aid kit. Some of these include medications such as Vetericyn, which can clean and treat the wounds all at once. It can be used to get rid of viruses, bacteria (including from infection), and fungi. It is the king of multi-purpose medications and is completely dog-friendly, up to even being lickable when used.
Hydrogen peroxide can also be used for cleaning wounds, getting rid of skunk smell (which may not be a medical emergency, but can still be devastating), to help clean ears, and can even (ONLY AFTER ONE CONSULTS WITH A VET) be used as a means to induce vomiting if your dog has ingested something toxic or poisonous. Again, inducing vomiting should only happen after one has been directed to do so by their veterinarian.
When storing medication, always be sure to store them in proper temperature conditions, and check expiration dates often. As soon as a medication has expired, or you believe it has been somehow compromised, then throw it out and replace it. Some believe that the expiration date doesn’t matter since it is a dog that the medication will be used on. They are still living breathing creatures, and have not grown some immunity to products that no longer work, or that could cause further damage. Don’t be so convinced that out-of-date medication won’t make your dog even sicker than he/she already is.
If an accident does happen, don’t freak out. You won’t be doing yourself or your dog any good if you harm yourself or your dog because you couldn’t keep it together. Assess the scene. Don’t jump to conclusions. Think slowly, but react quickly and calmly. Your response time and precision may be the difference between life and death for your canine. Approach your dog calmly. If your dog is injured or seems to be in pain, put a muzzle on your dog. Even the sweetest and most loving of dogs may bite if they are in pain. Keep you and your dog safer by using a muzzle. Apply the appropriate first aid, such as CPR if your dog is not breathing. Once you have any immediate danger taken care of, take your dog to the vet immediately to be assessed for injuries that may not be seen to the naked eye. Your vet will be able to take over, but your first aid may be the first step to saving your furry friend.