Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Basic First Aid Supplies For Your Dog

By Linda Cole

If you have dogs, there are some basic first aid supplies you should keep on hand for minor accidents. Just like humans, our pets sometimes need a “band aid” for a minor wound. By keeping supplies on hand to treat your pet, you can save yourself an expensive trip to the vet. Products already sitting in your medicine chest or kitchen cupboard can be used to treat the majority of minor ailments your pet may encounter.

Most medicine cabinets contain over the counter creams and salves we use for minor wounds. Some of these products can also be used on your pets. Always monitor your pet after using any kind of medication for adverse effects, whether you use human medication or medicine made especially for animals.

Triple antibiotic is fine to use on minor cuts and scrapes your dog may get. As with any topical ointment, follow package instructions for use. Follow the same precautions you would if you were treating your child or yourself. If swelling, tenderness or redness occurs, discontinue use and seek medical attention with your vet.

A cream especially for cats and dogs that I keep on hand is a product called Biocaine. It's an antiseptic first aid lotion for cats and dogs that helps prevent infection, reduce pain, swelling and licking. It's also non-staining, so if your little buddy jumps up on the couch, it won't leave a greasy smudge.

Liquid vitamin E does wonders for calming hot spots. Simply pour a small amount over the affected area and rub into the skin. A little dab is all you need. Vitamin E in liquid form is oily, however, so you will want to confine your pet when using this product. It's worth the effort because if your pet suffers from mild hot spots, you know most over the counter products contain a certain amount of alcohol. Your pet will appreciate the cooling sensation of a vitamin E rub with no alcohol. The oil will also smother any fleas that haplessly wander into the area.

Boric acid works great for minor eye infections. I mix up a weak solution in a small covered plastic container to treat dog and cat eyes. Mix 1/4 teaspoon or less in 1/3 cup warm water and stir until the water is clear and the boric acid is completely dissolved. You can store it at room temperature and is good for up to a week. If your pet prefers a warm wash, simply place the container in a bowl of hot water until the solution is lukewarm. Dab a cotton ball in the solution and gently wipe around and over the infected eye. Squeeze the cotton ball as you wipe the eye so some of the solution runs into it. No double dipping. Re-soaking a contaminated cotton ball will compromise your boric acid solution.

Aspirin: a huge red flag concerning aspirin for cat owners. Never under any circumstances give aspirin to your cat. It is toxic for them. Dogs, on the other hand, can have aspirin. For minor aches and pains, a regular dose of aspirin can help them get through their day. If using aspirin manufactured especially for dogs, follow dosage recommendations on the bottle. You can also use baby and regular aspirin you already have in your cupboard. Ask your vet for advice on dosage.

Vaseline or Bag Balm: use this to treat dry, cracked pads on your dog's feet. Bag Balm is also good for cuts, scratches and minor skin irritations and burns.

Other first aid supplies include gauze rolls, gauze pads, sports tape, ace bandage, Q-tips, tweezers, Pepto Bismol, any over the counter antihistamine and white tape.

If in doubt about how much medication to administer to your pet, consult your vet. The rule of thumb is to treat your pet like a small baby as far as dosage goes. As with any medication for people or pets, watch for any adverse or allergic reactions. Discontinue use if any occur and consult with your vet.

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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