101 Dog Care Tips: #150 – Preparing for Dog Safety Pt 1 of 4: Dog First Aid Kit & Disaster Preparedness

You never have to be prepared for your dog’s happiness. Happiness comes naturally to dogs with loving families.  However, if their safety should be compromised, you should be prepared.  The first step in being prepared for any pet emergency is knowing your dog.  If you know how your dog acts in normal day-to-day activities, you will know when something isn’t right.  Best Bully Sticks knows that you would never want to be without your favorite pup, so over the next three weeks we are running a “Preparing for Dog Safety” series on our blog.  We want you to be able to think through emergency scenarios now so on the off-chance something goes wrong in the future, you’ll be prepared. Today we’ll talk about creating a pet first aid kit and disaster preparedness.

Getting It Together: Gathering Supplies For the Kit. The first thing you’ll want to do for your doggie first aid kit is purchase the items for the kit and container that will hold them.  Good containers for the kit are water-proof plastic and have a snap lid. If you can find a plastic, snap-lid container that has compartments, even better. This will ensure that you aren’t searching frantically through items when you need them in an emergency. Items for the container include:

  • Cotton Pads for clean up and topical applications
  • Cotton Swabs for topical applications and clean up
  • Towels (atleast 2)
  • Paper towels
  • Blanket (compact thermal blankets work well. These keep an injured dog from going into shock.)
  • Bandana for muzzling or securing a torn earflap
  • Little socks to cover or protect wounded paws
  • Flashlight
  • Matches
  • Gauze for swabbing, padding or wound cover
  • Bandages for compression and dressing
  • First Aid tape
  • Vet Wrap (sticks to itself but not fur)
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Sterile Needle to remove splinters and tick heads
  • Turkey Baster or bulb syringe for flushing wounds or force feeding
  • 10cc Syringe with no needle for administering medications
  • Eyedropper
  • Tongue depressor to examine mouth
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Nail Clippers
  • Comb
  • Rectal Thermometer
  • Disposable Safety Razor for shaving fur from around a wound
  • Worming Treatments
  • Antiseptic for small grazes and wounds
  • Antibiotic oinment
  • Sanitizer for cleaning your hands
  • Anti-bacterial Wipes or pads
  • Hot/cold pack
  • Hydrogen Peroxide for induced vomiting (Make sure you check the expiration date every so often.)
  • Activated Charcoal Tablets (effective for absorbing many toxins)
  • Rubbing Alcohol for a cooling agent for heat strokes or fevers, help break down oils, drying agent between toes and skin folds, but DO NOT use on woulds as it can damage skin and not an appropriate antiseptic)
  • Musher’s Cream for treating paw pads
  • Sterile Saline Solution
  • Milk of Magnesia for upset stomachs
  • Benadryl for bug bites and allergic reactions (regular variety only)
  • Gentle Pet Sedative like all-natural Bach Rescue Remedy
  • Aspirin (for dogs only, 1 tablet per 60 pounds; do not use acetaminophen or ibuprofen; do not give aspirin to cats; since aspirin and other pain relievers can be toxic to any pet, consult your vet and first aid books)

There is a lot in this list, but to be truly prepared, you never know what your going to need in an emergency.  You may never have to use any of these items, but each could be helpful and potentially life-saving.

Making the right list: Vital Information To Keep Handy. You will want to make sure you also include some vital information in your kit.  Writing your name, your dog’s name and your phone number on the front of the box in permanent marker is a good idea. Placing a list of all your vet’s information, including phone number and name inside of the box is also necessary.  A list of all other pertinent pet information including your pet’s allergies, existing medical conditions and pet records will also be helpful to you or a helper during an emergency.

Disaster Preparedness: Making a Plan. Making a plan ahead of time for any potential natural disasters, household emergencies or quick evacuations is necessary.  Here are a few tips to prepare ahead of time.

1. Don’t leave your pet’s behind! Your pet most likely won’t be able to fend for itself during a disaster and if by some chance they do, there is a very imporobable you will be able to find them when you return.

2. Get a Rescue Alert Sticker. This sticker is a notification to rescue workers that there are animals in the household.  You will want to make sure it is visible to rescue workers and includes the number of pets and type of pets in your home as well as your vet’s phone number. If you evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the sticker.  You can receive a free emergency pet alert sticker from the ASPCA or purchase one from your local pet supply store.

3. Find Shelter. This is just as important for you as it is your dog. It’s important to not that public heath shelters don’t accept pets because of health reasons. Many hotels and motels don’t allow pets either, so check ahead of time to find out which ones do. Ask friends and relatives outside of your area if they would be willing to take your pet for a short time. Check with animal shelters in your area to see if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets. If you do stay in your home through a natural disaster, bring your pets inside, immediately.  If you have a “safe room” place all your pet’s emergency supplies there. Make sure you close off any openings such as a fireplaces, vents, pet doors, etc. Provide newspaper for sanitary reasons. Keep your pets calm. This may mean separating dogs and cats because animals can be very anxious or irrational during emergencies. Make sure you have fresh water available and food for you and your dog.

4. Evacuating with your dog. If you think you may be gone for only a day, assume that you may not be allowed to return for several weeks. When recommendations for evacuation have been announced, follow the instructions of local and state officials. Make sure you have all your pet’s emergency supplies. A crate or kennel will be helpful as well.  Keeping your leash on your dog at all times during evacuation is necessary. Dogs tend to act very anxious during emergencies, so keeping them restrained is very important. This may even mean using a muzzle. It’s important all tags and identification are up to date as well. Again, make sure you have fresh water available and food for you and your dog, so carry spare bottles of water and a bowl in your car. It’s always good to carry a spare leash in your vehicle as well.

After a disaster or emergency, your dog’s behavior may change, so keep an eye on their actions and reactions. Also, if a disaster has affected your home or area, keep your dog on a leash when you return to your location. Stray pets or wild animals may be in the area and familiar scents and landmarks have changed, so you will want to keep your pet close. As always, love on your dog and remember, what’s best for you during an emergency will be best for your dog. If you have any medical issues you cannot handle, take your dog to a vet immediately.

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