Pet First Aid Kits 2017

A pet first aid kit is not an optional item. You will use it, even if it’s on yourself. They do evolve over time as new products make their way to the market. This is a suggested list, as well as how to use each item.

 My own pet first aid kit has evolved over the years and currently contains the following.

  1. Activated charcoal is used to absorb ingested poisons. Any item in a kit that is intended for poisoning should NOT be used unless directed by a veterinarian. Protocols vary and what will help in one instance can cause harm in another.
  2. Antibiotic cream for wounds. Do not use triple antibiotic if you groom cats. While it is rare, cats may have an allergy to the combination of the three ingredients. If the cat has such an allergy, it is fatal. If you use natural products, ensure there are no essential oils if you groom cats as well. The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists have put out new guidelines that state essential oils should not be used in any form around cats.
  3. Antihistamine and safety pin for minor allergic reactions. Look specifically for diphenhydramine gels with a liquid center. The safety pin is used to puncture the gel cap and squirt the liquid directly onto to the tongue of the pet. It is the fastest way for an anaphylactic pet to absorb the antihistamine. Consult a veterinarian for proper dosing. Not all pets can safely use antihistamines as it may interfere with other medications and medical conditions.
  4. Two apps for smart phones. The first is Pet Poison Helpline or pet Poison Hotline. There is a cost, but will dial the number for you. As minutes matter in a poisoning, this is invaluable if you cannot reach a local veterinarian for instructions. The second is a veterinarian locator. They are usually free. As mobile groomers are all over the place, being able to locate a veterinarian quickly can be a lifesaver.
  5. Baking soda to absorb topical poisons or chemicals.
  6. Band aids for you. This will probably be your most replenished item.
  7. Bandanas have multiple uses. They replace triangular bandages and can be used as slings to take the weight off of an injured limb.
  8. Expired gift cards. They are a perfect size to cushion pad injuries on larger pets. Place gauze on both sides of the card and securely wrap the cards and gauze to the paw with vet wrap. In addition, the cards can flick out bee stingers. Place the card at the base of the stinger where it meets the skin and lift up and out.
  9. Eyewash serves double duty. It can be used to flush out both eyes and wounds.
  10. Gauze comes in three varieties: gauze roll, gauze pads, and nonstick gauze pads. The gauze roll is wider and is good for larger wounds. The nonstick gauze is more expensive, but I will use it as the first pad on the wound and then place the cheaper gauze on top on it. The nonstick gauze will remove the scab when it is time to replace the bandaging.
  11. Honey packets for hypoglycemic pets. Stress, seizures, as well as an owner giving a pet too much insulin can result in low blood sugar. This is a serious condition that may result in the death of the pet. Signs include listlessness, staggering, tremors, muscle weakness, and seizures. Do not give the pet honey unless directed by a veterinarian.
  12. Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in a dog. As this is used for poisoning, consult a veterinarian first. Dosage will vary. Vomiting is not a given for poisoning. If it is caustic, it will burn the throat on its way out. You cannot use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in cats. Cats cannot metabolize hydrogen peroxide.
  13. Ice will constrict blood flow and slow bleeding. I do not keep ice in my pet first aid kit. If you are mobile, your clients freezer would be your go to.
  14. Liquid bandage is an asset if you know how to use it properly. Used incorrectly, it can damage surrounding tissue, as well as trap bacteria in the wound. Your veterinarian can instruct you in proper usage. I do not use superglue. It is not manufactured for medical use and as such, the manufacturer can change ingredients and formulation without consideration for safety on wounds.
  15. Muzzles are a must. If you need to use your pet first aid kit, this pet is likely in pain. Any pet that is in pain is a bite risk.
  16. Plastic baggies to collect a vomit or fecal sample. This may be necessary if the pet has been poisoned and you are unsure of what was ingested. When not in use, it can store smaller items for easy accessibility.
  17. Rubber gloves to protect you from any zoonotic and also to collect vomit or fecal samples.
  18. Sanitary napkins will absorb blood.
  19. Squirt bottle to deliver hydrogen peroxide down the throat of a dog.
  20. Styptic powder for use on nails only. It stings and this pet is already in pain. In addition, styptic powder is not sterile and you may introduce bacteria into the wound.
  21. Tea bags contain tannic acid. It is effective in stopping bleeding.  While sugar is effective, I do not recommend it because the pet may be diabetic.
  22. Vet wrap is wonderful. It keeps the wound secure and dry. Vet wrap is also expensive. The human counterpart, which is the exact same thing, is a fraction of the cost.
  23. Wound cleanser. You have several options. The first is sterile saline solution, also known as eyewash. The second is a Chlorohexidine based cleanser. This is easy to find. Almost any store that sells first aid items carries it. The third is Vetericyn products. Do not use hydrogen peroxide as it degrades surrounding tissue and cats cannot metabolize it. Do not use alcohol as it stings. Do not use sterile, tap, or bottled water and it disrupts the salt balance of the cells and slows healing.

Many of these items have expiration dates and should be checked periodically.

Treating injuries quickly result in faster healing with less pain. It may also reduce veterinary costs. Win –win for all.


Winter Safety Tips

Yep, winter is here. As with any change of seasons, it brings a different set of dangers for our pets.

Vehicle Safety

Watch for antifreeze leaks. Its sweet taste attracts dogs and cats, very poisonous, and the bright green color is a DEAD giveaway. It cleans up easily with soap and water.

Outdoor cats looking for warmth frequently sleep on car engines. Banging loudly on the hood before starting your engine should rouse them.

Leaving your pet in your car while you shop at the mall is like leaving them in a refrigerator. The car retains the cold and your pet could suffer from hypothermia. A great way to gauge the interior temperature of your vehicle is with a temperature window cling. Easily sourced on Amazon. On the flip side, you do not want to leave them in the car with the engine idling. A couple of years back,  a Long Island, NY man went into a Cool Beans for a cup of coffee and left his car running. His dog knocked the gearshift into drive and proceeded to go for a ride. He ended up IN the business next door. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

The Great Outdoors

Animals that spend a lot of time outside need more food. In particular, a higher protein diet is required.

The very young and the very old have little tolerance for the cold weather. Provide them with outerwear for both body and feet.

According to the ASPCA, more dogs are lost during snowstorms than at any other time. They can lose their scent, become disoriented and lost. Remember, a well-identified dog has a greater chance of returning home.

Use pet safe ice melt. When that is not possible, or you are unsure of what is being used; wash their feet BEFORE they get a chance to lick them.

Indoors

Insects will be coming into our homes for the winter. Watch for spider and insect bites and familiarize yourself with the signs of anaphylactic shock. Insect traps are baited with something tasty, so keep them out of your pet's reach.

The Holiday Season is in full swing.

Decorations

The most common holiday plant is the poinsettia. It is toxic. Keep it out of reach of your pets. Both Pet Poison Helpline (www.petpoisonhelpline.com) and the ASPCA (www.aspca.org) has a database of toxic plants and phone apps.

Chewing on electrical cords can cause cardiac arrest. Tripping on electrical cords can cause broken body parts and sudden blunt force trauma. (OK, maybe more of an issue for me.) Dogs chasing after something have been known to be dragging a Christmas tree behind them after a cord was snagged on a paw.

Glass ornaments pose a problem for those pets that confuse them with tennis balls.

Garland and tinsel is a particular problem for cats. Remember; never pull it out of your cat, as there may be an ornament hook at the other end.

Pine water is poisonous to pets. Fertilizers and pesticides will leach out into the water bowl.

Holiday Food and Drinks

Alcoholic beverages can cause intoxication, coma and death.

Coffee, tea and other caffeine products contain theobromine. It is toxic and affects the cardio and nervous systems.

Ham, fat trimmings and turkey skin can cause pancreatitis.

Cooked bones can cause intestinal obstruction and lacerations of the digestive system.

Stuffings may contain sage, onions, mushrooms and raisins.

Too many sweets can cause obesity and diabetes. Artificial sugars cause a fatal drop in blood sugar, especially xylitol.

Holiday snack trays may contain macadamia nuts and grapes.

Chocolate contains theobromine.

A list of the most common people foods that cause problems for pets is found at both Pet Poison Helpline and the ASPCA’s website.

 PRO TIP: Broccoli can cause digestive upset and VERY gassy pets. You may want to keep that to a minimum unless you want your guests running for cover. Of course, if your guests have overstayed their welcome, then broccoli is the way to go.

You also want to provide your pets with a quiet place during the holiday parties. Even small gatherings can be stressful for them.

Cold Injuries

Cold injuries are caused by extreme or prolonged exposure to low temperatures. The most common areas affected are the tail, ears, paws and scrotum. A snout to tail assessment is always a good idea after coming in from the outdoors. Check for ice and salt in the pads and for any signs of frostbite or hypothermia.

The skin can become swollen, red and very painful. In later stages, it can become hard and pale. Additional signs of frostbite and hypothermia include shivering, slow or shallow breathing, lethargy, decreased heart rate and gums either pale or bluish in color.

If you suspect frostbite or hypothermia, you should first make sure the pet is out of the cold. DO NOT RUB THE AFFECTED AREA. The frozen ice crystals in the skin can lacerate the skin cells. Contact your vet for rewarming instructions. This is very important so that you can prevent further pain, stave off infection and minimize the possible tissue damage.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday season.

 

©Mary Oquendo Spirited Dog Productions www.SpiritedDog.com www.PawsitivedEd.com

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Halloween Safety - It's That Time of the Year Again

It's that time of year again.

The sooner the kids come and relieve me of the candy in the house, the happier I will be. While I am more concerned with my candy consumption, there are real dangers for your pets.

Provide a safe place for your pet away from the door. It can be very confusing for them. The constant ringing of the doorbell, all the strange looking people, along with the screaming for candy, can be confusing and scary to your pet. Under these circumstances, your frightened pet may pose a bite risk.

Make sure that your pet is identified with readable tags and update your microchip company with current information. Many pets escape out the ever opening front door. Shelters see an increase in their numbers during Halloween.

Veterinarians and Animal Poison Control also see an increase in the number of pets as a result of poisoning and intestinal obstructions because the pet helped themselves to the Halloween candy you left within their reach. Most Halloween candy contains chocolate, artificial sugars, and wrappers.

Pets can knock over the lit candles in pumpkins causing a fire, chew on strung lights, choke on small ghoulish decorations, and poison themselves with fake blood and glowsticks.

If you must put a costume on your pet, remove all chocking hazards. In adition, watch for discomfort and blocked vision.

If you must take them trick or treating, put flashing LED's or lighted collars so cars can see them too. Look for signs of stress and exhaustion. They are not nearly as excited as the children are to go door to door. Halloween is my favorite time of year. I do not want to ruin my holiday because my pet was injured, lost, or caused injury to another.

Written by Mary Oquendo, www.SpiritedDog.com