The time finally came for Gar and I to go on a camping vacation! We went to a creek-side, woodsy area in the Los Padres National Forest and this time we took all three dogs. To prepare for the trip I decided that I should organize everything I could and put it in small plastic bins. This would make loading and unloading extremely easy. I realized how crazy I am and how crazy about the dogs I am when I began to pack their things. I made a bin that was devoted to bandaging and also contained clotting gauze packs. This bin is separate from the bin that includes the general, human first aid. I made a dog medication bin.
When I put together a doggie first-aid kit for camping, it got me thinking about what a basic kit for dogs should be. Each kit would vary depending upon the individual needs of your dog and your destination. However, I think there a few things that are essential for any kit.
First and foremost, I would get directions and contact information for the nearest veterinary hospital and the nearest 24 hour veterinary hospital. Secondly, a good antiseptic for cleaning minor cuts and abrasions is essential. I like betadine and chlorhexadine since both are more effective than hydrogen peroxide and alcohol burns and packed both in my kit. Although if I were to choose one, it would be betadine since chlorhex can cause corneal ulcers if it comes into contact with you or your pet’s eyes.
I also felt a lot better having some diphenhydramine (otherwise known as Benadryl) in my kit in case one of the animals were to have an allergic reaction. As far as I know, none of my pets are allergic to things like bee stings but, as far as I know, they have never been stung by a bee. If one of the pets were to have an allergic reaction, some Benadryl might be tremendously helpful to give immediately while we make our way to the nearest veterinarian. Some pets with known severe bee-sting allergies even have epi-pens, or individual syringes filled with a dose of epinephrine, for their people to administer in an emergency.
The last thing I want to talk about regarding this subject for the time being is bandaging. I cannot tell you how many people try to apply bandages to their pet at home and end up either not helping at all or causing more damage than good. However, if one of my pets were cut while we were camping in a place that needed protection or pressure applied until I arrived at a veterinarian, I would want to at least have non-adhering gauze pads and some self-adhering, flexible wrap. If you apply anything other than this type of pad, it could stick to the wound and potentially cause more damage than it’s worth once it’s removed. Finally, the wrap can hold the pad in place and it will not stick to skin or fur, it will only stick to itself.
I believe dog or cat first-aid is a great topic and it makes me want to do something like organizing a class with the hospital… maybe Rowan can help me if he’ll take some time out of his busy schedule of smoking crack and tractor driving.