What's in Your First Aid Kit?

My recovery from recent back surgery is going to keep me away from the computer for a bit.  During this time I’m happy to present some excellent posts with timely information written by several  veterinarians and dog-bloggers whose posts I regularly follow.  Today’s post, “What’s in Your First Aid Kit?” was written by Dr. Janet Crosby who authors the very popular and informative Veterinary Medicine content at http://vetmedicine.about.com/.  Please make her feel welcome by posting your wonderful comments.  Be back soon! . 

Best wishes, 

Dr. Nancy Kay

I have been interested in first aid since I was given my first “doctor kit” when I was 5. I bandaged up toy animals (and patient real ones) to practice my craft. Later on, I took swimming lessons in lifesaving and CPR classes in college. More recently, my colleague and I taught “wilderness first aid for pets” classes at an outdoor gear store. Will all of that, I should have a perfectly assembled, everything-in-its-place first aid kit; ready to assist whoever, whenever.

Ha. I wish. 

I have tried. I have assembled various kits over the years, the contents becoming outdated or misplaced over time. I now have a loosely assembled “dog bag” with medical stuff that will do for many situations, but it isn’t a true first aid kit. I have been trying to get myself more organized. Just in case. 

Many of the items in a pet first aid kit will work for all pets – scissors, antiseptics, bandages, tape, and so on. It is important to realize that each pet should have their own specialized part of the first aid kit as needed. For example, traveling with my Greyhound Argos has prioritized the need for probiotics (stress gut) and bandaging materials just in case. (Greyhounds have thin skin and sometimes-too-quick reflexes.) As Sophie has inched up in years, I travel with some anti-inflammatory pain relief to use as needed after long hikes. The Thundershirt, while not typical “first aid,” also travels with us when some calm is called for. 

First Aid Kits For Pets
There are many, many choices for first aid kits for pets, as seen in this Google search. What kit is the “right” kit for your pet? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Look for ones that contain most of what you are looking for and add to it. Or build your own. I always add sterile eye wash (not the contact lens cleaner and not medicated in any way), just in case of a foreign body or liquid contamination of they eye. Nail clippers are handy if dealing with a torn toenail. Your veterinarian will also be able to provide pet-specific advice if you have questions. 

It is also a good idea to check into pet first aid classes. Having a spiffy new first aid kit is no good if you don’t know how to use it. Check your local veterinary clinics, Red Cross, or retailers such as Petco, now offering online pet first aid classes. You can even learn first aid tips and techniques on your phone

A Good Thing To Have In The Car
An all-purpose first aid kit is good to have in the car in case you find an injured animal on the road or witness an accident. A muzzle is a necessary kit item (or make one) when dealing with injured and frightened animals. 

Do You Have A Pet First Aid Kit?
Did you purchase or make your kit? Please share your tips for making and using a pet first aid kit

Photo: First Aid Kit by marvinxsteadfast on Flickr 

Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM never planned to be a writer. She wanted to be a veterinarian from the moment she learned such a job existed – sometime during the first grade, when she accompanied her mom to the vet with a sick cat. Janet “adopted” all the neighborhood cats, and at age 11 she started training her first dog, a newly adopted rescue Collie. At age 12, she joined a dog obedience 4-H club and was active through high school as a member and as a junior leader.

Read more: http://blog.k9cuisine.com/vet-med/whats-in-your-first-aid-kit/#ixzz16y058SIi


Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of  Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook 

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller. 

Free Christmas or Chanukah guft wrap with books purchased between now and December 25th (www.speakingforspot.com/purchase.html).

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