Your Dog's First Responder
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Your Dog\'s First Responder

Nobody wants to think about having an accident and I’m not taking about just a motor vehicle accident. But any type of accident. What would your situation be if you were hiking with your dog and the dog suffers an injury such as puncturing their paw pad? How about falling down a hillside breaking a leg? Or even something along the line of being bitten by a nasty spider or stung by a wasp? If any of these things happened to your dog, could you properly respond and administer first responder care until you can reach an animal hospital? Could you be a lifesaving first responder for a dog? Most people probably cannot.

If you care enough to include your dog in your social activities, you should also try to educate yourself in how to administer basic first aid in the event of an injury. It could be the difference between a happy ending and a tragic one! Find a good reference book you can include in your survival kit, in your car or hiking gear. Create a small first aid kit for your dog, or include specialized items in another kit to accommodate a dog.

Learn the basics for treating conditions such as a broken leg, shock, bleeding, burns, heat stroke or hypothermia, choking and canine CPR and rescue breathing. Keep information on you such as your vet’s emergency phone number and ANIMAL poison control (888-426-4435). In case you are injured as well, have something on you that indicates you are with a dog so rescue personnel will know to look for the dog in case fear has caused him or her to hid.

Some important items that you should carry in your first aid kit would include:

* A muzzle or other material that could be used as a muzzle.

* Gauze rolls, squares or pads

* Disinfectant and hydrogen peroxide

* Saline solution

* Triple antibiotic ointment

* Tweezers

* Scissors

* Latex or nitrile gloves

* Antihistamine such as children’s Benadryl

* Corn starch or flour to stop the bleeding of a torn nail

* Blankets or towels

* An extra leash or rope

* Dog food

* Fresh water

For extended trips or those where you will be hours away from civilization you may want to include a few other items such as:

* Rectal thermometer with a small container of Vaseline

* Antibacterial wipes

* Bulb syringe for flushing wounds

* Sugar packets for diabetic animals

* Natural stress relief such as Bach’s Rescue Remedy

* Skin cream to treat chapped paw pads or nose leather

Using a waterproof container will help ensure that you have what you need especially in the event of a water accident or heavy rains that caused treacherous conditions. If you don’t have time to refer to a reference manual before treating the injury you can review it once the situation is under control to make sure you haven’t missed something important in the treatment and care.

If you can be prepared for the worst you may come out of the situation without any regrets and a full recovery for the injured. I personally cannot imagine many situations worse than helplessly watching the life drain out of my beloved pet because I was clueless as to how to respond. Take a little time some weekend, do some research and learn the basics. You won’t regret it. Here’s to safe and happy travels!


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