DEAR DIDI: My family and I would like to thank you again for stopping to help us when our dog, Daisy, was being attacked by a stray dog while we were out walking. Daisy’s puncture wounds are healing well and we are convinced she would not have survived if you hadn’t intervened. We were further impressed that you carry a “doggy first-aid kit” and we now want to have one in our family. Would you be willing to share what was in your kit? -Grateful Lathrop Family
DEAR GRATEFUL FAMILY: I am so glad that Daisy is doing well. I am sure there are psychological scars as well as physical ones for all of you! I am a strong believer in being prepared. Studies show that 60 percent of California families have at least one dog so it is a great idea to have a first aid kit on hand. May I also suggest that you look into taking a pet first aid class. Red Cross offers a certification class in first aid and pet CPR. After taking any of these classes the items in my first aid kit will make sense and you will know how to use them.
I have about 36 items in my kit but two or three of them can only be purchased by veterinarians so I will focus on the others. I will just list the items in no particular order:
1) Betadine Solution, an antiseptic cleanser for minor wounds; 2) Hydrogen Peroxide, a small bottle for inducing vomiting; 3) plastic syringes of various sizes (w/o needles); 4) thin plastic gloves; 5) gauze pads or gauze rolls; 6) stethoscope; 7) alcohol, for sterilizing equipment; 8) Saline solution, for flushing eyes; 9) premoistened wipes for dogs; 10) a bottle of water; 11) spray lanacane, to help with surface wound pain; 12) pepto bismol tablets, to help with gas or diarrhea but it is important to understand dosages for dogs; 13) a headlamp, this allows me to see what I am working on but keeps my hands free; 14) 4 vet wrap rolls, this is a self sticking gauzy type material; 15) hand sanitizer; 16) a paper clip (a life saving tool you will learn about in first aid class); 17) Neosporin or other antibacterial ointment; 18) lubricating jelly; 19) a digital thermometer, mark in permanent ink “dog”; 20) a pen; 21) small scissors; 22) hemostats or needle nose pliers; 23) toenail clippers, I carry two sizes; 24) Popsicle sticks in a zip lock bag, they have several uses; 25) q-tips in a zip lock bag; 26) dog poop bags, great for disposing of bio hazardous materials; 27) single use honey packet, (learn in first aid class); 28) a roll of white medical tape; 29) muzzles, I carry three sizes because dogs can’t help but bite you when they are in pain; 30) Cayenne pepper, (you will learn about in first aid class); 31) a penlight, for checking pupils of your patient; 32) styptic powder, cauterizes toe nails if bleeding due to cutting toe nails; 33) a slip leash because one never knows when they may have to capture a stray dog.
You never know when you may have to save your own dog’s life someday. In Daisy’s case, our first aid measures greatly increased her comfort level and lessened the chances of serious complications from her injuries. I am so sorry this happened to your family and I sincerely hope you can all manage to get back to enjoying family walks without constantly looking over your shoulder for off leash dogs!
Dierdra McElroy is a graduate of Texas A&M University and is an Animal Behaviorist specializing in canines. If you have questions or concerns about the pets in your house, you can get them answered through a future column of Dear Didi. Email your questions or inquire about dog behavior presentations at firstname.lastname@example.org.