Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Dog First Aid

**This post will remain on top. Check for updates from time to time below

My education is in Veterinary care. I put together this information as a post on my main blog but so many people came there seeking this information I decided to put it in one easy to find location.

If you have a question please post it in the section marked "questions" and I will reply there within 24 hours. I am happy to answer any questions you have but I discourage people from posting their own ideas and information about Veterinary medicine. For example I had a little boy who worked at a pet store leave a public comment suggesting people use a medicine which was very dangerous for dogs and potentially fatal.
I hope the info you are seeking is here, if not please ask your question.

Baby Aspirin or uncoated 81 mg heart health aspirin:
My dog has pain / fever / inflammation.
The aspirin dose for a dog is apx 80 mgs per 15 pounds. Never use aspirin for a cat and never use Tylenol or Ibuprofen on a dog or cat. Depending on the severity of pain you can repeat the dose every 8 - 12 hrs but you shouldn't continue for more than a few days because it is hard on their tummies. I only give it after a full meal.

My dog has had an allergic reaction / hay fever / bee sting / insect bites / scratching / chewing on his feet or body / is swollen.
If you have a dog you should carry Benadryl with you where ever you go with your dog in the warm months. It could mean the difference between life and death. Seriously, a dog can die from a bee sting.
The dose is apx 10 - 12 mg for every 20 pounds of dog. Don't worry, you are not going to over dose your dog if you are a one or two mgs over. The tabs are 25 mgs. So if your dog is 35 - 40 pounds that is perfect. If you have a small dog like me, split the pills in half.
When a dog gets an allergic reaction we instinctively want to double the dose, don't. It won't really hurt them but it could cause dysuria (pain when peeing), dry mouth and even more lethargy than Benadryl normally causes.
**Never use liquid Benadryl, it contains alcohol which is a dangerous to dogs and in some cases even fatal. Don't do it, don't even think about it!!!
I should also mention that if a dog is chewing at his feet he may have something stuck in a pad, like a grass seed. This can be very painful and get infected. You may need a Vet to remove it for you.

My dog has diarrhea and other gastro problems
I recommend that before you medicate a dog for Diarrhea you try feeding him a mixture of 4 parts cooked rice to 1 part cooked ground beef. Failing that the dose is 1 teaspoon twice a day for ever 10 pounds of dog. So, if you have a 20 pound dog give 2 teaspoons and 12 hrs later give another two teaspoons.
Pepto-Bismol contains an ingredient called "salicylate", this is a fancy word for aspirin. Aspirin can kill a cat and a very painful, horrible way. Although in very small dose you can use Pepto on a cat I don't recommend trying it. Talk to your Vet.

Milk of Magnesia
My dog is constipated.
Like with anything else you want to be sure that your dog isn't constipated due to a serious illness. However sometimes things like a change in diet or stress can cause a dog to become constipated. The Milk of Magnesia dose is 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of dog.

My Dog Is Bleeding / Cut:
If your dog is seriously injured he will be frightened and prone to biting, keep that in mind and if you are able to get help restraining him do so. Reach under the dogs head and press the side of his neck and head against you. This way you won't hurt him or choke him.
Find the wound location. Is the cut spurting blood, flowing blood quickly or just a cut / bite / puncture wound?
If the wound is spurting blood or the blood if flowing rapidly there may be an injury to a vein or artery.
You must apply a tourniquet. You can use just about anything for this purpose, even a shoelace if you have nothing else. Apply the tourniquet a couple inches above the wound. Just tight enough to stop the blood flow, any tighter and he may loose his vein or worse, depending on how long the tourniquet is on. You must get to the Vet ASAP. If it takes time to get there move the tourniquet up an inch every 15 minutes. Preferably you will have a second tourniquet so you can place the new one before moving the old one. Remember blood comes from the heart, so if you are able to keep the leg above the heart.
When the dog has a cut which has not affected a vein or artery dress the wound. Clean the wound with a little peroxide or soap and water. Flush gently with cool water, pat dry with a clean paper towel. Apply nonstick or "ouch less" pad and wrap with a tensor bandage. Keep the wound clean and apply a fresh dressing a few times a day, watch for signs of infection. Polysporin is safe for dogs if you wish to add a little to the nonstick pad. Personally I do not use antibiotic or antibacterial medications unless there is infection present or it relates to the eyes. You will need to judge for yourself if the dog needs Vet attention for the wound.

My Dog Has Ingested Poison:
If your dog has ingested a poison such as antifreeze, cleaning product or a large quantity of chocolate (or any chocolate with a high cocoa content) you must induce vomiting and get to a Vet ASAP. Inducing vomiting is easy, get the dog to drink some peroxide. It is not poisonous or fatal to the dog but it is a highly effective emetic. The dose is 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds of dog. You usually don't have to force feed peroxide, they like it.

My Dog Is Itchy / Has Flea Bites / Has Rash:
If your dog is itchy and you know the cause you can make him more comfortable with Calamine lotion. It is perfectly safe but like anything else they want to lick it off. It you apply it to an area of the dog where they can reach, and they lick at it simply cover with a little gauze and tensor bandage.

My Dog Has Scratched His Eye / My Dog Has And Eye Infection:
In both cases you can use Polysporin Eye (sterile antibiotic for infections of the eye)
If the infection or scratch hasn't noticeably improved in 24 hours get to the Vet. You don't want to mess around with your dogs eyes. If you are treating an infection yourself keep the treatment going 3 - 5 applications a day for 5 - 7 days.
When you are using any kind of antibiotic the first half of the treatment is for the infection and the second half of the treatment is to prevent secondary infections.

There are lots of human meds that you can use for a dog, just make sure you don't try any without checking a reliable resource first (NOT A PET STORE!).
You should have a little first aid kit for your dog. All you really need a a big ziploc bag. If everything is in one place there will be less confusion when it is needed. Here is a sample list of the types of things you should have in your kit.

Nonstick pads
Gauze (pads and roll)
Tourniquet (is twine or shoelace)
Tensor Bandage
Scissors (to cut bandages etc.)
Alcohol pads
Benadryl (probably the most important medication)
Polysporin for Eyes
Calamine Lotion
Pepto-Bismol (refrigerator)

While working at the Vet clinic we had one serious reoccurring problem. Owners who made the sometimes tragic error of asking the petstore for advice instead of us.
I suppose people did it to save a few bucks but in doing so they ended up with a pet who was much more ill than it needed to be and on a few occasions, DEAD.
How anyone could think a kid with high school education and minimum wage is capable of providing the same care and advice of a person educated in Veterinary care is beyond me.
It is heartbreaking to think of the number of times we asked people, "why did you do that?!" That was the worst thing you could have done!" Why did you let this go on for so long?!" The reply always came back the same, "the pet store said so" or "the pet store said it wasn't serious."
Pet stores are in the business of selling, that is all. Unfortunately, peddling misinformation helps them to keep business up. Remember, Pet Stores have always been the single largest problem in animal welfare. Buy your pet food there not your medical care, your pet will thank you, he will be able to because he will live to do so.

Stupid Disclaimer:
This information is not meant to replace the care of a Veterinarian. I know first hand that not all of us can afford to go to the Vet every time the dog has an off day. This information is meant to stop people from doing the wrong thing or worse, nothing at all. It is also intended to make sure that in emergency cases you know what to do to improve your dogs chances before you get to the Vet.

Yes, you have permission to repost this document on the Internet or reprint it, as a matter of fact I encourage you to do so. I would appreciate credit with a link back to me of course.

Had to close comments due to harassment. Sorry, I guess some people have nothing better to do with their time...

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