- DETERMINING WHAT IS NORMAL It is important that you be able to assess your pet’s physical condition in order to evaluate his needs, especially since many animals are stoic and will not show pain or discomfort. One of the MOST important factors in evaluating your pet’s condition is to know what is normal for him or her. Take time BEFORE an emergency to check your pet’s normal temperature, pulse, color and respiration.
- To take your pet’s temperature, use a rectal thermometer. Put some kind of lubricant on the tip (Vaseline, oil, etc.). Carefully insert the thermometer about 1 inch into the rectum. Keep the thermometer in place for 60 seconds, then remove it and read the temperature. Most dogs and cats have temperatures between 101 and 102 degrees F. To check pulse, you can often feel the heartbeat by placing your hand on the chest behind the front legs, or by feeling for a pulse along the inside of the back upper leg. The animal’s color can be assessed by looking at the gums or tongue, and the respiration rate can usually be observed by watching the chest.
a) Hemostat or tweezers – (use to pull out thorns or as a clamp). Hemostats are like fine locking pliers or clamps. They are excellent for grabbing onto things like sticks, thorns, ticks, or anything else that may be caught in your pet’s mouth or skin.
b) Thermometer – (normal temp in dogs and cats is 101 to 102 degrees F). A low temperature can indicate a very sick animal or hypothermia. In either case it is very important to warm the animal. A high temperature can indicate infection or hyperthermia. Temperatures above 106 or 107 degrees can cause brain damage to your pet.
c) Styptic powder – This is most useful for stopping bleeding caused by torn toenails.
- Bandage material – A variety of bandage materials can be used to cover wounds to keep them clean, to provide pressure to help stop bleeding, to cover an injured area so your pet doesn’t lick or scratch at it, to act as a temporary tourniquet or muzzle (even docile animals will snap hard if in pain), or to stabilize or protect a body part.
- 1 roll cast padding or soft bandage
- 1 roll adhesive tape or “sticky” bandage
- 1 roll “Vet Wrap”
- Gauze Squares
- 1 roll gauze (can be used for tourniquet, muzzle)
- Syrup of Ipecac – (use 1 teaspoon per 10 lb. dog to induce vomiting_. If your dog does swallow something poisonous, the best treatment is to get it out of the stomach, UNLESS it is something irritating or caustic. Two of the most common poisons seen by veterinarians are rat poison and antifreeze. Ingestion of either of these is an emergency
- Artificial Tears – (To soothe or flush eyes). You can carefully use your hemostats to remove sticks or other foreign objects that may get into your pet’s eyes.
- 325 mg Buffered Aspirin – (use 1 per 50 lbs for sore muscles, pain). This is very effective for reducing inflammation from sore muscles or joints. It can help alleviate your pet’s discomfort if injured. Not all dogs should take aspirin. Dogs may usually have aspirin every 8-12 hours. Cats are very sensitive to aspirin and should never be given aspirin more than once every 72 hours. Tylenol is poisonous to cats. Check with your veterinarian before giving any medications.
- 25 mg Diphenhydramine (HCI) – This works well in reducing allergic reactions to insect bites. These reactions can be serious if a pet is stung in the mouth, since swelling could block the windpipe. Check with your veterinarian before using this medication
- Whistle – (to signal for help if hiking). If you or your pet is injured, you may often need this to attract help.
- Triple Antibiotic Ointment – (for cuts and scrapes). This helps our pet avoid infection, as does bandaging.
- Rescue Remedy – (give 2 drops on tongue every 5-15 minutes in case of shock or trauma). This is a human homeopathic remedy used to treat stress or shock. This can be used any time an animal is stressed or injured.
- Arnica – (give 2 drops on tongue every 15 minutes for muscle injury and other trauma). A homeopathic remedy that is very safe for your pet.
- Antiseptic Solution – for flushing wounds (hydrogen peroxide, chlorhexidine). Use this to clean out wounds before applying antibiotic ointment and bandaging.
- Scissors – Use to cut bandages. A knife is also very useful.
- Blanket – Animals often to into shock when injured. A blanket will help keep them warm. It can also double as a stretcher.