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Canine first-aid kit essentials

By Lara Borgerson, Best Friends Animal Hospital

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[April 04, 2013]  Every family that owns a dog should assemble a first-aid kit for canine emergencies at home and on the road. It should be complete, yet portable enough to take on trips, and should include the following items:

  • Cornstarch -- Apply in layers to help stop a bleeding toenail.

  • Cotton, bandages, tape and bandage scissors -- Contain bleeding wounds temporarily.

  • Hydrogen peroxide -- Induce vomiting when advised by a veterinarian.

  • Pet information card -- Include pet's name, owner's name, owner's address and phone number, microchip number, pet's weight, current medications and dosages.

  • Veterinary professional information card -- Include vet's name and phone number, poison control phone number and website (888-426-4435;, emergency clinic number.

  • Corn syrup or pancake syrup -- Rub on gums if low blood sugar is suspected.

  • Sterile saline eye wash -- Flush eyes if exposed to irritant.

  • Muzzle -- Practice applying in advance of an emergency. When a pet in pain needs to be transported to a safe area, it may attempt to bite.

  • Rectal thermometer and K-Y jelly -- The normal canine temperature is 100 to 102 degrees F.

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  • Blanket -- Can be used for comfort, warmth or double as a stretcher if needed.

  • Leash and collar

  • Medication -- Include extra dosages of current prescriptions and instructions if prescription runs out before a refill can be obtained.

  • Flashlight -- Use to closely examine injuries or to aid in a night emergency.

  • Benadryl -- Use for insect stings and subsequent acute facial swelling. Give a dose of 1 milligram per pound and call the veterinarian.

Keep this list with the items in the kit and replace items when used from the kit. Instruct every family member on how to use each item in the kit in preparation for most situations until veterinary care is obtained.

[By LARA BORGERSON, Best Friends Animal Hospital]

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