Here it is! The promised main dish after the appetizer of our (human) first aid kit. So what does the dog first aid kit for a cycling journey across Americas contain? Let’s get straight to the point.
What you can actually get depends very much on your vet. First we went to see a vet in London, in a clinic where we normally used to go, but it was one of those network clinics and every time there was a different vet. So when we explained what we are about to do and we will need some first aid for them, we were told to get some Manuka honey… yes, for real. That now they’re fine and they can’t give us anything. Not even a box of painkillers if they fall and break a leg in the middle of nowhere few days away from civilisation.
So then I popped to the vet clinic back home in Slovakia. One we used before we moved to the UK and all other family dogs use. And you should have seen the spark in the vet’s eyes when I told her about our upcoming adventure and what we may need. Even more so that we are both human doctors capable of administering intravenous medications. Well you already know from previous post, doctors get crazy about their stuff, both human and animal…
I’m not going to include regular internal and external anti-parasite prevention/treatment in dog first aid kit. That should be a common practice same way that regular vaccinations are. But what may be worth mentioning, is to do some research about the regions you plan to take your pet to. We found about the heartworm risk only when we started our house sit and we’ve been in the risky area for good few months already.
General dog first aid kit + injuries
This category is basically shared (+ few dog specific items) – same problems = same measures.
- Wound disinfectant – iodine based which doesn’t burn in wounds
- Bandages (normal + elastic)
- Sterile gauze – to dry, clean or cover wounds
- Tweezers or other tick remover (we use Tick O’Tom)
- Non-adherent dressing – even more important than to us humans. Animals don’t understand why we’re hurting them while changing the dressing, so we must limit it as much as possible (if you don’t have this type of dressing, wet the stuck regular dressing before the change with clean water and let it loose before removing)
- Tea tree soothing cream – for small scratches and abrasions, insect bites
- Suture kit + local anaesthetic + syringe – I’d rather not have to use this in the field. Even in the vet clinic it may take few people to keep the dog still to put a couple of stitches if they go into panic mode…
- As for splints, you should be able to craft a make shift splint from what you already have or is around (tent poles, sticks in the woods…)
- Same goes for stopping the bleeding. Direct pressure, pressure bandage, improvised tourniquet…
This is where the real fun starts!
- Painkillers – Previcox, anti-inflammatory and first choice painkiller we have, max. 4 days in a row
- Allergy medication – Prednisone tablets, we had to use it couple of times when Lolo had bad skin reaction to ticks (he ran into baby tick nest in Mexican jungle, hundreds of poppy seed size ticks caused swelling and induration…)
- Stomach/bowel medication
- Rehydration powder
- Diarsanyl – paste to help with diarrhea and vomiting
- Eye drops – at the beginning when you see yellowish/green discharge, you can stop infection by using disinfection drops like Opthalmo-septonex (human drug)
- Hydrogen peroxide solution – to induce vomiting, please read HERE when it’s NOT recommended to induce vomiting
- Entizol (metronidazol), bowel ATB
- Enroxil (enrofloxacin), wide spectrum ATB
- Antibiotic cream and eye cream – shared from our kit if needed
- Stomach/bowel medication
- Protexin – probiotics, during/after diarrhea or while on ATB treatment
- Quamatel – helps with vomiting (lowers secretion of gastric fluids)
This section is special for few different reasons. One is, this is not something that should be included in a regular dog first aid kit. We are going to be remote on this trip. Talking days away from the nearest village, definitely more from the nearest vet. If something happens to one of us, we can try to call for rescue/ambulance. But that’s not the case for Phoebe and Lolo. Other thing is, it was not their choice to go, although they’re enjoying it and are super happy to be with us 24/7, therefore it’s our responsibility to make sure they’re safe. That includes being prepared for various crises that we may encounter. And lastly, we’re capable of administering iv medications to humans. Hence the items listed below.
- IV cannulas/catheters, syringes, tourniquet, alcohol wipes – all the stuff necessary to secure a venous access
- Dexamethasone – number one reason why carrying all the IV access stuff. SEVERE ALLERGIC REACTIONS
- Pamba – helps to stop bleeding. In case of an accident and strong bleeding or in a place difficult to stop mechanically (mainly internal bleeding). Unfortunately it’s not a cure, but may help buy some time to get to the vet asap.
- Atropine – organophosphates and carbamates poisonings antidote (common fertilizers and insecticides)
- Vitamine K (phytomenadione) – antidote for rat poison
some normal saline or water for injections to flush down all the medications
Other than these I could also theoretically include things like their booties. Lolo had to wear one for about 10 days when he cut one of his paw pads pretty badly (and that’s just fatty tissue inside and fragile “black skin” on top so can’t really be sutured).
Our vet provided us great detailed instructions with dosing for each and every one of the medications in the dog first aid kit. I’m not including this here as that is specific for our dogs weights. Not only because of size difference, but certain breeds may not be able to take some medication for example. That’s why it’s super important to assemble personalised kit for your dog with your vet.
And of course, carry only what you know how to use. Otherwise, in the better case, it will be a useless dead weight for you and in the worst case might be harmful and dangerous!