Saturday, Apr. 2nd 2011

Pet first aid kit

Veterinary Alternatives April 2011 Newsletter

Summer is approaching (I hope!) and with it comes vacations, camping, and other outdoor activities.  If you like to take your pets along on your excursions, you may want to pack a small pet first aid kit.  Below are some of my suggestions for items you may wish to take along.  You should also always have your pet’s vaccination records and contact information for your vet with you.  Also take along an itinerary of how you can be contacted at each stage of your trip in case you are separated from your pet—keep these on the pets crate, which they will ideally be inside when you are driving for everyone’s safety.


If you are taking homeopathic remedies along, make sure you remember not to touch the pellets with your fingers, but use the lid to pop them into your pets clean mouth and let them dissolve, so your own energies don’t interfere with their action.  I recommend using a 30C strength, and dose as needed when symptoms come back.  Don’t re-dose if the symptoms haven’t come back, or if the remedy hasn’t worked in three doses.  You only need 2-5 pellets per dose.


Here’s what I recommend for your pet first aid kit:

Tweezers to remove stingers, thorns, ticks, or other small foreign bodies.

A roll of vet wrap bandaging material and first aid tape, in case of leg or tail injury—make sure not to wrap too tightly or you can cut off circulation.

A few non-stick Telfa pads to cover wounds.

A small bottle of sterile saline to wash eyes out if contaminated with chemicals or dirt

A bottle of natural ear cleaner (see links on my website) or small bottle of cider vinegar (1 tsp per cup of water) to clean ears out after swimming to prevent infections


C.E. H. ointment (Calendula, Echinacea, Hypericum) homeopathic first aid ointment—available from Quintessence or Washington Homeopathics, get the lanolin base instead of petroleum base)—good for shallow wounds to speed healing (C), prevent infection (E), and ease pain (H).


Homeopathics: (these all work the same in people, by the way.  Dissolve under your tongue)

Arnica—for trauma, bruising, swelling, any injury resulting from trauma, pulled muscles

Apis—for insect bites and stings that lead to red, swollen, hot areas, or hives with similar presentation.  Take another dose when pain comes back.

Ledum—for puncture wounds, splinters, bite wounds

Symphytum (hope you don’t need this one)—for broken bones, after a few days of arnica—give daily for the first week to speed healing AFTER the bone has been set. Also for eye trauma.

Nux Vomica—for indigestion or other symptoms resulting from eating too much or too rich a diet (or cleaning out someone’s trash can), possibly also motion sickness. Also hangovers, in case your pet isn’t the only one who needs it.

Ruta—sprains, tendonitis, soft tissue injury around joints (dislocations)

Cocculus—also works for some motion sickness, vertigo

Rhus Tox—not for your pet, but can prevent poison ivy if taken before exposure, and can minimize reaction or ease itching if taken after development of the rash.  Take as needed to relieve the itching if you didn’t know you were exposed.  For prevention when you are in likely exposure areas, take every 2-3 days.


Peppermint and lavender essential oils may be helpful for car sickness, anxiety, and restlessness.  Place a few drops on a washcloth or the animal’s bedding—better to restrict this to dogs as cats may be overly sensitive to pure oils.  For cats, you can put a few drops into a spray bottle of water and spritz their area lightly after shaking well.

Ginger in fresh or dry form may be helpful for many stomach and digestive issues.  Just a pinch on their food, or even a sip of natural ginger ale, can ease nausea and indigestion.


Of course, you should take along an ample supply of your pet’s usual medications, supplements, and food.  Keep food cold if needed.  Home-prepared diets can be frozen in one day portions and if stored in a closed cooler with ice packs will stay frozen for several days unless you leave them in a hot car.


There are conventional human medications such as baby aspirin and immodium that are sometimes given to pets.  Ask your regular veterinarian if these may be appropriate for your pet and what dose they recommend, and be very careful with them!


Speaking of hot cars, NEVER leave a pet in a car if the temperature is over 70 degrees with the sun shining, or over 80 if completely overcast/raining.  Even partially open windows cannot keep the temperature inside the car from rising to uncomfortable or dangerous levels.  If you take your pet in the car with you on hot days, you should always be in the car with them so you can see if they are showing signs of distress.  Short-nosed breeds like Shih-tzus, Boston Terriers, and Bulldogs are particularly susceptible to heat stress and may actually have heat stroke simply from going for a walk on a hot afternoon.  Exaggerated panting, wide-open eyes, and hot skin are a sign your dog is suffering and needs cooling immediately!  An effective way to do this is get your dog someplace cool and run cool water over the groin, ears, feet, and tongue (but don’t choke them with it—make sure it is running OUT of their mouth, not towards their throat).  These are the areas a dog loses the most heat so cooling will be more effective than if you run water over their fur.  You may allow small sips of cool water, but don’t let them drink large amounts until they have cooled down and stopped panting.  And no food until several hours after such an event.


Enjoy your trip!


On an unrelated note, be sure to keep that Easter candy and Easter grass away from your pets!

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