Your Dog's Medicine Cabinet
by: Dr. Amy Wolff
Most of us keep a variety of medicines at home for those occasions when we
are sick or injured, but did you know there are some important medicines to keep on hand if your dog is not well? Here are
some of the commonly used items you should have on hand in your dog's medicine chest. Be sure to check with your veterinarian
before giving any medicines.
Hydrogen peroxide - Hydrogen peroxide should be in every dog's medicine cabinet.
Although most commonly thought of as a way to clean a wound, another important use is to induce vomiting when your dog has
ingested toxins, foreign objects, drugs or spoiled food. However, check with your veterinarian first because there are times
when it is best not to induce vomiting. Dogs won't drink peroxide willingly so buy an oral dose syringe or keep a turkey baster
on hand to help administer the liquid. Also check the expiration date; expired peroxide is not as effective.
Benadryl® - (diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine that is commonly used for
itching and allergic reactions. Dogs that have had a bee sting, insect bite or vaccination reaction often need a dose to calm
itchiness, facial swelling or hives. The dose is based on your dog's weight, so check with your Vet. They can tell you how
much you can give and when to give it.
Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate - Sometimes a dose of Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate
can solve a mild case of stomach or intestinal upset. However, Pepto-Bismol contains salicylates, the active ingredient in
aspirin, so dogs that are aspirin sensitive should be given Kaopectate. Any vomiting or diarrhea that persists for more than
24 hours needs your veterinarian's attention. Be sure to mention if you have given any Pepto-Bismol to your dog; the tablet
form of Pepto-Bismol looks just like a quarter on X-rays.
Triple antibiotic ointment - Topical antibacterial ointment is great for superficial
wounds, such as cuts and scratches. It works best when the wound is located where the dog can't lick it since most dogs will
lick off any salve you apply. It is not a good treatment for deep wounds, especially if they are dirty or bleeding, or the
result of a bite. These need veterinary attention.
Rubbing Alcohol - Isopropyl alcohol is often a good drying agent for ears.
Many dogs that have recurring ear infections can use a solution of alcohol mixed with vinegar to dry up a wet ear. Alcohol
should never be used in an ear that is inflamed or infected, or on a wound, as it burns when applied to damaged tissues. It
can also be used in cases where your dog is overheated. Heat stroke is a life threatening situation that requires immediate
veterinary attention, but alcohol applied to the pad of your dog's feet can provide some cooling while you are getting your
pet to the vet.
Bandages and Tape - It can be challenging to bandage a bleeding wound on your
pet. Most often an old sock and electrical tape are cleverly used as bandages when an emergency arises. Keep a pack of clean
or sterile gauze and some medical tape handy. Most bleeding wounds require pressure and tape will help keep the gauze in place.
Oral Dose Syringe/Pill Gun/Pill Splitter - Your veterinarian can supply you
with a handy little item called a pill gun. It is a long plastic tube with a plunger used to deliver pills to our less cooperative
friends. Some dogs just aren't fooled by that little meatball with the pill in the middle. The pill gun keeps you from having
to stick your hand/fingers into your dog's mouth when medicating him. An oral dose syringe will help you give liquid medications
accurately. A pill splitter will help you cut large tablets into equal portions if your pet requires a smaller dose.
Having these medications on hand is only half the job. Calling your pet's
doctor for proper instructions and potential side effects is the other. Never give your pet any medicine prescribed for people
unless instructed by your veterinarian.
I would add a few items to this list that are handy to have on hand.
A muzzle - handy in case your dog is frightened and being nippy while you
are trying to help them. A muzzle can even be made out of a strip of material or a pair of nylons.
A heavy duty, sharp pair of scissors and or a pocket knife - For cutting anything
you may need.
A tube of nutrical - These are vitamins in paste for and they are also high
in sugar to help keep young dogs and puppies blood sugar up. If you cannot find this then I would suggest either Karo syrup
or pancake syrup.
An extra collar and leash - just in case of emergencies you are sure to have
a way to control your dog. Even rope would be great in this case.
Blanket - great for wrapping around your dog to hold them still or to keep