Not all vacation spots have vets or even nearby pharmacies. Therefore, we recommend always bringing along a small first aid kit when you’re on vacation with your dog. We have combined a list of basic things to include in your first aid kit on your trip. Further down is an explanation of the need and use for each of them.
Here’s a list of items you should always pack as a first aid kit with you.
- Diarrhea medication
- Tick tweezers (normal tweezers if none available)
- Wound disinfectant (e.g. Betadine) + Cotton
- Hydrogen peroxide 3% + Syringes without needles
- Charcoal tablets
- Scissors and bandages
- Forceps or tweezers to remove stingers or splinters
- Muzzle (if available)
- Dog’s health and vaccination card (always keep it updated and clearly list allergies or health problems)
Let us explain why you need those items.
Especially if you’re heading to a destination by the beach, there is always the possibility of your dog drinking some salty sea water. In that case, your dog is very likely to experience diarrhea and vomiting afterwards. That’s normal and nothing to worry about, just make sure your dog drinks a lot of normal water not to dehydrate. Yet if it gets severe due to a combination of other factors likely to occur, such as change of environments, stress of travelling or change of water. In this case, you need to be prepared with the diarrhea medicine. You can read here about more tips concerning dealing with problems you might face with your dog on the beach, and how to deal with them, e.g. sand in eyes, ears and nose.
Sometimes, in certain areas, the gardens, yards or even beaches can bring on a dog parent’s worst enemies; ticks and fleas. Remove ticks with tweezers and make sure to get rid of them properly, best in a jar of water mixed with liquid soap. You can bring along a tick/flea shampoo but make sure not to use too frequently though. Read about properly bathing your dog here.
TIP: In case of a flea or tick infestation, you can use a light, diluted dish-washing soap to bathe your dog. Amount recommended should just be enough to create a dense lather and work it through for 5 minutes to suffocate fleas or ticks then wash off very well with clear water. Use with caution as some dogs are sensitive and could develop an allergy. If you know your dog has sensitive skin, stick to mild dog shampoos.
In case your dog gets wounded, it’s always a good idea to have a wound disinfectant with you like Betadine or any other disinfectant you are comfortable using. If your dog gets wounded, wet a piece of cotton with the disinfectant and clean the wound thoroughly. Repeat twice a day and keep your dog from licking it. In case of cuts or leg wounds use the bandage to cover the wound and keep it from getting infected or licked. Your dog will try to remove the bandage, make sure to keep an eye on your dog. If it’s a deep wound you must call your vet immediately. Cleaning a dog’s wound can cause severe pain and trigger an aggressive uncontrollable reflex. Put on a muzzle or if not available, tie a piece of bandage on the dog’s muzzle very shortly while cleaning the wound.
In case you suspect your dog has eaten rodent poison or strychnine, it’s crucial that you induce vomiting. One of the most common ways to do so is using hydrogen peroxide 3%, as per the instructions in the visual below. This is something you should do immediately as a first aid, until you reach the nearest vet.
Other types of poison like eating batteries, or poisonous plants will require you give your dog charcoal tablets immediately (mix charcoal with water and give it to your dog to drink to slow down the body’s absorption of poison till you reach the nearest vet. You can also give it to him/her orally by using a large syringe with no needle).
First aid measures will differ from one type of poison to the other. So it’s crucial that you call your vet immediately to make sure you’re taking the right course of action.
Finally, it’s recommended to carry the dog’s medical history and vaccination card. You might end up going to a completely new vet and it is important for the vet to be able to check on the dog’s medical history.
Have a safe trip!