Accidents happen. It happens to be an unavoidable reality in the world of dogs. Whether the dog is a pet at home or a working dog, preparation for an accident can help minimize negative results. One great thing to have ready is a first aid kit.
In our case we have a small kit in the Chief Editor’s vehicle and one in the car I drive along with all the other various search and rescue equipment that I use. The only difference between the two is the amount of items that are stored in the kits. First aid kits can easily be modified to meet your needs offering a resource if the dog would suffer an injury and needs immediate attention.
The one thing I would note is that first aid kits are used as a form of first aid only. I use the kit only take care of the immediate medical threat to my K-9 partner. After that; get to a veterinarian. It’s the same as in emergency care in humans — we stop the bleeding and get to the hospital.
So what’s in our first aid kits?
First, our veterinarian and the poison control center contact information. We also keep: a nylon leash, 4×4 gauze pads, adhesive tape, tweezers, cotton balls, blunt ended scissors, rectal thermometer, self-adhering bandages, vet rap, and other misc. gauze. We also have a couple of bottles of sterile water, a gallon of water, Dawn dish soap and let us not forget, duct tape.
Now while on a deployment so that I may travel without a lot of weight on my person I carry a very small water proof bag with a couple 4×4 gauze pads, vet tape, a 2oz. container of sterile water and a tampon (for puncture wounds). My biggest fear is for Küster to run himself into a broken branch and puncture himself. Because his discipline is area search, the probability of this happening is very high.
Our team keeps a larger version of the first aid kit in our SAR trailer. It contains larger quantities of the same items plus a few more advanced items. We have a oxygen mask for a K-9, a folding pool for decontamination or cooling off the dogs, and a K-9 stretcher.
Many kennel clubs and sometimes even veterinarian offices will hold a K-9 first aid class. They discuss topics of wound care, over heating, and poisoning. I would highly recommend taking the class if the opportunity ever would present itself.
I understand that you can’t prepare for every event. That is not practical. Having at least the basics to administer the most basic first aid does give me some piece of mind.