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Are you Prepared?

Summer has officially arrived, and the school year is ending. Thus, it’s time for many of us to prepare for a family vacation which quite often includes our four-legged family members.

If you are not planning to travel out of the country and instead are looking to spend time at a cottage or other type of country retreat or planning a road trip and camping along the way, you should be sure that you pack a First Aid Kit.

While many of us may carry a supply of bandages and other items in case our children get cuts and scrapes, it is also a good idea to pack a First Aid Kit for your pets. You can purchase kits at most pet supply stores or alternatively you can make up your own.

Your kit should include swabs or cotton balls, 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, blunt end scissors, tweezers, an antibiotic ointment, alcohol wipes, styptic powder, baking soda, a saline eye solution, Benadryl, towels, gauze pads, a couple of socks that will fit over your pups’ paws, adhesive tape, and a flashlight.

If your pet is running through a forested area or along a waterway and snags a dew claw or cuts his foot pad on a rock or piece of glass, you need to dress the wound to stop the bleeding. In this case, clean the wound and remove any debris or glass and using styptic powder or baking soda, apply to the wound and wrap with gauze. You may also want to put a sock over top and secure the bandaging with tape.

If your pet is bitten or stung by a wasp, bee, spider, etc. you should cleanse the area with peroxide, remove the stinger with tweezers, and apply a thick paste of baking soda and water to the sting site. If your pet has

multiple stings, you should apply an ice pack to the area to help reduce swelling. You may also give your pup Benadryl which is a safe antihistamine for pets. It is recommended that the dose for a dog is 1 mg per pound and most tablets come in 25 mg sizes. If you have a smaller pup, you may want to try Children’s Benadryl which would be a 12.5 mg tablet, or it can also be given in liquid form. If your pup has only one sting, he should be fine within a few hours, but you should watch and be sure that he doesn’t have an allergic reaction. If your pup has multiple stings, do as much as you can to ease the pain and keep him calm and then seek medical attention from a vet.

In Ontario there are approximately seventeen types of snakes, but the only poisonous snake is the Massasauga Rattlesnake. These snakes live along Georgian Bay and the Bruce Peninsula and can also be found in Wainfleet and Ojibway prairie in Southwest Ontario. If you are planning a camping trip or hiking in these areas, signs will be posted warning of the dangers, but it would be advisable to take your pup to a vet beforehand to get vaccinated. This snake is shy and would not normally attack a human but, if your pet comes across one and the snake is startled or feels threatened, it will bite. Although the vaccination will not totally protect your pet, it will buy you some time. A venomous snake bite can be deadly, and you need to seek immediate emergency care. Call 911 immediately and get instructions as to where you can go for immediate help.

While out camping or walking in any wooded area, always keep your eyes out for ticks that may have attached themselves either to your clothing or to your pet’s fur. You should be sure that your pet is on a vet approved tick and flea treatment, so he is not likely to get Lyme disease which is carried by deer ticks. Always inspect your dog’s fur thoroughly after a walk in the woods or park and remove any ticks you may find. You should also cleanse the area and apply an antibiotic ointment.

There are various courses offered in Ontario for animal first aid which are very informative and can be extremely helpful in case of an emergency. Any number of things can occur while away from home on a vacation so be prepared before you leave and enjoy all that summer has to offer.


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