There is something truly amazing about having any pet in your life, but the responsibility of a living being is tough and a much bigger responsibility then even my always dying plants.
I take Charlie to the veterinarians once a year for annual bloodwork and heartworm testing, vaccines (as needed), and any supplements and medication subscriptions. The rest of the year I keep an eye out for any symptoms that may signal something is off with her, especially since she cant speak for herself.
Working as a veterinary technician for many years I have witnessed countless critical pets who could have come in in better condition if they had some care from their owners back when symptoms started. One huge thing I found to be helpful is to have a pet emergency first aide kit in my apartment and in my car. I think its an easy way to prepare for the worst, it takes almost no time to make and costs very little if you build it up yourself. The first aide kit should never replace veterinary care but having it around eases my mind that in any situation I can help my pet out. All this seems like a lot for a pet, but they cant fend for themselves, so it becomes our responsibility.
1st step: Make an emergency contact list and place one on the fridge and one in your car’s first aide kit. I put each on an index card and include Charlie’s regular veterinarian, the closest emergency veterinary hospital and ASPCA poison control (800-426-4435). As a huge emergency precaution I also keep a copy of her vaccines in the car and a recent photo (in case she gets lost and pictures need to be posted anywhere).
2nd step: Build the first aide kit with all your medical pet essentials. I bought a human first aide kit from the local pharmacy and added/removed a few items. I made sure to keep gauze pads, wrap bandage and vet wrap in case of any nicks or cuts. Latex gloves are also a plus to help with any sticky or bloody situations.
Some will suggest keeping an antibotic cream and some hydrogen peroxide in your kit but I highly suggest getting the spray version as its easier to apply to a wiggly animal. I also keep sterile eye wash, in case anything gets into Charlie’s eye, and an ice pack to help cool down any hot spots or in case she gets over heated. Having a pair of small scissors and some tweezers also comes in handy to cut away any hair in the way and to help pull out any ticks (make sure to do it properly or bring your pet to the vet to have them remove any ticks). I asked my veterinarian about any over the counter medications I can give Charlie in case of emergency situations and she advised me on the correct doses of benedryl, immodium and buffered aspirin, which I keep in the car and at home.
3rd step: All the items in case of a medical emergency would be sufficient for a human first aide kit, but with a dog or cat, its good to have a few more items around. I keep a weeks worth of food in the car (make sure to change it out every few months), about 2 gallons of water, a bag of treats (to help coax a nervous dog), bug spray, emergency sleeping bag, a fleece blanket, paper towels & plastic bags, a flashlight and a swiss army knife.
I also always keep an extra collar and leash in the car and at home. It might seems a little over prepared but there have now been a few times where a freind or family member has spotted a dog loose on the streets and no one had anything to grab the dog with. A few handy treats, a collar and a slip leash has helped get the loose pet back into safe hands.
I fit all the stuff into a cute double plastic box and keep it tucked under the back seat of the car, and another box under the bathroom sink.
Have you made or bought a first aide kit for your pets? Here is your chance!
Your veterinarian can provide many helpful tips on what else you can pack but the essentials are definitly covered above. If any questions, please dont hesitate to ask me.
P.S.-Highly recommended extra step: Get your pet microchipped!