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5 Just-In-Case, Everyday Essentials for Dog Owners

Lots of articles focus on the importance of having emergency supplies for pets. But what about useful stuff that you can use for regular, everyday life? Here are a few everyday essentials for dog owners that can help when things happen during the course of normal daily living. Keep these things handy and you'll be well-prepared!

1. Pure, Canned Pumpkin

There are those inevitable times when our dog's digestive system isn't functioning quite the way it should be. Whether it's constipation or diarrhea, sometimes our pets need a little extra help to get things working better again. Pure, canned pumpkin puree is often used for both conditions; the high fibre content can help firm up loose stools, and can also help things moving again. As a bonus, many dogs love the taste!

Be sure to buy pure pumpkin puree - not pie filling. Keep a couple of cans handy in the cupboard just in case your dog needs them. A couple of spoonfuls on top of their food is usually enough. Of course, a visit to the vet may be in order if your dog's condition isn't resolving, is severe, or your dog is showing additional physical or behavioral changes.

2. Pet First Aid and Home Care Kit

There are lots of articles about assembling a good pet first aid kit (or you can buy a kit). Check to make sure your kit includes these important and useful items:

  • Oral syringes: these are incredibly useful when you need to get (liquid or watery) food, water, or medication into a pet who isn't feeling well. Various sizes can be helpful. Fill the syringe to the prescribed amount. Gently but firmly hold your dog's head still (do not tilt it up, just leave it level); then insert the tip of the syringe into the corner of his mouth. Steadily press the plunger to dispense the liquid - try not to blast any larger quantities into his mouth! If your dog gets anxious, back off a bit, encourage him and try again. Reward him when you're done.

  • Self-adhesive bandages: this easy-to-use wrap has many uses. Not only can you use it to cover wounds, you can use it to support an injured or sore leg; wrap around a sore paw to give it some extra padding; roll it together and/or braid to create a short, temporary leash; even use it as a short-use, emergency muzzle (wrap over the top of the dog's head for extra security - be sure your dog is able to breathe okay).

  • Basket muzzle: Many people associate muzzles with bad things, but they really aren't - dogs who wear them won't necessarily bite, but may simply have pro-active owners who want to show people that their dogs may need space (not feeling well, reactive or shy, injured or afraid). A basket muzzle is a good item to have around, for those 'just in case' situations. It allows dogs to pant (although not as well as being un-muzzled), to drink, and to eat. Use a reward and praise system to teach your dog to accept the muzzle and associate it with positive things. Start off slow and merely let the dog put his head into the muzzle while retrieving a treat. Gradually increase his exposure to the muzzle, buckling it up, and slowly increasing the time he's willing to use it (start with just a few seconds). Eventually he should accept it without fuss or stress.

  • Grooming wipes and waterless shampoo: for times when you need to give your dog a quick clean without having to give him a full bath. Also handy for dogs who are sick or recovering, who should not be submerged or exposed to water.

3. A Collapsible Pen or Crate

Even if you don't normally crate your dog, a folding dog pen or a collapsible crate can be very useful. They're easy to put up, easy to take down, and don't take up much space when they're not in use. Situations where they can come in handy include:

  • Unfamiliar or emergency situations, when you need to keep your dog confined and close to you.

  • When there's lots of activity in the house and you want a safe place for your pet to hang out. At times there may be people going in and out, in various rooms in the house; with the pen or crate, you'll be able to keep watch over your pet and make sure he's safely confined.

  • Sick or recovering pets: keeping them in a smaller, enclosed pen makes it easier to keep them quiet, keep an eye on them, and easier to clean up. The pen also keeps pets separated from one another so that the ill pet can rest peacefully.

4. An 'Important Info' File

There may come a time when you need to have important stuff about your handy. It might be because you need to leave home quickly (such as if you're being evacuated); the documentation can be useful if your goes missing; you may need to have proof of ownership if you need to reclaim your lost pet; or any situation where you just want to be able to look up this information fast.

Put together copies of all the important stuff about your pet in a folder and store in a safe place:

  • Recent photo - a close-up picture of the face, and a whole body photo too, if possible;
  • Records of identification numbers, including microchips, tattoos, and municipal IDs;
  • A detailed description of any unique markings, and photos of these markings;
  • Vaccination records;
  • Names of any medication your pet is taking, along with the dosages;
  • Feeding and care instructions;
  • Adoption papers, if available;
  • A list of emergency contacts;
  • A list of pet-friendly accommodations in your area as well as surrounding areas.

5. 'Pets Inside' Stickers & Wallet Card

A decal on the doors to your home can alert emergency personnel that there are pets in the home that may need help, too. You can buy these online, or design and print one from your home printer using printable sticker paper. If you design it yourself, keep the decals short and easy-to-read since emergency responders may only have a second or two to glance at it. Place a decal on each door.

Also carry a wallet card (or a card on your key chain) with this same information. If you are in an accident yourself, the card will let first responders know that there are pets at home may need care. This can be easily printed at home and laminated for durability, or for convenience you can buy one for a few bucks. On the card, put the following information:

  • Name, type, and breed of each pet;
  • Emergency contact info for someone you trust who can immediately step in and care for your pets until a longer-term solution can be found;
  • Where to find the 'important info' file you put together.

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Topic: Just-In-Case Essentials for Dog Owners
Cynthia R. Bank says...

My neighbors dog died of poisoning recently and it has been recommended by a vet. that anyone with a canine should have Activated charcoal in their canine emergency supplies. I have been told that this will significantly absorb any poison that has been recently ingested. This charcoal is also used in aquariums to filter/clean/detox. the aquarium water and can be found in any aquarium supply store. I would certainly call your vet. ASAP an act on his/her advice, but while traveling to the vet give the charcoal down the side of the mouth, as time is of the essence if you suspect your dog has been poisoned. I now this has saved many loved pets.

Pet Friendly says...

What a great tip, thank you!

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