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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
- 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
- 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.