October 3, 2016

General Medical Issues

5 Supplies to Have on Hand For At-home Veterinary Care

by Aili V. Heintz, DVM

One thing the Girl Scouts always taught me was, “Be Prepared” (well that, and their cookies are so amazing…but that’s a different blog). As pet owners, we should be prepared for minor veterinary illnesses and injuries that we can address at home.

Inevitably, one pet will eat something it shouldn’t.  Another pet may get stung by a bee. Having a few things at home can help you be prepared for those unexpected events.  Consult with your veterinarian before administering any medication.

1. Benadryl (Diphenhydramine)

Benadryl is an antihistamine medication you can use for minor allergic reactions. Keep some Benedryl in your medicine cabinet to treat slight swelling from bee stings. The most common side effect of Benadryl is typically sleepiness.

Your veterinarian will be able to recommend the appropriate dose for the size and age of your particular pet. Please keep in mind that antihistamine alone may not stop severe reactions.  You may need additional medications from your veterinarian.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has a variety of uses. You can use it to clean minor skin scrapes. (Don’t use peroxide on deeper wounds as it can cause irritation). If your dog eats something he shouldn’t, you can give hydrogen peroxide orally to induce vomiting.

Please remember to first check with your veterinarian before attempting to induce vomiting. Your veterinarian can advise you as to the amount of hydrogen peroxide to use for your particular pet.  Keep in mind, vomiting is not always the best treatment.  Some substances, if vomited, can actually cause more severe problems for your pet.

3. Pepto Bismol

Pepto Bismol helps pets in the same way it helps people. It can soothe digestive issues like upset stomach and diarrhea. Your veterinarian can recommend the appropriate dose for your particular pet. Do not give Pepto Bismol to cats.

4. Bandaging Materialbandage

Keep bandaging material such as gauze squares, non-adhesive dressing pads, and vet wrap (flexible wrap) in your medicine cabinet.  Use bandages to protect minor scrapes and cuts.  You can also use bandages to help control bleeding while you transport your pet to the veterinarian’s office.

Your veterinarian should evaluate all cuts and wounds because some wounds may require stitches or antibiotics.  However, bandaging materials can help you protect the area until your veterinarian can evaluate the wound.  When placing a temporary bandage over a wound, do not apply the bandage too tightly.  A tight bandage can cut off circulation and cause swelling, pain, or further injury.

5. Rescue Remedy

Rescue Remedy is a natural product that helps to reduce overall stress and anxiety. Use this product at the first sign of stress to allow time for it to work. You can give your pet Rescue Remedy prior to a stressful event, like houseguests or thunderstorms, to help make your pet more comfortable.

Just like the Girl Scouts taught us, a little bit of preparedness can go a long way!

Please be advised that we never recommend giving medications to your pet without first checking with your veterinarian. Incorrect dosing or potential medication/supplement interactions could cause severe side effects and lead to worsening of health conditions. Always consult your vet BEFORE giving any new medication or supplement.