If you own a pet, make sure you have a first aid kit at home. Here are several items pet owners should have in a first aid kit:
- Hydrogen peroxide 3% (within the expiration date) -- to induce vomiting Dogs only
Never administer hydrogen peroxide to any pet without checking with a veterinary professional first, as sometimes it's not appropriate to induce vomiting at home.
- Liquid hand dish washing detergent (i.e., Dawn, Palmolive) -- for cleaning potentially toxic substances off of pets, such as flea meds meant for dogs that may have been applied to a cat
- Rubber gloves
- Triple antibiotic ointment with no other combination ingredients Dogs only
- Alcohol wipes
- Bandaging material: absorbent gauze pads, adhesive tape, gauze rolls, sterile non-stick gauze pads, splints and tongue depressors
- Vitamin E oil
- Diphenhydramine tablets 25mg (with NO other combination ingredients) -- for allergic reactions or insect stings
- Ophthalmic saline solution or artificial tears -- to flush out eyes
- Can of tuna packed in water or tasty canned pet food -- for use when poisonous plants or cleaners that cause severe drooling or foaming are ingested
- Sweet electrolyte-containing beverage
- Corn syrup
- Vegetable oil
- Muzzle (an injured pet may bite)
- Carrier to transport pet to emergency veterinary hospital
Many of these items will help you provide first aid to your pet if it ingests a toxin -- however, always make sure to speak with a poison control specialist and/or your veterinarian first prior to initiating any therapies using these items at home. In the case of toxins, it is imperative to use the proper treatment protocol, which includes:
- knowing if the product ingested was poisonous to begin with,
- what the true antidote is, and
- if emesis (inducing vomiting) is warranted or medically indicated. It may not be!
Use of these items without veterinary advice can have unintended and sad results. And never administer any over-the-counter human medications to animals without speaking to your veterinarian first.