First Aid Prep for your Primitive Dog

Accidents happen, even with a hardy primitive dog. Since most owners take their dogs into natural settings, things happen. Scratches from fences, bites from insects, etc. You don’t even have to leave your yard. Wildlife that decides to take up residence in the yard of a primitive dog, can also cause injury. So it’s a good idea to be prepared ahead of time. This means building a first aid kit and keeping it accessible. I keep mine in my car.

Before you stock your first aid kit with supplies, place an up to date copy of your dog’s health records. Ask for your full health records, not just vaccinations. If you are ever traveling and your dog has a medical emergency, those full records will be a godsend for the vet you take your dog to for treatment. Ideally, store these records in a plastic bag to keep them from getting damaged.

It is also a good idea of keep identification paperwork for you, your veterinarian, and any emergency contact information. You can keep that with your dog’s records or in a separate bag. If you crate your dogs when traveling, you can purchase attachments for your crate to store this important information.

A good first aid kit contains supplies to treat injuries, but also to help manage your dog’s emotional state. If your dog is muzzle trained, have a muzzle in with your supplies. Also, pack a leash. The leash is there in case yours breaks, you find a lost dog, or it can be used as an emergency muzzle if your dog is injured and trying to protect itself. To turn a leash into a muzzle, fold it in half and make a loop. Slip the loop over your dog's nose and then wrap the leash under their chin and around their neck. Only do this in an emergency to keep you safe while treating them. Here is a video on how to make an emergency leash muzzle:

Now you’re ready to purchase supplies! Here is a list of supplies and what they are used for:

  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray
  • Blanket (a foil emergency blanket)
  • Blunt-end Scissors
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), if approved by a veterinarian for allergic reactions. A veterinarian must tell you the correct dosage for your pet's size.
  • Gauze rolls (for both wound care and splints)
  • Glucose paste or corn syrup (for diabetic dogs or those with low blood sugar)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
  • Instant Ice pack
  • Needle-nosed pliers (for if your dog gets caught on something)
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Non-prescription antibiotic ointment (for small abrasions)
  • Paper towels
  • Penlight or flashlight (to look for wounds, stingers, or insects hiding in your dog’s coat)
  • Petroleum jelly (to lubricate a thermometer)
  • Rectal thermometer (your pet's temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
  • Rubbing alcohol “isopropyl” (for cleaning non-disposable equipment)
  • Splints and tongue depressors (to stabilize possible broken bones - use a muzzle before attempting to stabilize a suspected broken bone)
  • Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
  • Sterile saline solution (to clean wounds)
  • Styptic powder (to stop the bleeding of broken nails)
  • Tweezers
  • Vet Wrap (to hold gauze in place and dissuade your dog from removing dressings while you transport them to the vet)

You can purchase a premade kit but check what is included.

Keep your kit where you will have it in an emergency. As I mentioned, I keep mine in my car since I can access it when away from home, if I found I lost or injured animal, and even from my house, if there is an emergency there.

Check your kit yearly for expiration dates. Don’t keep supplies that are past those dates. Replace supplies quickly after using or discarding them, or you will forget to replenish them. And any time you need to use your kit, call your vet. Even small abrasions or injuries may need medical attention.

Do you have a first aid kit? Or maybe a story of how you needed one? Tell us about it in the forums or Facebook community.