Your Dog's Medicine Cabinet
by: Dr. Amy Wolff
Most of us keep a variety of medicines at home for those
occasions when we are sick or injured, but did you know there are some important medicines to keep on hand if your dog is
not well? Here are some of the commonly used items you should have on hand in your dog's medicine chest. Be sure to check
with your veterinarian before giving any medicines.
Hydrogen peroxide - Hydrogen peroxide should be in every
dog's medicine cabinet. Although most commonly thought of as a way to clean a wound, another important use is to induce vomiting
when your dog has ingested toxins, foreign objects, drugs or spoiled food. However, check with your veterinarian first because
there are times when it is best not to induce vomiting. Dogs won't drink peroxide willingly so buy an oral dose syringe or
keep a turkey baster on hand to help administer the liquid. Also check the expiration date; expired peroxide is not as effective.
Benadryl® - (diphenhydramine) is an antihistamine that is
commonly used for itching and allergic reactions. Dogs that have had a bee sting, insect bite or vaccination reaction often
need a dose to calm itchiness, facial swelling or hives. The dose is based on your dog's weight, so check with your Vet. They
can tell you how much you can give and when to give it.
Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate - Sometimes a dose of Pepto-Bismol
or Kaopectate can solve a mild case of stomach or intestinal upset. However, Pepto-Bismol contains salicylates, the active
ingredient in aspirin, so dogs that are aspirin sensitive should be given Kaopectate. Any vomiting or diarrhea that persists
for more than 24 hours needs your veterinarian's attention. Be sure to mention if you have given any Pepto-Bismol to your
dog; the tablet form of Pepto-Bismol looks just like a quarter on X-rays.
Triple antibiotic ointment - Topical antibacterial ointment
is great for superficial wounds, such as cuts and scratches. It works best when the wound is located where the dog can't lick
it since most dogs will lick off any salve you apply. It is not a good treatment for deep wounds, especially if they are dirty
or bleeding, or the result of a bite. These need veterinary attention.
Rubbing Alcohol - Isopropyl alcohol is often a good drying
agent for ears. Many dogs that have recurring ear infections can use a solution of alcohol mixed with vinegar to dry up a
wet ear. Alcohol should never be used in an ear that is inflamed or infected, or on a wound, as it burns when applied to damaged
tissues. It can also be used in cases where your dog is overheated. Heat stroke is a life threatening situation that requires
immediate veterinary attention, but alcohol applied to the pad of your dog's feet can provide some cooling while you are getting
your pet to the vet.
Bandages and Tape - It can be challenging to bandage a bleeding
wound on your pet. Most often an old sock and electrical tape are cleverly used as bandages when an emergency arises. Keep
a pack of clean or sterile gauze and some medical tape handy. Most bleeding wounds require pressure and tape will help keep
the gauze in place.
Oral Dose Syringe/Pill Gun/Pill Splitter - Your veterinarian
can supply you with a handy little item called a pill gun. It is a long plastic tube with a plunger used to deliver pills
to our less cooperative friends. Some dogs just aren't fooled by that little meatball with the pill in the middle. The pill
gun keeps you from having to stick your hand/fingers into your dog's mouth when medicating him. An oral dose syringe will
help you give liquid medications accurately. A pill splitter will help you cut large tablets into equal portions if your pet
requires a smaller dose.
Having these medications on hand is only half the job. Calling
your pet's doctor for proper instructions and potential side effects is the other. Never give your pet any medicine prescribed
for people unless instructed by your veterinarian.
I would add a few items to this list that are handy to have
A muzzle - handy in case your dog is frightened and being
nippy while you are trying to help them. A muzzle can even be made out of a strip of material or a pair of nylons.
A heavy duty, sharp pair of scissors and or a pocket knife
- For cutting anything you may need.
A tube of nutrical - These are vitamins in paste for and
they are also high in sugar to help keep young dogs and puppies blood sugar up. If you cannot find this then I would suggest
either Karo syrup or pancake syrup.
An extra collar and leash - just in case of emergencies you
are sure to have a way to control your dog. Even rope would be great in this case.
Blanket - great for wrapping around your dog to hold them
still or to keep them warm.