Category Archives: Living With Your Dog

First Aid Kit

If your dog is badly hurt in your home or while out and about with you, you should know how to administer first aid until you can reach a veterinarian. A first aid kit tailored to your dog’s needs can truly be a lifesaver. If you you’re your dog on frequent outings far from home, you would be wise to keep a second first aid kit handy in your car.

A first aid kit for a dog contains many of the same items it would for a human.
Roll of absorbent cotton and some cotton balls, gauze pads and tape
Pair of small scissors with rounded tips
Instant ice pack
Hydrogen peroxide
Bulb syringe for suctioning mucous from mouth or nose
Sterile eyewash solution made specifically for pets
Clean, white cotton sock (to cover wounded paws)
Small flashlight
Rectal thermometer
Injection syringe without the needle (to give liquid medication)
Unflavored electrolyte liquid (like Pedialyte).

Keep everything in a sturdy plastic container with a secure lid. Write your veterinarian’s name and phone number on the lid, as well as that of the closest emergency pet hospital. If you travel often and leave your dog with another person, put several copies of a signed release form in the first aid kit authorizing the caregiver to approve necessary treatment.


The following is a list of CRITICAL EMERGENCIES
If your dog or cat has the following symptoms,
Call your Veterinarian IMMEDIATELY!

Bleeding that will not stop

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Choking
  • Gasping for air
  • A blue tongue

Injury or trauma from an accident including

  • bleeding
  • shock
  • broken bones
  • severe pain
  • dilated pupils

Signs of Shock

  • Weak and rapid heartbeat
  • Inability to walk/Staggering
  • Collapse
  • Irregular, rapid and shallow breathing
  • Trembling
  • Extreme thirst
  • Pinched and vacant expression
  • Glassy or dull eyes, with enlarged pupils and a staring gaze
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

Intestinal Emergencies

  • Bloated or distended abdomen
  • Swollen or painful abdomen
  • Vomiting or diarrhea with blood
  • Violent episodes of vomiting or diarrhea
  • Straining to urinate or have a bowel movement but can not.
  • Painful urination
  • Blood in urine or stool

Hyperthermia (Heatstroke)

  • body temperature over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • heavy panting
  • weak and lethargic

Seizures and Stroke

  • Convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Tremors,
  • Inability to walk, staggering
  • sudden blindness


  • bring the substance or ingredients list with you if you have it.

A sudden, drastic changes in behavior

  • Unusual aggressiveness
  • Sudden withdrawal
  • Stay calm.
  • Try to keep your animal calm and quiet.
  • Attempt to keep it from injuring itself further or others.
  • Be careful – Animals in pain can bite.
  • Do not attempt home remedies or to treat the animal your self.
  • Phone your veterinarian or other veterinary emergency service.
  • Relay ALL important information to the veterinary staff
  • WRITE DOWN all directions given you by the veterinary staff
  • Transport the animal as directed

Parasites – An Overveiw

Dogs serve as hosts to a number of parasites. You will probably be asked to bring a fecal sample to your dog’s yearly vet appointment, so that the staff can check for the presence of internal parasites. If you notice small, rice-like granules on your pet’s bedding or around her anus, she is suffering from an infestation of worms and needs to be seen by your vet to get proper treatment.Other parasites take up residence on the outside of your dog’s body. Mange and sarcoptic mites live on the hair follicles and skin of dogs, while ear mites live on the inside of the ear. These parasites are so small you might not see them, but they cause your dog extreme discomfort. Head shaking and pawing at ears are signs of ear mites. Frequent scratching and skin-biting can indicate either skin mites or a dog’s worst enemy-fleas.

Diet and Nutrition

When humans first domesticated dogs, we fed them scraps from our meals. Those early dogs did just fine on that diet. As our affection for dogs has grown over the centuries, so has our understanding of what our canine companions need to eat to live long, healthy lives. Research conducted by veterinarians and pet food manufacturers over the last decade have revealed more specific details about what a dog’s diet should contain.

Your dog’s food must be appropriate for her size, age, state of health and activity level. As you stroll the isles of pet supply stores or grocery stores, you’ll find a variety of food brands in a wide range of prices. A good basic rule of thumb is to buy the highest quality food you can afford. If you buy the cheapest food because you have a big dog that eats a lot, you must understand that what you save in food will affect your pet’s health.

It is important that your dog always eats some dry food. The crunchy pieces help keep her teeth clean and her gums healthy, and provide necessary fiber. If you choose to give your dog moist food in addition to dry, use it sparingly; a small spoonful mixed with warm water makes a good gravy over dry kibble. Some devoted dog lovers feed their pets home-cooked food. Dog-specific recipes can be found on the Internet and in books, but understand that this is not just giving your dog leftovers from your own meals. Homemade dog food is designed to meet the nutritional and digestive needs of dogs. Spices, fats, and fillers in human food often makes dogs ill.

Adult dogs should be fed two meals each day. Puppies need to eat more often. They should be fed three to four meals daily until they are 12 weeks old, then three meals daily until they are six months old. Many dog trainers advise against leaving food available all day, to prevent dogs developing picky eating habits. They suggest you allow 20 minutes for each meal. After this time, whatever has not been eaten should be picked up. Dry food can be held until the next meal, but moist food should be thrown away. It is very important to make sure your dog has plenty of clean water available at a all times.

The amount you feed your dog depends on her age, weight and activity level. Check the back of food or with your veterinarian to get an idea of how much your dog should be eating. Monitor your dog’s weight by running your hands along the sides of her body. If she is at the right weight, you will be able to feel her ribs without pressing. If you can’t feel her ribs, she is gaining weight and you should either slightly decrease the amount of food or increase the amount of exercise she gets. If you can easily see your dog’s ribs, she is underweight (except in certain breeds.)

Stool Eating

Coprophagia – Dog Eating Feces

Does your dog eat his or another dog’s feces or stool? This behavior, although quite unacceptable and embarrassing to humans, is quite natural and acceptable to dogs. In nature, nursing mother dogs eat the feces of their puppies in order to keep the den clean. Also, eating feces utilizes undigested material and can be viewed as a food source to most canines.

Research has pointed to several reasons for this behavior including nutritional deficiencies, boredom and habit. No conclusive reason has ever been found and it is believed that this may just be a normal behavior found distasteful by a dog’s human companions.

Feces should be picked up immediately from the yard to remove the opportunity to consume it. Bored dogs who are inactive or alone for long periods can become coprophagic. Exercise and stimulation are called for in these cases. Some veterinarians have suggested that the behavior may be cause by a deficiency of B vitamins and vitamin K which can be found in feces. Meaty diets often times result in aromatic stools so dry kibble is recommended. All such dogs should be fed a consistent, balanced diet in two or three short meals a day.

Several remedies have been tried to help treat coprophagia and different methods work on different dogs. One easy remedy is to add plain yogurt to your pet’s food. Yogurt contains live cultures of acidophilus , a beneficial bacteria, for a healthy digestive system. Acidophilus may also help with gas, bloating, diarrhea, dry skin, dull coat and bad breath.

There is a real danger of your dog picking up disease and parasites from eating feces of other dogs and animals such as rabbits. Simple aversion therapy can be done by letting the dog approach the stool on a long lead. If he starts sniffing it, give a strong leash check. If he passes by, praise him.

Car Sickness

Does your dog get sick every time he rides in the car? Does he jump all over you in a frenzy making driving difficult and dangerous?

Traveling with your pet can be fun and exciting, or it can be disastrous. Dog car sickness is the number one reason people do not travel with their dogs. Training, conditioning and planning ahead is the key to a successful trip and these guidelines can help.

If the only riding experience your pet has is to the veterinarian or groomer, he will be very nervous. Take him for short enjoyable rides that involve walks in the park or a treat stop. Once your pet can handle short rides around town, plan a “Practice Trip”, an afternoon ride with activities.

“Buckling Up” is not only for people Dog Car Sickness dog travel crate dog seat belt Buckling Up but for pets, too. Unrestrained pets can cause an accident by distracting the driver, and in an accident, will become a projectile. Pets also can bolt from a car and get lost in an unfamiliar area or run out into traffic. Purchase a dog travel crate or dog seat belt for your pet and include their use in your practice runs.

Including fun walks on your short trips can make riding more pleasurable and helps reduce dog car sickness. Consider applying a flea, tick preventative and repellent to protect your pet from diseases such as heartworm, West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease

Make sure your dog’s ID Tags or other identification is on his collar. Consider adding temporary tags with your cell phone number. Should your dog become lost or missing while away from home, you can still be reached immediately if you have your cell phone with you.

We often read headlines like “Dog Dies in Car.” The heat in your car can become unbearable within minutes, even on cloudy days. If you must leave your pet in the car for short periods, windows must be more than cracked. Window guards will allow air flow without letting without compromising security. Allow your pet free access to water and CHECK ON YOUR DOG FREQUENTLY.

The time you spend training and traveling with your dog is valuable time that you will both enjoy. It will increase the bond between you and help with socialization. If introduced successfully, car rides can open up a whole new experience of traveling and vacationing with your pet.