Essential stuff to have on hand for puppy/dog parents, beyond the basics
January 30, 2014 7:33 PM   Subscribe

First time dog owner, everything is going great so far. Still I feel unsettled as I've never had a pet in my life before that I must be missing something. What do you all have on hand to treat your dogs in case of emergency or first aid needs? What other essentials beyond the basics do you like to have on hand for your dog? Any other tips and tricks you have for first-time puppy parent and dog owner are appreciated too!
posted by long haired child to Pets & Animals (20 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I keep this bookmarked just in case I need it: Human Medicines that Work for Pets.
posted by Houstonian at 7:45 PM on January 30, 2014 [9 favorites]

Put a water bowl in your car. Inevitably you will be somewhere and glad you have one. Also, poop bags.
posted by fieldtrip at 7:46 PM on January 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

Food and water bowls,
stuff to chew,
stuff to fetch,
stuff for treats,
kennel/baby gate(s) if needed,
bathing stuff,
nail clippers,
bed and/or blanky of their own,
a stuffie to snuggle with if puppy wants one,
licensing as needed for your area,
ID chip,
and people to adore.

Add a healthy dose of patience, and you've hit pretty much all their needs.
posted by stormyteal at 7:46 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

It is a nice to have a dog walker / dog sitter set up before you need it. I use the a company (for years now) and it is great, they know us and I really like their services for my cats. But it took awhile to find something in our price range. We also couldn't board one of our animals due to health issues that prohibited him from having vaccinations, so having in home services made a huge difference.
And, I got to introduce them to my landlord so there was no confusion.

Its good to have some cheap towels for accidents that may happen and cleaner that does not react to ammonia in urine.

A brush for fur. And for you lent rollers abound. One at the house, one in the car, one at work, one extra. Fur gets everywhere.
posted by AlexiaSky at 7:54 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's really difficult to anticipate first aid or medical supplies. Unless you're in an isolated area without access to an emergency vet clinic if needed, I wouldn't worry about this. Over time you'll learn how to treat minor stuff (scrapes, cuts, etc), but, typically if it's a medical emergency, you'll need a vet/clinic to treat it.

Try to develop a relationship with your vet. I recommend using someone small and local (as opposed to something like the local PetSmart vet (although they do good work, you can't call them in the middle of the night)). I have the home phone number for the two vet's we use, and am on first name basis with both of them, there's a lot of peace of mind in that! I know that, in an emergency, they would meet us at their office, even in the middle of the night.

I keep on hand some antibiotic cream, I also have some steroid cream to treat some of my pup's canine lupus symptoms... but, other than that, my vet's phone number is my best resource.
posted by HuronBob at 7:55 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Take all their paperwork. Pedigree, ID chip info, shots, license numbers, etc. etc. etc. Make copies and put those in a folder. Take the originals and put them in the place you keep the deed to your house and car titles.

That folder goes with us everywhere we travel.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:10 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

If your dog has any tendency to steal food or eat random things, having hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting is a good idea.

After a couple skunk run-ins we now keep a skunk smell remover recipe and ingredients easily accessible. Here is the one we use, which coincidentally also needs hydrogen peroxide.
posted by medusa at 8:25 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Supplies-wise, I get good use out of a pair of child safety scissors for trimming bits of fur when necessary (for those post-walk untanglable burs! and the between-the-pads-of-the-paws fur that seems to grow absurdly fast!). Having a designated pair of scissors means everyone knows it's ONLY for the dogs and kept with their supplies, and so I'll know where to find it when I need it, as it won't be commandeered or lost somewhere. I like having a container of baby wipes handy, too.

I also keep on hand a spray to treat hot spots; the one I like best is from Petco, Vet's Best, but there are a lot of options out there.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 8:26 PM on January 30, 2014

Best answer: In the car: You want to use a crate in the car, and you want to make sure that you have it in the passenger compartment, and not in a crumple zone (the cargo area of many cars is designed to crumple like a tin can to absorb energy in an accident). I have mine strapped to the child safety seat attachment points. On the handle of each crate, I have zip tied a transparent pencil case. In the pencil case I have the following:

1) A sheet of paper facing outward, that says in capital letters something like (I forget the exact wording):
The reason for this is that non-dog-savvy people may take the dog out of the crate following an accident, and freaked out dog may take off down the highway.
2) Another sheet of paper with the following:
a) Dog's name, age, important medical information, vet contact information
b) List of people authorized to take custody of the dog, along with phone numbers, e-mail, etc.
c) Further assurances of payment for veterinary care

First aid kit: I have a clear Lock & Lock container with a handle on top. On one side, facing outward, I have the phone numbers for my vet and poison control. On the other side I have the proper dosages for each of my dogs of common medications (Benadryl, hydrogen peroxide, etc.) because I know I won't be able to remember them in an emergency. Inside, I have the following (I'm surely forgetting some things but these are the most important):

- Hydrogen peroxide (for things you need to make them throw up) and syringe (the big kind--you can ask your vet to give you one)
- Activated charcoal in suspension (this is a liquid form of activated charcoal for poisons they shouldn't throw up--it comes in a squeeze bottle so you can get it down their throats)
- Benadryl
- Rimadyl (I get a few from my vet every year to have on hand)
- Immodium (make sure your dog isn't of a breed likely to have the MDR1 gene mutation if you use Immodium) or metronidazole
- A strip of sheeting to use as a muzzle
- A hemostat to stop serious bleeding
- Saline eye wash
- Tweezers
- Scissors
- A magnifying mirror & pen light
- Gauze
- Vet wrap
- Instant ice packs
- Thermometer and vaseline
- A first aid guide

On your phone: Veterinarian, e-vet, and poison control numbers in Favorites. You don't want to be Googling for phone numbers in an emergency.
posted by HotToddy at 8:27 PM on January 30, 2014 [17 favorites]

HotToddy...thanks! That's great info!
posted by HuronBob at 8:59 PM on January 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, please keep the answers coming. Anything you would tell a first time dog owner!
posted by long haired child at 9:21 PM on January 30, 2014

If your dog needs a general anaesthetic for anything, ask them to clip its toenails while it's under. My dog has 5 GA's over the years, and I haven't remembered yet. But I intend to!

Also, dogs REALLY like cat food, and dry cat food comes in tiny pellets so it can be a good training aid.

Congratulations and welcome to the wonderful world of dogs. If you haven't seen this, you might like it.
posted by superfish at 9:52 PM on January 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Get a headlamp. This will free your hands at night or in other darkness for picking up after the dog in the middle of the night (or just early evening if you live where I live) and makes it much easier to see what the crazy animal has decided to eat on the way back into the house.

Bookmark all the sites for the brands of foods and treats you feed your dog. This way, when there is a recall (and there will always be recalls), you can just zip over to the relevant pages and check to see if the particular thing you feed your dog is recalled.

Put all chocolate and all things with sugar substitutes up HIGH. These are poison to dogs. Also raisins. UP HIGH. A friend's dog died after eating raisins and it was devastating to everyone who knew that wonderful dog. Here is a list of other dangers:

Here are doses for OTC medications for dogs. Personally I find this list helpful for reference. I can see if my dog might be treated at home with something like this and then I can call and say, can I try this first? Then if it does not fix the problem, I take my dog in. Keep in mind some breeds may react badly to some medications. Always check with a veterinarian first.

Find out the hours of your regular vet, the policy of drop-ins, and what emergency vets they recommend, and where those emergency vets are located.

If you leave your dog with someone, even at your own house, include a packet with all the information suggested for in the car by HotToddy. This should also include numbers, directions, and maps printed out for emergency vet, along with something saying you authorize this person, etc.

Not an essential, but if you decide to go for a dog-tracking gizmo that does GPS or something, make sure that the gizmo runs on whatever coverage works in your area. My area has lousy coverage by all but one cell phone company so I found tracker gizmos that operate on that company's network.

Buy a book on training your dog to do tricks or scent games. You won't be sorry! Get a positive or clicker book. There are many wonderful ones out there and all you have to do is flip through and see which one is your style. Dogs love to learn. Everything is a game to them. The more you teach them, the more they will love it (and you).
posted by AllieTessKipp at 10:02 PM on January 30, 2014

That list Houstonian gave is much better than mine. Thank you, Houstonian.
posted by AllieTessKipp at 10:05 PM on January 30, 2014

Keep an extra set of house keys clipped to the leash (mine are on a caribeaner along with poop bags) so you're never locked out when you wash the dogs.

In addition to having my dogs' records in my "important files" place I also have scans of their rabies shots and such in Dropbox which I can access from my iPhone.
posted by radioamy at 10:59 PM on January 30, 2014

I got myself a 10-pack of cheap washcloths and marked DOG on them with a sharpie to use for cleaning up the inevitable doggie messes in the house.

Also, if your puppy ends up with diarrhea, first: it sucks, but it will happen. We've all been there. Second, pups will get better, but it takes time. When it happens, you'll need to feed puppy a bland diet. That's going to be plain white rice (not instant), and maybe some boiled chicken. Guess what...when you're busy cleaning up after a sick dog, the last thing you want to do is cook. So next time you're making rice, make some extra and stick it in the freezer - you'll need it eventually. Next time you buy chicken, buy a couple extra pieces, and boil those separately - no seasoning needed. Shred it and freeze it for later. Also canned plain pumpkin. That also helps an upset tummy. Pumpkin too, can be frozen in chunks until you need it for later.

I took a once-a-week class at Petsmart because I was a first time dog owner and needed somewhere to start. I didn't end up doing much of the homework, but it was still a very helpful class. It helped us bond, and taught me how to work with my pups. I recommend some sort of training class. It's more for you than the dog, and it's worthwhile.

Don't go overboard with the treats. They really don't need much food - at least it doesn't look like much. I go with 1.5 cups per day per 40lb of dog, and it's worked well for both of my dogs. When I am trying to train them and want the extra incentive, a few pieces of kibble are all they need. BUT, for the extra treats, baby carrots are great. And one dog loves cucumbers and green beans and sweet potatoes. All pretty good for her. The other isn't so food motivated...

And really truly, I will tell this to a first time dog owner: you are still the human. They are still the dog. Yes, you love them; yes they love you. But, your needs are more important. Your friends' needs are important when they visit you. You CAN put the dog into a crate, for its own good. You can put your own comforts over the dog's comforts. The world will be a better place, and your dog will be a happier dog if it's not completely spoiled. That said, of course you should love your dog and have fun with your dog and make sure he's a happy pup.

Congrats on the new doggie! Have fun and love them lots! Wait...where's the requisite puppy pic?!
posted by hydra77 at 11:34 PM on January 30, 2014

Styptic powder, if you're clipping their nails.
Nature's Miracle for accidents.
Tick Twisters- if you're using anti-tick products, you'll mostly need this for you.
posted by zamboni at 6:44 AM on January 31, 2014

A generic enzyme-based cleaner will work as well as Nature's Miracle, but you absolutely must have pet cleaner on hand. Surprised nobody mentioned a Furminator yet, but if you have a shedding breed you need one of these. Identify ratty household towels and designate them for dog use, keep one by the door for wiping down muddy dogs. All items will cut down on household mess.

I keep Capstar on hand to kill fleas instantly when I see a flea, and chase with Frontline. Frontline should be given monthly. Flea combs are cheap and it's better to have one on hand just in case you need it.

You will need the pet's chip info somewhere you can access anywhere you are. Also, keep the contact information of the company of the chip maker somewhere accessible, and call them immediately if you move or change your phone number. You won't realize the value of this until your dog takes off and you have to pick him up at the pound. While you are at it, get your dog licensed, or you will pay a fine on pickup.

I am with Pogo_Fuzzybutt in that in general you should carry copies of your pet's paperwork, including vaccination information, when you travel. The exception to this rule is when you are crossing the border with your pet, then you must bring the originals. Therefore I keep the original and up-to-date vaccination papers with my passport. Be aware of the import rules for pet food when you are crossing the border. I have never been questioned on pet food for use of the barking dog in the back of my vehicle, your mileage may vary. Certainly if you are traveling by plane you will need to be diligent in adhering to the rules. The food you feed your pet may not be commercially available in another country.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:00 AM on January 31, 2014

Oh, yes! Capstar and a tick twister are two things in my first aid kit I forgot to mention. I don't live in a flea prone area so when my dog picks up fleas when traveling, I find I can knock them out with a Capstar, a bath, and a good vacuuming. I've gotten rid of even a pretty serious case of them this way, and have never had to use a topical. If you don't live in a heavy flea area, don't assume that you necessarily need a topical. They're very hard on a lot of dogs. Capstar is considered to be extremely safe. It only kills the live fleas, not the eggs, but a little diligence and elbow grease will take care of the eggs, at least in my experience.

And I want to vigorously second the advice to keep chocolate and raisins UP HIGH. Last year my friend's beautiful, talented dog died a horrible death after getting into the baking chocolate. It was absolutely heartbreaking.

Also, dogs go into crates NAKED. No collars. I know someone whose puppy got its collar caught on the door and was strangulated. I make an exception to this when traveling because if the dog gets ejected from the crate in an accident I want it to have ID on it, as chips don't always get scanned, and anyway I'm right there and would hear if there were a problem. But otherwise, no collars in crates.
posted by HotToddy at 9:42 AM on January 31, 2014

If you don't have a vet, get a vet. Take the dog in to the vet for a quick checkup, just so that you get to know the vet and have all the paperwork on file there. That way, if you need to go, you will know exactly where to go and how to get there, and won't have to worry about full intake paperwork.
posted by wotsac at 11:12 AM on January 31, 2014

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