Our expert, Carol has been a practicing Registered Nurse for over 40 years. In her free time, she cares for her two Shih Tzu dogs, although she has had experience with all kinds of dogs and other pets. She is a co-leader of an online Dog Care Group, dispensing practical medical advice with alacrity, tact and compassion.
These tips are intended to help you during times when you are traveling and away from your regular vet, at times when the vet’s office is closed, or when various other situations prohibit an immediate call or visit to your vet. As soon as you have stabilized any problem, please seek veterinary assistance.
Hot spots and rashes: Hydrocortisone Spray (find it in most chain pharmacies) is good for treating scratches, “hot spots” or any rashes that may appear on your dog. Help your dog to avoid licking it.
General unusual itchiness: Bactine is also good for soothing itchy skin.
Severe discomfort: If your dog is itching a lot, you may give ½ of a 25 mg. Benadryl tablet to all dogs above 12 pounds. Under 12 pounds you should give ¼ tablet. This also works well as a sedative, if your dog is anxious (thunderstorm or other scary situation). But never medicate for an airplane flight and do not use sedatives in place of attention and soothing activities for storms. (Going into a tiled bathroom, ceramic tub, shower stall or even an underground basement also calms a dog in a storm.)
If your pup tends to lick sore spots: you can apply Noxema, then wipe it off in 5 minutes (use a cool washcloth). It will have soothed the area by then, but what residue is left will not be harmful if licked.
For any kind of mild burn: Solarcaine Spray will alleviate the discomfort.
For diarrhea: ½ childrens Pepto Bismol tablet MR 2 X. CAUTION: Pepto Bismol has Salicylate, an aspirin like prep, so this is not recommended if dog is vomiting. For diarrhea with vomiting, use Immodium tabs instead.
For diarrhea: Alternately (with or without vomiting) give ¼ adult Immodium tablet. May repeat 3 times a day.
For loose stools: feed boiled chicken breast and white rice. CAUTION: Do not use prepared (canned) chicken broth from the grocery store, as it usually has onion flavoring and anything with onion should not be given to dogs. When you boil the chicken, you can freeze the remaining unused broth so you always have some available in case you need it. Boiled lean ground beef can also be good, as long as it is cooked in water and drained well. White rice is now available in a cooked already version (Uncle Bens) and you don’t need to heat it! Comes in pouches found in the rice section of the grocery store.) Canned pumpkin is good for bowel issues also; one tablespoon is usually all it takes. The rest can be frozen and put into baggies & stored in the freezer to minimize waste.
For constipation: Only if you find the dog’s belly is soft and not painful to touch or bloated, you can use ½ tsp of Milk of Magnesia.
If your dog develops a reddened outer ear and it has a yeasty smell, you can use clotrimazole cream (found at most groceries and pharmacies in the foot care section) and some hydrocortisone cream. Apply with a soft cotton swab (do not poke the swab into the ear canal) or cotton pad. Stroke the dog and try to prevent him/her from shaking the head for at least five minutes. Most often itchy, reddened outer ears are due to a yeast infection and while this needs to be looked over by a vet, this treatment will help a doggie be more comfortable until you can see your vet.
For pain, ¼ to ½ baby aspirin can be given with some food once a day. If the pup weighs 15 pounds or over, ½ tablet is the dose we’ve used. If 8-15 pounds, you can use ½ tablet. Give with food. Try to use the enteric coated aspirin as it is gentler on the tummy.
In case of ingesting:
Administer 1 or 2 droppers of hydrogen peroxide orally to induce vomiting. Use a children’s flexible dropper when possible. Do not induce vomiting if your dog has swallowed anything bulky that will not come out easily, like a popsicle stick or any large solid mass. In the case of the latter, rush to the vet.
Cut paw pad:
If a dog has a cut paw pad, you can clean the area with hydrogen peroxide or Bactine. Apply some gauze squares to help the blood clot and wrap the foot with a neoprene bandage which adheres to itself and doesn’t need to be taped. Get the dog to a vet asap since the pad may need sutures or firmer bandaging.
Broken bone: If you suspect a bone has been broken in the leg or foot area, you can bandage to try to keep it immobile, and get the dog to the emergency clinic asap. To bandage, fold cardboard over to do a makeshift splint, wrap the leg snugly with the neoprene bandage to keep area stable.
Home Made Emergency Kit:
It is recommended that you always keep 5 items with you in your home first aid kit, or when you travel with your dog: a thermometer to check the dog’s temperature; a ¼ inch roll of neoprene bandage, a box of 2x2 gauze squares, a disposable sports cold pack and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide. A large, flexible dropper is helpful also if you have to administer peroxide to induce vomiting because your dog has swallowed poison of some kind. Other handy items to have are scissors, a pill splitter, Q tips, cotton pads and a simple saline eye wash preparation for flushing the eye in cases of foreign body in the eye or irritation.
A gel pack (found in eye masks in the drug store) is great to keep in your fridge or cooler to handle facial swelling or to apply to a swollen limb to give relief.
Normal temperature for dogs is 100-102.5. Temp should be taken for 3 minutes.
Normal pulse for dogs is 60-100 beats per minute. If you are not sure how to take a pulse, put your ear to the dog’s chest on the left side and listen for the heartbeat.
Normal respiration rate is 10-30 breaths per minute (in resting state).
For symptoms of shock (shivering, cold feet and legs, listlessness, weak pulse, mental depression, pale skin, white gums), wrap the dog up to keep as warm as possible, carry the dog in a “football” carry as you might a little human baby, with its head down so blood flow is directed toward the head. You can also rub the chest and abdominal area to help stimulate the circulation. Shock is a true emergency and needs to be seen by a vet ASAP.
Raja and I want to thank Carol for her good advice! We made up her suggested first aid kit and have it packed in Raja's travel bag so we won't have to worry on his next big adventure.
Really Big Trees: Muir Woods & Mount Tamalpais
The San Francisco Bay area is famous for its damp enveloping fogs and moderate weather. For dog oriented travelers, this dog loving area offers great experiences culturally, gastronomically and- er- arboreally. The Bay Area is home to the Giant Redwoods, the tallest trees in the world, averaging between 400 and 800 years old, but many of the largest trees are over 1000 years old. To grow as tall as they do, the Redwoods absorb moisture from the air all day. They could not survive in dryer, hotter, or cooler areas. The Bay climate is like a gigantic terrarium for these ancient evergreens.
Muir Woods is the famous “tree museum” of the north west coast, established as a national monument by Teddy Roosevelt in 1908 and named after the naturalist John Muir. Muir Woods is spectacular, but- you guessed it- dogs can’t go in Muir Woods because presumably dogs represent grave threats to 250 foot tall trees. After all, dogs were behind the attempt of water works and logging projects to decimate Muir Woods in 1900. Plus dogs are always dropping trash, setting forest fires and pocketing twigs and rocks from the park. Nothing ruins natural environments quite as fast as dogs do… or maybe it’s those careless humans the dogs bring in with them?
No matter, Mt. Tamalpais State Park backs right up to Muir Woods and it is filled with Redwoods and scenic, doggy-permitted trails. Want to show Fluffy some really, really big trees, follow the map to Mt. Tamalpais and hike all day in the forest primeval.
Raja has been hiking in the Redwoods several times and he kind of takes it in stride. To be honest, a humungous tree is quite as good as a sapling, but I think it does him good to put paw prints on the shady forest floor under the trees and to discover he can literally wander inside and through the Redwood trees. Over the centuries, fires have periodically swept through the forests, but, amazingly the forests weed out old growth opening up the floor for saplings to germinate and reach for the sun. Redwoods drop seeds and grow in clusters, so the decay of the parent tree allows the saplings to take over. Also, amazingly while many fires have gutted the old trees, creating cathedral like rooms inside, the trees continue to grow up and up around the hollow center.
For many hundreds of years, a tribal group named the Miwok have lived in the San Francisco Bay area. The first written accounts of the Miwok culture came from a crewman on Sir Francis Drake’s exhibition from 1579. Early Miwok dwellings were conical wood structures, but walking among the chambers of the Redwoods, following Raja in and out through the trees, I really did imagine living peacefully in this temperate misty forest, in the trees and among them. And perhaps that’s how the proto-Miwoks lived.
If you and your dog go hiking in the Bay Area Redwoods, be sure to take plenty of water and a snack for yourself and your dog especially. Late Summer and Early Fall are often dry and you two cannot absorb the ubiquitous mist. Plus, unless your dog is capable of catching Coho or Steelhead Salmon that run upstream in the Tamalpais and Muir area steams in early Fall, he will need something to keep him going. Do stop at the ranger station for a map. Among the trees it is very easy to get lost in this large territory. And finally, hiking shoes are a must as the forest floor is rocky, rugged and surprisingly slippery going uphill. Dog trail boots should be removed in steep areas. Your doggy will be a dust and mud ball when the day is over, but it will have been worth it for him to have an opportunity to regain his wild and wolf-like self walking among the ageless trees.
** Raja wants blog readers to know that we have a new recipe posted this week for a tasty, savory meatloaf doggies love. Please check out “Laci’s Meatloaf”- comfort food in classic 50’s style- in the recipes section. We do not advocate home cooking for pets and we are not dog nutritionists. These recipes will work as special occasion recipes for dogs. Raja eats home cooked meals all the time. Do whatever works for you. Wishing you happy travels and nice meals always… Raja and Helen **
This week Raja interviews Bailey, the talented American Eskimo dog athlete. Bailey reports about all the fun she had at the Spirit of St. Louis Canine Games on Sunday, September 27. Over to you Raja…
Raja: Bailey how did you hear of the Annual Spirit of St. Louis Canine Games?
Bailey: I have some good Dogster friends that live in St. Louis. We had a meetup last year at a dog park there and planned to do this activity for this year.
Raja: Backing up, as I understand it, agility is a hobby rather than a profession for you? Is that correct?
Bailey: I have been taking lessons for two years purely for enjoyment. We have no plans to compete, but if you end the lessons, you end the experience.
Raja: So true. Specifically, how do you see your hobby benefiting your life and the lives of your humans?
Bailey: I enjoy the running and climbing and going through the tunnels and the jumps and weave poles. It is good exercise for both Mom and me. It keeps us active and it’s an activity that we do together. It also teaches obedience and trust in your handler.
Raja: Bailey you have a very good family! So let's discuss these games... You had to travel how far to get there? How did you travel and what was that hotel room like? (It was your very first hotel experience I hear.)
Bailey: We drove by car about 3 1/2 hours to St. Louis. We hit some bad rain when we got to the city, but most of the trip was made in good weather. The hotel room was very nice and I sniffed and explored it thoroughly. Mom and Dad ate in the room with me both their dinner and their breakfast. The hotel had a pool, but I believe they did not want dogs using it!
Raja: Eating in the room with you was really thoughtful. As we have noticed, many people want to travel with dogs, but they tend to neglect them and their needs when they want to do non-dog things. Your family really followed through. Plus there’s no point in upsetting an athlete before competition! Not going in the pool must have been hard. I know you have a nice pool back home and you’re an accomplished swimmer.
So, going to the actual day- When you got there, how were things set up? Did you find it easy to compete?
Bailey: When we arrived at Purina Farms the registration area was easily found and we registered and bought tickets to participate in the events. All events were for fun but some events were actually handing out prizes. You could also take your AKC Canine Good Citizen test there and there were some demonstrations such as Water Sports. They also had vendors there selling dog gift items and Purina Farms had its own gift shop and restaurant for the pawrents to eat at.
Raja: So well planned! So now what we all want to ask- How'd you do Bailey????
Bailey: I did well on the agility course, but had no interest in catching a Frisbee or Flyball. Little Georgie the Min Pin ran faster than me in the Race The Wind event. She was clocked at 18 miles per hour and I was 17 miles per hour. We all received gold medals and certificates and ribbons. Georgie and Jackson won a prize in the Costume Contest. They were pirates!
Raja: You are very agile, as we saw two weeks ago. I have no interest myself in catching a Frisbee, but I do like to pick it up and play keep away. You might like that too. You can tease your humans for hours.
Were there other furry friends there?
Bailey: I joined my good friends Georgie and Jackson and Mr. Duffy McDuff for a very fun day. Jackson unfortunately hurt the pad on his foot about lunch time and could not do any more events. He had to have it bandaged up.
Raja: I think Jackson was very brave. I’m sure he’ll be back next year. These Olympics are open to all dogs I hear... and it's a charity benefit. Can you tell us a bit about that please?
Bailey: It is open to all dogs and it is sponsored by The Spirit of St. Louis Samoyed Club and the St. Louis Samoyed Rescue. I saw many white dogs that looked similar to me only bigger. The picture of the dog pulling a cart is a Samoyed and not me. We did not try that one.
Raja: I almost thought that was you at first. But then I thought that doggie was too big.
Bailey thanks so much. Is there one final statement you want to end your interview with- anything special to share?
Bailey: I just want to say that if anyone has the opportunity to go to an event like this. it will be a wonderful day for you and your pawrents. This was such a nice day made even better because we spent it with good friends.
If you go, check out next year’s schedule eventually showing up at: www.stlsamoyed.com
Remember, it’s not the winning, but the competing that makes for big fun and games for dogs and their people.