Tag Archive: pets

Be Prepared For Pet Emergencies

When it comes to our four legged friends, being prepared goes beyond having the proper pet supplies in our bug-out bags and in-home emergency kits.  There is also the component of pet healthcare and the need to recognize and then act quickly and decisively during a pet emergency.

In my opinion, this is a topic that is not addressed often enough in the preparedness community.  The truth is that while it is easy to use a proactive approach with our own healthcare, most of us are at a bit of a loss when it comes to our pets.

Let’s face it. We can count on our pets body language and demeanor to tell us that they are not feeling well but other than that, they cannot verbalize their aches and pains and other woes like a human can.

With that introduction, today I share suggestions and tips to help you be prepared for pet emergencies. As much as for myself as for you, I have put together the following list of solutions to pet accidents and illnesses that may occur following a disaster or other catastrophe when professional help is not around.

Disclaimer: I am not a health care professional or veterinarian.  The information below was gathered from what I believe to be credible sources.  That said, if you have any questions, please consult with your pet’s own veterinarian for expert advice on what to do in an emergency situation.  Also, please remember that in almost all of these circumstances, it is preferable to transport your pet to your veterinarian than to treat the illness yourself.

Checking Your Pets Vital Signs

If your pet is ever in distress, it is helpful to be familiar with your dog’s vital signs. So what should those vital signs be?  The best thing to do is to determine your pet’s “normal” or baseline vital signs so that you can make a comparison to this baseline during times of stress, accident or illness.

The vital signs you want to measure are heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature.

According to Dr. Rebecca Jackson:

A normal heart rate for dogs is between 60 and 140 beats per minute. To determine your dog’s heart rate, put your hand to his chest and count how many pulses you feel in 15 seconds, then multiply by 4 to get the number of beats per minute. If you have trouble detecting heart beats in the chest area, try placing two fingers on the middle of your dog’s thigh near where the leg joins the body. There, you should be able to feel the femoral artery pulsing each time the heart beats.

Next, you want to determine your dog’s rate of respiration, at rest (in other words, not right after a game of Frisbee). A healthy dog takes between 12 and 24 breaths per minute. To measure breathing rate, count the number of times the chest expands in 10 seconds and multiply by 6. You can do this either by watching your dog or resting your hand on the ribs. Normal respirations should not make any noise, and should require very little effort. Of course, if you have a brachycephalic breed like a Pug or English Bulldog, a little snort from time to time can be expected!

The final vital sign to measure in your pet is body temperature; a normal temperature is around 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. And yes, the best measure of true body temperature is taken rectally, so you might want to distract your dog with a treat or toy while you take the temperature. If you (or your dog) aren’t comfortable with that particular method, the next best tool is an ear thermometer or “touch-free” infrared thermometer that is made for animals.

Once you have taken your dog’s vitals, keep a log of his normal numbers in your pet first aid kit, in the event you ever need to grab it and go. The three main vitals you want to measure are the heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature.

How to Deal with Common Pet Emergencies

Poisoning and Exposure to Toxins

Poisoning is a pet emergency that causes a great deal of confusion for pet owners. In general, any products that are harmful to people are also harmful for pets. Some examples include cleaning products, rodent poisons and antifreeze. But you also need to be aware of common food items that may be harmful to your pet since many foods that are perfectly safe for humans, can potentially be deadly to dogs and cats.

To be safe, keep the following food items out of your pet’s menu:

  • Coffee grounds
  • Fatty foods
  • Tea
  • Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Alcohol
  • Yeast dough
  • Grapes/raisins
  • Salt
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chewing gum, candy and breath fresheners containing xylitol

In addition, always keep garbage out of a pet’s reach since rotting food often contains molds or bacteria that could produce food poisoning.

If your pet’s skin or eyes are exposed to a toxic product (such as those in many cleaning products), check the product label for the instructions for people exposed to the product; if the label instructs you to wash your hands with soap and water when exposed, then wash your pet’s skin with soap and water – just make sure that you do do not get any into its eyes, mouth or nose.  If the label tells you to flush the skin or eyes with water, do this for your pet as soon as possible.

Bee or Wasp Stings

Neutralize the sting. Since bee stings are acidic, you can neutralize them with baking soda.  On the other hand, wasp stings are alkaline and should be neutralized with vinegar or lemon juice. After neutralizing the sting, apply a cold pack plus calamine or antihistamine cream,


In the event of a seizure, keep your pet away from any objects (including furniture) that might hurt it. Do not try to restrain the pet.  Time the seizure and after the seizure has stopped, keep your pet as warm and quiet as possible.


If your pet has a fractured bone, he will be in pain and may act erratically.  It is important to muzzle your pet so that you can treat him.  After doing so, gently lay your pet on a flat surface for support.  Attempt to set the fracture with a homemade splint, but remember that a badly-placed splint may cause more harm than help.  Only do this if it is your only choice.

External Bleeding

First muzzle your pet then press a clean, thick gauze pad over the wound, and keep pressure over the wound with your hand until the blood starts clotting. This will often take several minutes for the clot to be strong enough to stop the bleeding. Instead of checking it every few seconds to see if it has clotted, hold pressure on it for a minimum of 3 minutes and then check it.

If the bleeding is severe and on the legs, apply a tourniquet (using an elastic band or gauze) between the wound and the body, and apply a bandage and pressure over the wound. Loosen the tourniquet for 20 seconds every 15-20 minutes.

Internal Bleeding

The symptoms of internal bleeding include bleeding from nose, mouth, rectum, coughing up blood, blood in urine, pale gums, collapse, weak and rapid pulse. If your pet is exhibiting these symptoms, keep him as warm and quiet as possible.  Alas, there is nothing much you can do unless you can transport your pet immediately to a veterinarian.


For chemical burns, first muzzle your pet then flush burn immediately with large quantities of water.  For other types of sever burns, muzzle then quickly apply an ice water compress to burned area.


The symptoms of choking are difficulty breathing, excessive pawing at the mouth, choking sounds when breathing or coughing of blue-tinged lips/tongue.   Use caution since a choking pet is more likely to bite in its panic.

Look into the pet’s mouth to see if a foreign object is visible. If you see an object, gently try to remove it with a pliers or tweezers, but be careful not to push the object further down the throat.  If you can not remove the object or your pet collapses, place both hands on the side of your pet’s rib cage and apply firm quick pressure, or lay your pet on its side and strike the rib cage firmly with the palm of your hand 3-4 times. The idea behind this is to sharply push air out of their lungs and push the object out from behind. Keep repeating this until the object is dislodged.


Pets can succumb to heatstroke very easily and must be treated very quickly to give them the best chance of survival. If your pet is overheated, move him to a shaded area and out of direct sunlight.  Place a cool or cold, wet towel around its neck and head (do not cover your pet’s eyes, nose or mouth).

Remove the towel, wring it out, and rewet it and rewrap it every few minutes as you cool the animal.  Pour or use a hose to keep water running over the animal’s body (especially the abdomen and between the hind legs), and use your hands to massage its legs and sweep the water away as it absorbs the body heat.

Monitor your pet’s temperature with a rectal thermometer.  When his temperature drops to 103 degrees, dry your pet off.


The symptoms of shock are a weak pulse, shallow breathing, nervousness and dazed eyes.  Shock usually follows a severe injury or extreme fright.

If you pet is in shock, keep him restrained, warm and quiet. If your pet is unconscious, keep head level with rest of body.

Not Breathing

If your pet is not breathing, stay calm and check to see if your pet is unconscious. Open your pet’s airway by gently grasping its tongue and pulling it forward (out of the mouth) until it is flat. Check the animal’s throat to see if there are any foreign objects blocking the airway (see the section above on Choking).

Perform rescue breathing by closing your pet’s mouth (hold it closed with your hand) and breathing with your mouth directly into its nose until you see the animal’s chest expand. Once the chest expands, continue the rescue breathing once every 4 or 5 seconds.

No Heartbeat – CPR for Pets

Do not begin chest compressions until you’ve secured an airway and started rescue breathing (see the section above, “Not Breathing”).

  • Gently lay your pet on its right side on a firm surface. The heart is located in the lower half of the chest on the left side, just behind the elbow of the front left leg. Place one hand underneath the pet’s chest for support and place the other hand over the heart.
  • For dogs, press down gently on your pet’s heart about one inch for medium-sized dogs; press harder for larger animals and with less force for smaller animals.
  • To massage the hearts of cats and other tiny pets, cradle your hand around the animal’s chest so your thumb is on the left side of the chest and your fingers are on the right side of the chest, and compress the chest by squeezing it between your thumb and fingers.
  • Press down 80-120 times per minute for larger animals and 100-150 times per minute for smaller ones.
  • Don’t perform rescue breathing and chest compressions at the same exact time; alternate the chest compressions with the rescue breaths, or work as a team with another person so one person performs chest compressions for 4-5 seconds and stops long enough to allow the other person to give one rescue breath.
  • Continue until you can hear a heartbeat and your pet is breathing regularly, or you have arrived at the veterinary clinic and they can take over the resuscitation attempts.

Please remember that your pet’s likelihood of surviving with resuscitation is very low. However, in an emergency it may give your pet its only chance.

The Pet First Aid Kit

The items below are suggestions for a pet first aid kit.  As you read through this list, you will see that many of these items can perform double duty as first aid in your human first aid kit as well.  I leave it up to you to decide whether you want to create one kit – for you and your pets – or separate kits for each of you.  Note that you will find links to many of these items in the bargain bin.

  • Digital thermometer (normal temperature is around 100.5 – 102.5 degrees; a couple degrees above that is a likely sign of infection (fever) and a few degrees below can signal shock.
  • KY jelly (to lubricate thermometer before your insert into the pet’s rectum)
  • Kaopectate (to stop diarrhea – be careful to only give amount appropriate for the pet’s weight)
  • Syringes without needles or an eye dropper (to administer liquids into pet’s mouth)
  • Bandages – gauze pads, non-stick Tefla pads, cotton gauze (to cover wounds; gauze can also be used as a make-shift muzzle but NOT in cases of vomiting)
  • Anti-bacterial ointment (to speed healing and prevent infection) or some DIY Miracle Healing Salve
  • Cotton swabs (to clean wounds)
  • Small splint (to stabilize a broken limb)
  • Vet Wrap or Medical tape (to keep bandages or splints in place)
  • Scissors (to trim hair from wound site and shape bandages as needed)
  • Tweezers (to remove dirt, pieces of glass from wounds)
  • Locking hemostatic forceps (to clap off a blood vessel or to help remove porcupine quills)
  • De-ticker tool (good for removing all kinds of ticks)
  • Hydrogen peroxide – (to induce vomiting; use ONLY with veterinary instruction as some poisons can cause more damage if they travel back up the esophagus)
  • Activated charcoal (absorbs poisons – again, use ONLY with veterinary instruction)
  • Rubbing Alcohol (to clean and disinfect wound)
  • Dawn dish washing soap – to wash off toxins or skin irritants that they may have rolled in)
  • Saline solution (to flush out eyes)
  • Instant cold pack (to lower body temperature of hypothermic patients)
  • Muzzle (for dogs to protect you from bites if your pet is in severe pain and cannot quietly tolerate your care)
  • Rescue Remedy (to calm distressed animals)
  • Blanket (to calm as well as keep the pet warm)
  • Hot water bottle (to keep the pet warm if you suspect hypothermia or shock)
  • Honey & a bottle of water (to ward off hypoglycemia)
  • Lavender essential oil to calm and to treat wounds (dogs only)

Essential Oils for Dogs

No article about first aid for pets, and especially dogs, would be complete without a brief mention of the use of essential oils.

According to well-known expert Valerie Worwood:

Dogs have a very good instinct for the essential oils and even seem to know what is good for them. If you put an oil that is digestive on one hand, and a pesticide oil on the other, a dog with a stomach upset will invariably come forward to lick the hand that will do him most good.

Remember though that dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than humans, so generally aim to use a minimum quantity of essential oil and increase the quantities if and when necessary.

The nice thing about EOs for dogs is that the very same basic essential oils you use on yourself can be used on dogs.  These include Lavender, Melaleuca (tea tree), and Frankincense among others.  As with humans, these oils can be used to sooth and calm and to treat cuts and wounds so that they do not become infected.

As a basic rule of thumb, dilute your EOs first, starting with 1 drop of essential oil to 9 drops of carrier oil.  With pets, especially, less is more.

Note that in this discussion, I am specifically referring to dogs.  The use of essential oils on felines is somewhat controversial and beyond the limitation of my knowledge.  I would suggest that if you have a cat, discuss the use of essential oils with your veterinarian first.

Additional Resources

For more information, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and First Aid Tips for Pet Owners.

The AVMA brochure
Household Hazards
offers a summary of what foods and common household items may pose a danger to your pet. (Select “download” to get this for free; do not add to the cart.)

Get a Free Rescue Alert Sticker.  This easy-to-use sticker will let people know that pets are inside your home.  Make sure it is visible to rescue workers, and that it includes 1) the types and number of pets in your household; 2) the name of your veterinarian; and 3) your veterinarian’s phone number. If you must evacuate with your pets, and if time allows, write “EVACUATED” across the stickers.

The Final Word

Emergency treatment and first aid for pets should never be used as a substitute for veterinary care. But if professional help is not around? As with our own medical self care, we just may need to take matters in our own hands.  Having the the basic knowledge and a proper pet first aid kit may actually save your pet’s life.  Let us hope so.


Start now to make sure you are staying prepared.



Via :  backdoorsurvival

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How to Make Homemade Dog Food

How do we feed our pets when there is no dog food at the grocery or pet stores? Do we give up our pets or panic? Neither, we go back in the days before Iams or Purina and do what our grandparents did to feed their dogs. Now we can fed our pets in a balanced and considered way from what is now known about pet nutrition.

So what did people fed their dogs? People fed mostly table scraps or their developed their own recipes. There weren’t the hundreds of dog food varieties as there are now.

After World War II, Gaines and Kennel Ration began the pet food trend with canned horse meat. Mostly as a way of getting rid of surplus horses and using up cans made for the war effort. It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s when dog food really come into its own.

The ironic trend is now going back to natural dog food. After the poisoned grain episode from China and the increasing cost of dog food. My dog, Adam, who I adopted came with multiple bags of very expensive sensitive stomach dog food (that he upchucked anyway). I decided I’d try my friend’s homemade dog food recipe she used.

With a degree in Animal Science, I decided to put my education to a practical use. So after several versions of the following recipe, here is the most balanced one. My German Shepherd dogs love it. My pup Adam went from 56 to 104 pounds and his liver functions have improved 100 points. This recipe is simple and versatile and far less expensive than canned or dry food.

I call it the “Third Recipe”, because all the portions are in roughly thirds; Rice, Vegetables and Meat. Once you get into the routine, it is very easy and you’ll know what amounts you are regularly using.

Important point to remember is dogs are omnivores, not carnivores, which mean they eat all sorts of stuff, not just meat. A meat protein diet will make a dog hyper and overly aggressive plus damage their kidneys. Feeding dogs is being sold as an “exact” science now. The basics of good nutrition are covered in this formula and inexpensive to feed.

The “Third Recipe” for Dogs

  • White rice boiled with an optional chicken bullion cube – carbohydrates for energy, easy digestion and bullion cube for favor. You can substitute potatoes occasionally. No pasta, will ruin a dog’s teeth.
  • Vegetables – frozen or canned or fresh – green beans or peas/carrots or mixed vegetables – I prefer frozen over canned – and green beans are best. Easily digested and have fiber.
  • Meat – chicken, turkey, tuna or beef or wild game or eggs
  • Two half meals – morning and evening- and the cup portions depend on the size of your dog(s).  All ingredients are roughly in thirds, but if you have an active dog, use more rice.

The most inexpensive way is to buy 25 to 50 pounds of rice is from Costco or similar retail outlet. Those little bags in the grocery store are quite pricey. I store rice in “Vittle Vaults” porthole screw top lid hard plastic dog food containers. Buy on these storage units on Amazon.com–the least expensive and free shipping and you use these for all sorts of bulk food storage.

You’ll need to make more rice every third day as it gets watery and becomes a great bacteria medium. You can use a rice cooker, which I don’t like to clean. Or make it from scratch in a stock pot. White rice recipe is usually 2 cups of water for every cup of rice.

If you are not used making rice, it takes a little effort at first.  So for two big German shepherds, I make four cups of rice at a time – eight plus cups of water, bring to a boil with a bullion cube and then add 4 cups of rice. I have on designated big stock pot Brown rice is harder to digest, tastes like cardboard and the point of the white rice is carbs for energy and easy digestion.

Green beans are the best all around vegetable. Green beans are fibrous, full of nutrients and pulls particles through the digestive tract. Mixed vegetables, peas and carrots are fine also. Vegetables, like corn and lima beans, aren’t broken down in the digestive tract and a waste of money. Shop around for the lowest frozen vegetables or seal-a-meal or can your own. Broccoli is fine if you are willing to perish from dog gas attacks.

You can use a variety of meats in this food. It depends what your dog will tolerate. Be careful not to rotate types of meat until you have a feel for what your dog can tolerate. I always cook the meat. There is too much contamination to take a chance on causing a hemorrhagic intestinal bug from raw meat. When adding to food, cut or pull the meat into smaller portions for better digestion.

Eggs are a very cheap and inexpensive protein. I hard boil the eggs and add one or two to the meal. You can fry or scramble if you want to spoil your pooches. Eggs and rice are the ingredients of expensive ID (intestinal diet) dog food from the veterinarian.

Chicken – is great, it is easy to digest and inexpensive. I crock pot or broil a $5 pallet of 10 chicken thighs from Wal-Mart. Chicken thighs have lots of meat and only one bone to remove. I add one chicken thigh per meal serving for my German Shepherds. When traveling I bring cheaper canned chicken breast to open and add. Chicken with bones removed is the perfect meat.

Turkey is inexpensive. Cook a turkey up when they are on sale, then package the meat into portions, freeze and take out as needed.

Tuna – I give this for only one meal a week. It is inexpensive if you buy the store brand and the oil/water is good for their coats. Too much processed ocean fish has mercury. So limit the amount.  Fish oil capsules from what fish? Goldfish? Natural fish is best.

Beef – Beef is hard for dogs to digest. Crock pot up beef stew meat until tender and broken down. So if you insist on feeding beef, crock pot for tenderizing and easier digestion. Hamburger is fine in limited amounts, but can be it is a little greasy and pricey to feed regularly.

Wild Game– Feeding your dog, venison or other game is okay. Just make sure it is thoroughly cooked. You don’t want your pet to get sick from some weird intestinal bacteria or parasite. Some wild game is very rich and less is more with pets. Just make sure your pet can tolerate this meat to avoid diarrhea and other intestinal episodes.

You can supplement your dog’s nutrition with a daily over the pet counter vitamin. A money saving tip is to buy the senior dog vitamins. They contain twice as much vitamin per pill. So, buy the senior dog vitamins, break them in half and you get two vitamins for the price of one.

As in all things in life, balance is the key. Dogs don’t mind eating the same thing daily. Do not give your dog gravy or lots of fatty food, as this can cause pancreatitis and could kill your pet.

This food can be put it into zip lock bags and frozen. Don’t blend this food into a paste that is bad for the dog’s teeth and causes the food to lose all the nutritional value.

Dry Dog Food
I do have some dry crunchy kibble dog food out. I prefer Purina, mostly because they are an all American ingredient dog food and never had recalls from overseas tainting like Iams or other brands. Purina One chicken and rice is a good all around dry dog food. Old Roy is a suspect dog food made in China. Science Diet is mostly corn based and not as digestible. Friend with kennels call Science Diet the poop making food, since it all gets eliminated. Eukanuba is a very fatty dog food and should only be fed to active bird dogs or dog with similar energy burn levels.

For three days with two meals a day, it costs me about 75 cents a day per dog on average. This is for the rice, green beans and chicken, even less with eggs or more with beef. Once you get into the routine, making your own dog food it is a very healthy and economical solution and better for your pet’s health.

via:  survivalblog


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