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Dog First Aid – Helpful Items to Keep at Home

firstaiddogIt’s important to have a first aid kit for your dog. You never know when you’ll need it and be glad to have it when your best friend has an accident.

Here’s our recommended list of Dog First Aid kit items:

  • Keep a list of your veterinarian’s contact information, as well as, a 24hr ER vet (in case your vet is not available 24/7). We recommend having this on paper – you never know when your phone might run out of juice.
  • Keep a list of bad food for dogs. If you think your dog has eaten a dangerous food or been poisoned, call your vet or the Pet Poison Hotline immediately.
  • Tweezers – You’ll especially need tweezers if your dog gets a tick. Our post on Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs shows how to use the tweezers to pull out a tick.
  • Kwik-Stop Styptic Gel will form an instant gel barrier to stop minor bleeding fast, i.e. especially for bleeding caused by clipping nails and minor cuts.
  • Antiseptic + Antifungal Spray specifically formulated to help speed the healing process of cuts, scrapes, and minor abrasions. It’s a gentle, cleansing formula does not contain alcohol and will not sting.
dog first aid

PawFlex

    • Bandages – Need a band-aid for your dog, but it’s hard to find one that fits? PawFlex Bandages is a line of bandages just for dogs. PawFlex bandages are a disposable non adhesive fur friendly super stretch all in one bandage that maintains a secure comfortable natural fit. The PawFlex sizes and designs are created for specific sized dogs and specific wound-care areas.
      Alternatively, stock some gauze pads and rolls.
    • Povidone iodine – If your dog has skin issues/infections, hot spots, minor abrasions, and any other skin problems, povidone iodine is a great solution and you can buy it at any pharmacy or drug store.
      Dr. Karen Becker wrote a great article in the Huffington Post about the advantage of using povidone iodine for dog’s skin issues, “The solution I use will take care of staph, yeast, and pretty much any common bacteria but doesn’t sting or irritate the dog’s skin at all. And it’s safe if dogs lick the area after cleaning.”
dog first aid

ProCollar

  • Dog cone – You probably already have one from your vet when your dog was spayed or neutered. The vet typically has them in clear plastic or a soft collar version. Last time we needed a collar for our dog Kobi, a Havanese, we used a different kind of collar – an inflatable collar from ProCollar. It seemed to fit our dog much better and he was less annoyed with it than the other collars we tried.
  • ScissorsScissors are very helpful as to get a better look at your dog’s wound, you probably need to cut some of his hair away. These dog hair scissors have rounded tips to help avoid any poking

We hope your pet says safe and in case of an accident, remember to call your vet asap!

Pet Insurance – we definitely recommend it

pet-insurancePet Insurance – do you get it or not? We contemplated this for quite a while. We came across quite a few dogs that needed to have surgery (variety of reasons) and it made me think we should really pull the trigger. At a minimum, we figured we could get a policy that covered emergencies.

Looking for pet insurance does take some time. In the end, we went with Trupanion. It was recommended by our vet and it seemed to be the best value for us at the time. We’ve had it for a few years now and prices have definitely increased year over year (it increased more than we anticipated). Regardless, we’re happy to have had pet insurance coverage and it has been very helpful at times.

It’s important for you to look at the various plans and see what works for you and your dog.

We looked at these pet insurance companies. Over the years, it appears that some of these companies have merged. We would recommend looking at these as well as to do a Google search in case there are some newer pet insurance programs in your area (e.g. Healthy Paws):

AKC
ASPCA
Healthy Paws
Pet Plan
Pethealth /Pet Care/ 24PetWatch
Pets Best
VPI
Trupanion 

You will notice that many of the pet insurance companies have plan comparisons and generally their own plan “wins” the comparison. It’s actually possible for this to happen because there are so many plan variables. What is best for my dog might not be best for your dog. For example, if you have a Bulldog, they generally have more health issues and a shorter lifespan than a Coton de Tular. So a Bulldog owner might want more coverage, but care less about cost increases based on age.

Here are the various factors we reviewed:

Annual Deductible
Deductible per incident
Per Incident Limit
Annual Limit
Lifetime Limit
Premium increase due to age
Increase due to filing claims
Coverage
Reimbursement
Accident
Illness
Hereditary conditions
Hospitalization
Surgeries
Cancer treatment
Diagnostic testing
Prescription Medications
Pre-existing conditions
Veterinarian exam fee
Wellness/routine care
Reviews/Customer Comments

We have a Havanese, which is a relatively healthy dog with a long life span. So it was important not to have “premium increase due to age”. [Our experience is that pet insurance still increases year over year and they state it’s due to inflation].

We live in NYC where prices are higher, so we also wanted “reimbursement” to be based on what the vet charges than based on an average national cost. There were a number of other factors (e.g. premium flexibility) that led us to select Trupanion. Please note that while we selected Trupanion – this might not be the right insurance for your dog / your life situation, however, overall we believe pet insurance is definitely a good thing to have.

Dog Teeth Cleaning – Our Dog’s First Experience

Kobi - Dog Teeth Cleaning

Kobi needs a dental exam

Our dog, Kobi, is a 6 year old Havanese and while we have been fairly good about brushing his teeth, we recently noticed they were getting a bit too dirty. At Kobi’s annual pet exam the veterinarian recommended we consider getting his teeth cleaned. Then about a week later, we found a chip of his tooth on the floor. That was the trigger – Kobi needed a dental exam asap!

We were really worried about the anesthesia and had heard about anesthesia-free dental cleanings (we even wrote an article about them). We did further research on anesthesia-free dog teeth cleaning, as well as those with anesthesia. One of the vets we really respect, Dr. Andy Roark, did a You Tube video recommending dog teeth cleaning with anesthesia. It is also the recommended procedure by the American Veterinary Dental College.

We decided Kobi’s long term health was more important than the risk of the anesthesia. We called up our vet, Dr. Timi Lee at Tribeca Soho Animal Hospital. As she had done a great job with Kobi’s neutering procedure, we felt safe with her as the right vet for the job.

Dog Teeth Cleaning

Circle shows Kobi’s dirty molar & chipped tooth

How Did the Dog Teeth Cleaning Go?

The procedure consisted of:

  • A pre-anesthetic exam and diagnostic lab tests
  • Dental X-Rays
  • Professional scaling – this removes plaque and tartar build-up
  • Full cleaning under the gum-line – it’s where periodontal disease lurks
  • Polishing – this leaves a completely smooth surface of the tooth, which helps discourage plaque and bacteria from adhering to the teeth

We also learned that sometimes there is the option of having a root canal done, thus avoiding extracting the teeth. We were fortunate Kobi’s teeth were in pretty good condition. No teeth needed to be pulled or have root canal. The tooth that was chipped was bonded.

Post Procedure Happy, Clean Teeth:

Dog Teeth Cleaning

After: Left Side Bonded & Cleaned

Dog Teeth Cleaning

After: Right Side: All Clean!

Kobi was at the vet for most of the day. When we picked him up he was happy and alert. At home, we gave him some food and it all went down well. It’s now 24hrs post procedure and can say there have been no bad post-op side effects.

We’d like to thank Dr. Timi Lee and the staff at the Tribeca Soho Animal Hospital for doing a great job with Kobi. We’ll definitely be coming back for another routine dental cleaning in the future.

Hip Replacement Surgery for Dogs

Hip replacement surgery for dogsDoes your dog have have hip dysplasia or other hip related problems with pain? Hip replacement surgery might be an option to consider to improve your dog’s life. It’s possible to have the damaged parts of the joint replaced with a prosthesis, just like with human hip replacement surgery. What a great solution option to help out our dogs in pain or reduced mobility get back to improved health!

The surgery involves removing the diseased diseased femoral head in the hip joint and socket (acetabulum) and replacing them with an artificial ball and socket joint. Each component of the artificial hip is made of cobalt chrome stainless steel or titanium and ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (plastic cup). The new prosthetic components are designed to allow the joint to move the same way as a normal hip. As with human hip implants, there are cemented and cementless total hip implants available.

hip replacement surgery for dogsThe goal of surgery is to return your pet to a pain-free, mechanically sound, normal hip function. Generally, dogs are found to be more comfortable and have an improved quality of life. Many owners report that their pet can do things they have not done since they were a puppy. Apparently post-surgery most dogs experience an increase in muscle mass, improved hip motion, and increased activity levels. The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center claims that some “mean” dogs have even developed a pleasant personality when the pain was eliminated from their hip(s). “We have found that 95% of the hips that have been replace by surgeons at OSU return to normal function or near normal function. More than 95% of owners feel that their dog’s quality of life is improved or markedly improved.”

According to the Animal Medical Center, independent clinical studies show that 96% of pets who undergo total hip replacement surgery will return to full, normal function, typically within 6-10 weeks following surgery. In fact, they can walk on their new hip immediately following surgery.

Here’s a video about the procedure from the Animal Medical Center: