The Jewish Mom Gene (just one under the Dog Particle in scientific importance) rears its head whenever anyone is sick or injured – so I like to be prepared for the just-in-case. But when my dog got really sick the other night and I hadn’t enough knowledge or supplies, I realized my fallback in a real dog emergency is Jewish mom worrying.
Dreams in Vomit
I woke up at 2AM to my dog pacing atop the bed. Groggy, I simply assumed she was trying to find the perfect spot but she wouldn’t stop moving. When I rolled over and my hand landed in something wet and slimy, I realized there might be a problem. Turning on the light, all I saw was dog vomit across the entire bed.
This wasn’t a minor case of food poisoning. She eats grass like a cat to cleanse and has gotten sick a few times over the years. But this time she couldn’t stop walking in circles and crazy eights, stumbling as her hind legs started going out on her, and wouldn’t even look at me.
The only options for her bad state: a centipede bite, an allergic reaction (there are many foods besides chocolate that are toxic for dogs) or ingestion of something the all-powerful dog belly couldn’t deal with. She chewed on a stick at the beach… was it actually a bone and we didn’t notice? I bought her new treats, which had arrived that afternoon. One was organic USA-made chicken snacks from a company I’d purchased from before and who’ve never had a recall… but could it be salmonella poisoning? (The other treat was a Himalayan dog chew made out of, ahem, yak and cow milk but she only took a few licks off it. And I’d stuck it in my mouth to encourage her to grab it from me yet I felt fine [and my tummy falters at the hint of food-borne illness].)
The Diamond Pet Foods/China melamine scares over the past few years brought to light the reality that most commercial pet foods are far from being chicken soup for our pets’ souls. There is more awareness of the poor quality of most processed commercial pet food and people are starting to pay more attention to what they are feeding their beloved pets. Heck, even those who thought they were paying extra for good food, or didn’t realize their brand was bought out by a corporate cost-cutter, are made at the same factory as a contaminated brand, could find their foods on a huge and constantly expanding FDA pet food recall list. Food purchased at the vet or the health food store is not guaranteed to be safe (China-made Catswell chicken strips were voluntarily recalled for traces of propylene glycol just this week). I spend almost $100 a bag on my girl’s dry food (all mainland food is costly once shipped to Kauai), but whether it’s some homemade grass-fed goulash, her Orijen kibble, or occasional frozen Primal Raw Foods (even they voluntarily recalled one batch of feline Salmon last year), she eats like a queen. The most important thing is buying from companies that use quality, natural ingredients, and do routine control tests of their products.
When an emergency occurs even smart people often forget what to do. First, I thought maybe she was thirsty from throwing up, but she wouldn’t drink (which I later learned was a good thing because she would’ve probably just continued to throw up and thrown her body chemistry even more out of whack).
From the looks of my bed, I deduced she’d probably vomited everything she could, and I should try to get something in her belly to suck up the rest of the poison. I grabbed my go-to cure-all (food grade bentonite clay), poured some in the palm of my hand, and repeatedly scooped it up and stuck it under her gums.
Since it wasn’t going to be an immediate cure and since she seemed to be getting worse, I called a local clinic. The better safe than sorry rule always applies.
One thing I learned from this experience: take your pet to numerous vets. While you may have a favorite animal doc, it’s good to have a backup in case one of them doesn’t answer your off-hour or holiday call. Luckily, the first clinic I tried to reach had an emergency number and the doctor on call picked up the phone.
He initially had me check her throat for swelling and her body for anything sensitive, to rule out a bite. She seemed okay. She was finally lying down; her nose was wet and she didn’t feel overly hot. He then asked if I had Kaopectate or Pepto Bismol, which I didn’t, though I did have activated charcoal. He told me to put the activated charcoal in chicken broth or something like it. I added a teaspoon of water and fish oil along with the black powder. She wanted little to do with it at first but licked half of it up after some convincing.
Finally, he told me to give her 25mg of Benadryl just in case it was an allergic reaction of some kind. The closest thing to a drug I have in my cupboard is ibuprofen but luckily my roommate has terrible allergies. I couldn’t imagine it would absorb much, what with the clay and charcoal, but when you’re desperate, you trust doctors’ opinions.
After about an hour, although she was still walking funny, she was able to rest. I let her stay outside in the cool air to sleep it off. Of course, while she slept, I was eyes wide open through another four hours of worry. The next day she was much better, though a little weak, groggy and dehydrated, and I made sure she had plenty of water. She also lapped up a bowl full of fresh coconut water. By the following day, she was back to doing roll-overs.
Dog Emergency Kit
Almost everyone has some sort of first aid kit for themselves and their family, but what about for the animals in their life? First thing I’m doing this week is putting together a doggie emergency kit – one for the car and one for home. What’s it going to contain?
- Bentonite Clay (food grade powdered Redmond’s for the car/travel kit; works for absorbing bacteria/poison; helps with diarrhea; soothes itching skin/rashes)
- Activated charcoal
- Buffered aspirin (for pain; look up precise dosage based on weight)
- Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide (to induce vomiting in an emergency)
- Medihoney Wound Paste (works like Neosporin)
- Surgical stapler; staple remover
- Surgical glue
- Pet Clot; Sure-Clot (for bleeding)
- Plastic wrap
- Veterinary SAM splint
- Duct tape, self-gripping tape, latex-free tape
- Stretchable gauze; non-stretchable gauze, sterile gauze pads
- Cold pack
- Heat pack
- Ace Bandage
- Scissors; electric clippers
- Antiseptic; Betadine
- Saline spray
- Nascent iodine (cover wound with gauze after applying)
- Syringe (to give medication)
- Pet Rescue Remedy (works to calm animals in case of accident, stress, shock, travel, vet visits)
- Happy Traveler (herbs help calm nervous dogs)
- Trace mineral drops (add to water to help rehydrate)
- Emergency ID card (name, age, medications if any, vet info)
Also, having a dog/cat first aid book around is a smart idea, as is taking a pet first aid course. (Most people don’t even know how to administer first aid and CPR to humans!)
If Dog is the Answer, What is the Question?
So, call me weird, but I think the mitochondria and the dog are equally essential to human existence. When the earth switches its axis spin and women start running things (our only hope), the “New World Order Top 100 Essentials for the Survival of Mankind” is going to change as well. On this list will be the end of all “Yes-Kill” animal shelters. Scientists and the medical industry are going to shift their focus from fake GMO frankenfoods and human cloning to figuring out the most natural method of extending the lifespan of dogs (and cats) to equal that of humans. No, that’s not too much to ask for!
Dogs work 24-7 to keep their people happy. Don’t be a selfish you-know-what – it’s time to treat them with the respect they deserve. Because the Dog Particle is just as important, if not more important, than any other goddamn particle.