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We all know that good food, a loving home and plenty of exercise will go a long way in giving your dog and cat a happy and healthy life. But what about those times when some minor illness suddenly appears and it's 10 pm in the evening with no veterinarian available? (For those of you who have small children...you understand how this works).
Just like humans, animals can and will occasionally get sick. Considering some of the things animals get into, it's truly amazing our dogs and cats stay as healthy as they do. There are a lot of potential dangers out in that big wide world.
"Child" Proofing Your Home For Your Pet
Pets are just like children. They are curious explorers that love to check out what's in that overflowing garbage can or see if they really can reach the toilet bowl for a drink before someone catches them.
Here are a few guidelines to help you "pet proof" your home:
* When you use any pesticides, herbicides, antifreeze, or household cleaning products, make sure they are stored safely away after use. Wash away any extra waste that might have spilled immediately.
* It's preferable that you don't let your cat roam the neighborhood. Some people put out rat bait and other such poisons in their gardens and in their garbage. Why? Well, they may have mice in the area which they want to get rid of. They may also be tired of your or someone else's cat constantly getting into their garbage or defecating in their gardens. Believe me, this is a slow, painful death for your pet. I learned the hard way with a much beloved cat of mine. Since then, all of my cats are indoor house cats.
* Keep your garbage can lids closed tight. Animals love smelly garbage to explore to find what great human tidbits might be in there. However, that "food" may have some toxic cleaner spilled on it. Those yummy chicken bones are cooked...and splinter, which could cause serious intestinal problems. You get the idea.
* Be sure all electrical cords are kept covered or unplugged when not in use. Although not recommended normally, if you have a small puppy or kitten, run the cords under carpets, behind cabinets or heavy furniture that they can't crawl behind. Young pets love to chew...and wires and cords are enticing.
* If you use a toilet bowl cleaner that stays in toilet to "clean" with each flush keep the lid down. Animals, especially dogs, love to drink from the toilet for some bizarre
reason that only they understand. The chemicals in the cleaner can poison and/or kill.
Stocking The Medicine Cabinet with pet medications
So, what to do when your dog or cat gets sick with a minor tummy ache, diarrhea, or some minor infection, including itchy skin? Stock your medicine cabinet with certain human medications that are perfectly fine to give to your pets in the proper dosage. However, you should always consult your veterinarian if possible before administering any type of medication, including dosage amounts of each for each of your animals. Keep a list handy near the cabinet for quick reference on dosages.
Here are some items you should keep on hand:
* Buffered Aspirin is good for lowering fever and relieving minor aches and pains in dogs. Most people prefer to use baby aspirin. Use approximately 80 mg per every 10 pounds of weight, usually no more than twice a day. NEVER give aspirin to a cat as it's extremely dangerous to them. Also, do not use Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, as they are also dangerous to pets in general. Stick with the aspirin.
* Keopectate is good for soothing stomach troubles and diarrhea in both dogs and cats. A recommended amount would be 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of weight roughly every 4 hours.
* Gravol for motion sickness if you need to travel with your pet. Administer the tablet one hour before you leave. You should give no more than 12.5 mg to a cat or a small dog. A medium to large dog can handle between 25 to 50 mg. Do not give this to any animal that has bladder problems or glaucoma. Again, check with your vet to be sure if it's safe and what dosage is recommended for your pet.
* Pepto-Bismol, that good old pink stuff, is fine to give to your dog if they are having tummy trouble, such as vomiting or a rolling, noisy belly. One teaspoon every 6 hours per pound of body weight should be sufficient. This is another medicinal product that should not be given to cats.
* Hydrogen Peroxide and Polysporin for minor cuts and scratches. These will help clean out the wound and hopefully prevent any infection from occurring.
All in all, checking up with your vet and keeping some specific medications on hand should help you deal with any minor illnesses you may encounter with your dog and cat.
Rose Smith is the author and owner of Caring For Canines, a web site that provides information on natural dog health care. To learn more about dog medications, vaccinations and first aid, please visit us at: http://www.caringforcanines.com/herbal-medications.shtml
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