Columbia Memorial Health (1) Careers

Soft Paws: First-aid kit for dogs


By Charlene Marchand

For Capital Region Independent Media

Pictured with CGHS Animal Care Technician Amy Riedel is Jake, a 10-year-old black Lab who was surrendered to us due to his previous owner’s health. Jake has spent his whole life in one home and is looking for that perfect forever home to retire in! He’s unfortunately not good with other animals, but he absolutely loves people. He’s a bit slower in his older age, but he loves being outside and going on walks. When he gets really excited, he’ll carry his toys around in his mouth! Contributed photo

A number of years ago, Laura Manchester trained her Chok Dee dog with me.

What started out as a baseline training and behavior mod appointment or two led this talented team to great levels of achievement, i.e. Canine Good Citizen (CGC), Therapy Dog International (TDI), Rally RN, RA, RE, AKC Companion Dog title, and supreme demonstration dog for a number of venues.

I brought Laura on board to assist me in training the New Leash On Life Cell Dogs at the Columbia County Jail, and I am so grateful for her extra pair of hands.

While chatting after class one day, we hit on the subject of hiking with your beloved canine pals. She sent me her “to do” list for the overprepared hikes, and her words will take over this column now:

“First, I never assume that the possibility does not exist that either my dog will get injured or that we may get separated. No matter how ‘foolproof’ he may seem, there is always the risk that something beyond my control or imagination can happen, with adverse consequences.

“An old cowboy I once worked with was fond of quoting one of his favorite adages to me (oftentimes as I was lying in the dust on my fanny with a bucking bronco yards away): ‘Nothing will make a liar out of you sooner than a horse.’ I think he would extend the liberty of switching out ‘horse’ for ‘dog.’ Point taken.

“After much deliberation, I came up with the following compilation of first-aid supplies that are now de rigueur on our outings. Although the list looks extensive, all of the items can be carried in a mid-sized cosmetic case, which tucks into even a small-ish fanny pack.

  • Leash and non-slip collar: Keep this at the ready, not buried at the bottom of pack, in case you need to restrain your dog at a moment’s notice (even if you do normally have dog off-leash).
  • Whistle: to summon help; to let others in your party know where you are if you split up; to call your dog or help him locate you if you should get separated (especially if he is whistle-trained). I like to have one for each person in the party for communication.
  • Gauze pads: For wounds.
  • Gauze wrap: For wounds.
  • Adhesive tape: To secure gauze or bandage.
  • Vet wrap or self-stick bandage: For a more secure way of securing larger areas that need protection.
  • Scissors: To cut tape, bandages; to cut away dog’s coat if it is long and blocks view of injury.
  • Small needle-nosed pliers: To remove porcupine quills; to cut wire if dog gets tangled in it.
  • Tweezers: To remove prickers, briars, thistles.
  • Panty hose legs: To serve as muzzle; to help restrain dog.
  • Antibiotic ointment: For small scrapes and wounds.
  • Betadine or antiseptic wash: Use as antiseptic wash.
  • Small squeeze bottle of water (fresh, clean): To rinse out wound.
  • Alcohol wipes: To clean pliers, scissors before using.
  • Antiseptic hand cleaner: To clean your hands before working on a wound.
  • Latex or rubber gloves: Who knows what icky things your dog might get into!
  • Benadryl*: In case of allergic reaction. *Talk with your vet about dosages and when/how/if to use appropriately.

We are out of room this week – make sure to tune into the next column to get the rest of this amazing DIY First Aid Kit!

Feel free to call us with any questions at 518-828-6044 or visit our website at

Charlene Marchand is the chairperson of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA Board of Directors and may be contacted at Laura Manchester is a CGHS/SPCA volunteer.

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