Safety Gear for Your Travelling Service Dog
Our service and companion animals do all they can to keep us safe and enjoying life. They are often frequent flyers just as we are, so it’s important to pack some additional items to keep them safe and happy. This article will go over a few items that put your dog’s safety front and center when you go on holidays.
An easy, fast and cheap way to boost your service or companion animal’s safety in low-light or night-time conditions is a lighted LED collar, leash, vest or harness. LED technology has come a long way and you might be surprised how bright these accessories can get, adding enough visibility to give drivers enough advance notice to slow down in time.
Most of these units are rechargeable using USB ports for easy and fast charging. Lightweight and portable, this is good gear to have in your car or travel bag so that it is ready when you need it.
Dog First Aid Kit
Canines have special first aid needs that may not be in your typical emergency kit for humans. You may want to check your supplies and either purchase a special doggy first aid kit, or add the following to an existing kit:
Prescription Medicine – If your service dog takes any special medications, be sure you have packed a few extra days-worth, along with instructions for dosage, in your first aid gear.
Medical Card – Keep an index card with any medication your dog takes along with contact information for your veterinarian.
Saline Eye Wash – It is common for dogs to get debris in their eyes, particularly if they get some time to run around outdoors. You won’t be able to stop them from trying to rub it out with their paws, which can do more damage to their eyes. If you have some sterile saline wash on hand, you can safely flush the eye in a hurry.
Extra Water – An extra jug of water can be a lifesaver. Because they wear their coats year-round, and are expected to serve in all weather conditions, our companion animals can be prone to overheating.
Hydrogen Peroxide – A few tablespoons of this can induce vomiting in the event that your dog eats something poisonous.
Diphenhydramine (a.k.a. Benadryl®) – This can lessen the severity of an allergic reaction to bee stings or other allergy triggers, and is generally safe to give dogs. Call a vet for the right dosage for your dog and write it on the bottle so that you will know it in an emergency.
Styptic Powder – This powder is used to stop bleeding in a hurry. Dogs are prone to breaking their toenails past the quick, which can bleed profusely, a common use for this handy first aid item.
In what seems like an increasingly chaotic world, preparing for an emergency situation is just prudent practice. Many people set aside food and water to last 3-5 days in the event of an extended power outage caused by natural disasters or severe weather.
Take a moment to make sure your emergency supplies include your dog. Set aside some extra drinking water for them. Since canned food has a much longer shelf life than dried, it does not hurt to keep a few cans tucked away in the cupboard for an emergency.
Although many large service dogs are powerful swimmers, many of us with smaller companion animals may have a different experience. Some small breeds, such as French Bulldogs, are often so dense that they do not float well enough to be safe in the water. In addition, some inexperienced swimmers of all breeds may go to too far from shore to safely swim back before tiring out.
If you are the type to spend time around water with your dog, it may be a good idea to invest in a doggy life vest to make swimming a safe and pleasurable activity.
A muzzle is something a lot of folks don’t think their dog needs. After all – your service animal certainly isn’t vicious!
However, even the best dogs can bite out of fear if they are hurt or traumatized by an accident. Having a muzzle handy in case of such an emergency, and training your dog to tolerate it, may save valuable time in route to the vet if your dog is injured.
Better Safe Than Sorry
It may seem like some of these precautions are over the top – right up until they are useful in an emergency. These inexpensive items and a little thoughtful preparation will help you make sure that you are ready to keep your service dog safe and sound in any situation.
About The Author: Mathew has worked with dogs for just under a decade and is the founder of wileypup, a dog lover’s website that provides great tips and advice for paw parents everywhere.