My Dogs’ Medicine Cabinet

February 27, 2008 at 12:17 am 9 comments

A recent post from Dolittler’s blog on the “Top Six Vet-Recommended Over-the-Counter Pet Meds in Veterinary Practice” gave me the nudge I needed to get off my cyber-butt and write a post that’s been percolating in the back of my mind for a while.

With a houseful of dogs, a dog training business, frequent four-legged visitors, occasional foster dogs and having had way too much training in areas like human and pet first aid, CPR, HAZMAT activities and disaster/emergency response; I’ve put together a list of things I’ve found convenient to keep on hand for minor, day-to-day health problems in my pack. 

Please note that I’ve taken items off my list that are also on Dolittler’s. 

Kaolin-Pectin: Not Kaopectate®!  Some Kaopectate® formulas include bismuth salicylate – these should never be used for cats. Dogs that are allergic to aspirin or who are taking aspirin, steroids, or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Rimadyl®, EtoGesic®, or Deramaxx® should never be given these Kaopectate® formulas.  Instead of worrying about which formula of Kaopectate® to buy, play it safe and get Kaolin-Pectin instead.  We get ours at

vetwrap.jpgVetWrapTM– (and generic variations) This is great stuff. It sticks to itself without adhesive or fasteners, it won’t stick to hair, it allows wounds to breathe, it doesn’t absorb moisture and cuts away from wounds easily. In most cases it is the best thing to bandage a dog with.

Gauze Pads – Good old-fashioned gauze pads (available at any pharmacy) are still the best thing around to control bleeding and absorb fluids on fresh wounds.  In a pinch, sanitary napkins work well too. 

Dilute Hydrogen Peroxide – This is the type commonly found in drug stores.  Three percent hydrogen peroxide can be used to induce vomiting.  ONLY DO THIS UNDER THE ADVICE OF A VETERINARIAN OR POISON CONTROL. Ask them for proper dosage information.

goldbond.jpgGold Bond Powder® – A good, old-fashioned, natural remedy for hot spots.  The active ingredients are menthol and zinc oxide.  Gold Bond dries wet wounds and eases itching. Note that Gold Bond Powder is not listed for veterinary use so you may want to check with your veterinarian before using it. 

Alum – Made of naturally occurring mineral salts, alum has antiseptic properties and helps stops bleeding.  It’s also a good treatment for hot spots. A stick of alum or small cylinder filled with alum powder is called styptic.  Styptic is one of the best things to treat a quicked nail with. 

Rectal Thermomter – Be sure you label container it’s kept in – ‘nuff said. 

Gauze Strips – These can make a convenient and readily available muzzle to keep you safe when handling an injured pet.  Gauze is also handy for bandaging, but I prefer VetWrapTM.     

Oil of Cloves – for tooth or gum pain. This is only a TEMPORARY FIX. A dog with tooth or gum pain needs to see a vet. 

zymox.jpgZymox® Otic Drops – This is wonderful stuff! Zymox® is an enzymatic formula that acts both to eat the goop out of your dog’s ears and to create an environment hostile to the yeast, bacteria and other micro-organisms that cause ear infections.  Since we started using it, none of our dogs have had ear infections. No chemicals, no antibiotics – and no cleaning!  You’ll love it and so will your dog. 

oxyfresh.jpgOxyfresh Pet Gel – An odorless, flavorless, aloe vera-based gel toothpaste for pets. It’s amazing stuff.  We’ve tried several pet toothpastes, and Oxyfresh was far and away the most impressive. With daily brushing it actually made a visible difference in how clean our dogs’ teeth were. (Please just ignore the pyramid scheme marketing information on their site <sigh>) 

bagbalm.jpgBag Balm – For dry or cracked pads. 

mushersecret.jpgMusher’s Secret – To protect paws from ice, snow and salt in winter. 

Cordless Electric Trimmer – This is a great thing to have on hand when your dog has a minor cut or injury.  Being able to quickly and easily remove the hair around the wound gives you the ability to assess the situation more quickly and easily than trying to see it through the dog’s coat. Be sure to muzzle the dog before you do this to prevent getting bitten. 

Glycerin Suppositories – A simple cure for constipation.  Use the baby-sized ones for small dogs and the adult-sized ones for large dogs. Check with your vet if you’re not sure how to use them (I’m NOT going there….)

Hot/Cold Gel Packs – These are the type you can put in your freezer or microwave and they’re handy for minor sprains and strains.  Don’t leave them on an unattended dog. 

Nail Trimmer – I prefer a guillotine type with replaceable blades.  My dogs range in size from 32 to 120 pounds. 

Miscellaneous stuff – Dog nail file (v-shaped rather than flat), tweezers, forceps, latex gloves (unless you’re allergic), tick removing tool and jar for ticks, large syringe (w/o needle) and saline to rinse wounds, graduated oral syringe to give meds or peroxide, pill cutter, an otoscope, and a flashlight with a concentrated beam.

pH Test Paper – If your dog is prone to urinary tract infections

Elizabethan collar or BiteNote Collar

Basket muzzle – (not nylon, elastic or any other sort that holds the dog’s mouth closed! 

Crates for restraining and transporting injured animals

Sling, towels or other devices to help an injured animal move


Entry filed under: dog, dogs, first aid, health, pet, pets, rescue, safety.

Temple Grandin in Translation Well — This Explains it

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Fuzzy Logic  |  February 27, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    ah we have many of the same things.. and I use vetwrap for myself more often than not. The clippers are excellent for hotspots that pop up (assuming that you are careful not to make it worse!) and I just used mine for a subcutaneous cyst that Targ had that burst.. ew.

    That reminds me.. I did a post on homeopathics to add to your first aid kit

  • 2. SmartDogs  |  February 28, 2008 at 12:56 am

    Hey, thanks for the link! I just got a request for that kind of info and look how considerate you are to post it for me!

    Cyber hug,

  • 3. Ann  |  March 22, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    I am so glad that I “happened” upon your site. It is very informative and I will save the list of things to have on hand. I was looking to see if I could use a little peroxide on a cloth to cleen my Maltese’s teeth. Will it help remove any of the placque that is already there?



  • 4. Robert Van De Weghe  |  June 4, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you so much for the information. I tried Gold Bond on my Bassett Hounds underarms with great results. One question though, how often can I apply it.

    Thank you


  • 5. Dana  |  March 30, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you so much for this detailed list! (And to you too, Dolittle)! You’ve just decribed almost the entire contents of my cabinet in the laundry room. By the way…how did it go with that whole HASMAT experience? Just curious.

  • 6. SmartDogs  |  March 30, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    It was interesting work but the hours could be terrible.

  • 7. enedina  |  January 20, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    My dog has diarrhea for a few days now, can I give her pedialyte for loss of liquids?

  • 8. SmartDogs  |  January 28, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Late replying – but pedialyte is safe for dogs. I generally just offer weak broth with a goal of getting the dog to drink more. And cooked pumpkin to firm up the stools.

    Also, anytime your dog has diarrhea for more than a day or so, I would strongly recommend talking to your vet.

  • 9. Susan Starratt  |  September 20, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Oxyfresh is some good stuff. Used it before and cleaned things right up.

    Nice blog here. Thanks for sharing!

    Dr Susan

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