It's March, and that means Purple Day® for Epilepsy is soon--March 26th! If you've been a reader of my blog for a while, you know my now furangel Gibson was an Epi-dog, a dog living with Canine Epilepsy, and my inspiration. Together, we embarked upon the FiveSibes™ #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness & Education, a mission to advocate for Epi-dogs worldwide!
This year, I am proud to say, is my ninth year as an official Purple Day® ambassador, and my third year as a partner with Purple Day® Every Day/presented by The Anita Kaufmann Foundation* for my #Paws4Purple educational initiative! You can visit this initiative at https://purpledayeveryday.org/paws-4-purple/!
I am so proud that The Anita Kaufmann Foundation/Purple Day® Every Day, a human epilepsy organization, recognized the importance of Canine Epilepsy awareness and asked me to join them in expanding my #LiveGibStrong campaign into #Paws4Purple, an educational initiative offering important links, info, and FREE materials such as bookmarks, posters, and flyers about Canine Epilepsy Awareness to share with the masses in an effort to help others who find themselves on a journey through the sometimes murky waters of Canine Epilepsy with their dogs, as I did with my boy Gibson.
Over the years, we've shared much information and I have written many articles and two books on the topic, hoping to help others know they are not alone! Help is just a keyboard click away to find important (and vetted) information on what to do if your dog has a seizure.
To receive my #FiveSibes #Paws4Purple FREE bookmarks or other Canine Epilepsy handouts sent to you for your own use, to share with your vet, groomer, trainer, rescue, dog park, pet supply store, shelter, dog warden, police department, fire department, etc., simply Email Debra@AKFUS.org and put "Paws4Purple Materials" in the subject line. A donation to help offset the cost of printing and mailing is always welcome, but not required. If you'd like to make a donation, just indicate so in the Email!
Today's post is going to highlight something I have talked about many times in various forums - a First Aid Kit for dogs with Epilepsy. While all dog caregivers should have one, there are some important additional items to be included in an Epi-dog's First Aid Kit, so today's post is dedicated to just the items of what should be in an Epi-dog's First Aid Kit, both one for home, and a portable one for taking on adventures with your Epi-dog!
*The Anita Kaufmann Foundation is now branded Purple Day® Every Day as Presented by The Anita Kaufmann Foundation.
This information is in part from an article I wrote and had originally been published in 4Knines.
Please keep in mind, if your dog has a seizure, be sure to take steps to keep them safe, away from other pets, made as comfortable as possible, and contact your vet or emergency veterinarian hospital immediately. Being in touch with your dog’s vet is a must and critical to the health of your dog.
Items to add to a standard First Aid Kit if you have an Epi-dog:
- Prescribed anti-seizure medications, or a note as to where they are located.
Instructions for administering meds, dosages, and seizure protocol for family members and pet sitters caring for your dog in your absence.
Emergency phone numbers of vet, neurologist, emergency vet hospital, a family member or friend to assist if needed, etc.
Copy of your Epi-dog’s vet records (in case you are away with your dog or wind up at the emergency hospital).
Instant cool packs to help cool down the
seizing dog as his/her body temperature can rise dangerously during a
seizure (a baggie with crushed ice or frozen peas/veggies can also be
Thermometer to monitor the dog’s temperature post-seizure.
Alcohol swabs* (see caution note below).
Journal** – with description (and video if possible) of seizure, time, and
length of seizures, as well as medication times and what your do was
doing prior to the seizure. This information you will then share with
Pet towel to wet and lay over dog to cool down.
Hand-held fan to aide in cooling your dog down post seizure.
- Rescue Remedy®
For Post-Seizure Care & Clean Up:
- Pet wipes
- Disinfectant wipes
- Paper towels
- Disposable latex or non-latex gloves
- Disposable bags
Keeping an Epi-Dog Cool
Additional Items to Have on Hand:
Natural vanilla ice cream (to help raise sugar levels post-seizure).
Corn syrup, honey, or maple syrup (if ice cream is not available or dog cannot eat dairy).
- A source of protein, such as low-fat cheese sticks,
natural creamy peanut butter, chicken, tuna, plain yogurt, cottage
cheese, etc. (to give to dog post-seizure after ice cream or syrup to
help stabilize sugar levels).
Fresh water (allow dog to take sips post-seizure).
A cooler collar (kept in freezer).
A cooler water bed or mat for dog to lay on to help lower temperature.
- Ramp or large sheet/blanket (to transport dog).
*Alcohol swabs should only be used in extreme emergencies, where no cool or ice packs are available. A light wipe to the paw pads or tips of ears can help an overheating dog cool down, however,
alcohol can cause seizures itself in some dogs if it is licked or
absorbed. Unless under veterinarian care, I highly recommend using
instant cool packs, gel ice packs, or crushed ice in a baggie to cool
down a seizing dog. (If your Epi-dog has short or shaved fur, or is a
single-coated dog, wrap ice pack in a cloth).
**A journal can simply be a notebook or chart with handwritten information, or it can be a digital application.
An excellent digital journal is the FREE Royal Veterinary College’s Pet
Epilepsy Tracker app available for Apple and Android devices (through
iTunes Store or Google Play). See my blog post all about this free handy app HERE.
Notation: Always check the expiration dates on medications, supplements, and other items in your Epi First Aid Kit to be sure they are not outdated, and update the items accordingly.
I've put together an Epi-Dog Gift Guide Book for items I've found helpful and useful not only some items for the First Aid Kit, but other items to have on hand.
Whether your dog has epilepsy, or not, s/he may have special needs or items that should be included in the First Aid Kit in case of emergency, so please take this month to make a point to discuss and review your list of items, as well as the appropriate applications, with your dog’s veterinarian.