Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dog wounds and bandage bins

My favorite frugal fix-it story of the year 2004 was patching up my dog with duct tape.  (I’d also done three toilet repairs, a dryer repair, and the first half of a washing machine repair that year, but I only got to use duct tape once during those projects).  The reason that my dog, Lucky, needed repair was that she got into a fight with the cat, and of course she got the worst of it: the cat bit a huge chunk out of her ear.  In order to bandage the ear, which was bleeding badly, I made a quick bandage from clean rags and a bit of antibiotic lotion. I learned quickly that she could easily shake small bandages off (and I won’t tell you about the mess made by a dog with a wounded ear who shakes her head vigorously), so I taped this bandage securely to her head, winding the white duct tape around several times.  She looked like a revolutionary war veteran, and if I could have given her a fife and drum, that would have made the portrait perfect.
Disclosure:  I did call the veterinarian to double-check that this method was okay.  Lucky Dog was so nervous about the vet that she had to take valium before her annual check-ups, so I figured a home fix was probably easier on everyone involved.  The vet approved.
I was thinking about my dog bandages recently during a less severe wound:  N-son came to me a few nights ago needing love and bandages because he had "stubbed his toe".  Small amounts of blood were indeed visible, if you looked hard.  My baby boy had been damaged.

Hugs first; bandaids second.  I rooted around in our bandaid bin and found weenie little round bandaids and also huMONgous bandaids, but none just perfect for the toe.  The hunt was complicated by jars and vials of this-and-that.

Clearly, time for a cleaning.  No before photos, just after photos:

Baskets within baskets: organized bandages.
Here's what's in the bandage bins now:
  • a small container of scissors and tapes,
  • a mess of sterile pads,
  • petroleum jelly and aloe lotion, and
  • a small plastic jar of bandaids.
N-son's bandage hunt helped me make a decision I've been wavering over:  I'm phasing out the bandaids.  I never can easily find the size I need; tape and sterile pads works just fine, make less overall trash, are are cheaper to boot.
How much cheaper?  A quick search of yields many different prices of many different brands of bandages and first aid tape, so a direct comparison isn't easy. But going by general trends, let's compare 100 3-inch-long bandaids that run about $3.50 with tape that costs $3.00 per 36 feet.  Are you up on your fractions?  Using tape instead of bandaids saves about 1.4¢ per boo-boo.
I'm also phasing out this:
Good-bye, antibiotics!
When I cleaned up these baskets, somehow I found something like a dozen tubes of antibiotic creams.  Oh, good grief!  No wonder I could never find anything in those baskets!  I keep reading that petroleum jelly works better for healing purposes, so I'm ditching the antibiotic ointments.  (Actually, I've bagged these up and will send them with a missionary friend to Haiti.)

In the future, bandages in our house will likely have these layers:
  1. hugs and kisses,
  2. petroleum jelly,
  3. cloth pad, cut to size, and then 
  4. tape.
You did not really want to know about my bandage bins.  What you really want to know is this: 
How do you get duct tape off a dog?
The answer is, you pretend to the dog that you're petting her.  You do not pull the duct tape off the dog.  Rather, you grip small sections of dog hair with your fingers and gently pull the hair away from the duct tape, toward the dog.  The dog is delighted beyond all imagining at the loving attention she gets.  A well-bitten ear takes about 8 days to heal.

1 comment:

  1. The only thing missing in that kit is Humane Healing wound care. Use it instead of petroleum jelly and you will see amazing results!