How to Prepare a First Aid Kit for Your Pet

Pets get hurt.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t watch them every second of every day. And chances are great sometime, somehow, your furry friend will get injured.

April is Pet First Aid Awareness month. You know where the nearest pet emergency facility is. You have your vet’s number on speed dial. You also need a pet first aid kit.

Fortunately, many of the things you need for your pet are items you probably already have on hand.

Wound Care

If your pet has a wound, you want to try to stop the bleeding, clean it, and cover it until a professional can look at it. Your pet first aid kit should include:

  • Gauze: both gauze pads and roll gauze.
  • Self-adhesive tape: when taping the gauze, try to have it extend beyond the tape.
  • Antibiotic spray or lotion: be sure to cover the wound after applying this so your pet doesn’t lick it off.
  • Cotton balls: to help apply the spray or lotion.
  • Saline solution: for flushing wounds and eyes.
  • Aloe Vera: for soothing burns and cuts.
  • Blunt nose scissors: for trimming fur, cutting gauze, and cutting tape.

Medications

There are some medications you should have available, in case you’re directed to use them. Do not administer medications unless you’re instructed to by a vet or poison control center.

  • Hydrogen peroxide (3% solution): for inducing vomiting, only if instructed by a vet or poison control personnel
  • Diphenhydramine: for allergic reactions, but only if directed by a vet.
DIYFirstAid

Basic First Aid Kit; photo by Randy Hair

Other Helpful Items

  • Petroleum jelly: for lubrication.
  • Styptic pencil or powder: to help stop bleeding from a broken nail.
  • Eyedropper: for administering medicine or small amounts of water or other liquid as directed by your vet.
  • Disposable gloves: to keep wounds and your hands free from contaminants.
  • Plastic bags: to help keep foot injuries clean.
  • Rectal thermometer: your dog’s temperature should register between 100°F and 103°F.
  • Nylon muzzle: even the most even-tempered, gentle dog can nip or bite if injured.
DIYFirstAid

Outdoor First Aid Kit; photo by Randy Hair

Outdoor Kit

There are additional items you should include if you’re outdoors with your pet. You may want to set up a separate kit for outdoor excursions. Just be sure to bring the regular first aid kit as well.

  • Collapsible bowl: you want to be sure your pet can drink wherever he is.
  • Tweezers: to remove ticks and small thorns.
  • Pliers: to remove larger thorns.
  • Flashlight: even if you’re not out after dark, you may need to see into a crevice or thick brush.
  • Spare leash and collar: in case the one he’s wearing is damaged or hopelessly entangled in brush or rocks.
  • Towels and/or blankets: to keep your dog warm, and also to help keep your car clean if your dog is vomiting.
DIYFirstAid

First Aid Kit in a bin; photo by Randy Hair

Special Needs for Your Dog

Be sure to consider your specific dog’s needs.

  • A small supply of any medications your dog needs.
  • High sugar source, like corn syrup, for diabetic dogs.
  • Any other items that are necessary in your particular area or weather conditions.

Vet Papers and Vaccination Records

One last thing you might want to keep in the kit:

  • Your pet’s vaccination records and other pertinent health information. If you have to take your pet to the emergency vet, these records will be helpful. By keeping them in the first aid kit, you know where they are and you will be reminded to take them along.

 

It’s frightening when your furry friend is injured. But if you’re prepared with a little first aid knowledge, a first aid kit, and transportation to the vet if necessary, your calm demeanor will help ease your pet’s fear and pain.

Meet the Author: Pam Hair

Pam Hair is a pet industry copywriter with Fuzzy Friends Writer, where she combines her three passions: a love of animals, a strong desire to help other people, and the joy of writing. She has been a pet parent over the years to dogs, cats, and a variety of rodents. Currently she and her husband share their home with two guinea pigs.

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