Just like it’s important to have basic first aid supplies in your house in case you or any family member have any minor injuries, it’s always a good idea to have a few essentials for your four-legged friend. Whether it’s just a splinter or even a broken bone, you’ll want to have a pet first aid kit handy. Moreover, it’s even better if you take a pet first aid class.
While there are countless pre-made pet first aid kits available to buy, it’s usually best to make your own kit based on your furry friend’s unique lifestyle and individual needs. In fact, many of the supplies that you should include in your dog’s or cat’s first aid kit can also be helpful for humans.
It’s important to remember that a pet’s first aid needs largely depend on their age, breed, and lifestyle. Therefore, don’t hesitate to talk to your veterinarian to help you figure out what items you should include in a pet first aid kit.
For instance, if your dog happens to be diabetic, their kit can include honey to deal with a low blood sugar episode, while outdoorsy and active dogs may require things like splints in case of an injury. If your pet is already on medication, you should ensure they are always well-stocked (at least for a couple of days), and you’ll also want to rotate the medications out so they don’t expire.
Ready to get started? I’ve rounded up 10 supplies you should always have in your house in case your pet gets injured. Check this out!
Tweezers are definitely a must in any pet first aid kit, especially if you and your furry friend spend a lot of time outdoors. When a foreign, tiny object, such as a thorn, splinter, or piece of glass, becomes lodged in your pet’s skin, it can be pretty difficult, if not impossible, to remove it with just your finger. Therefore, tweezers are the safer, easier, and more sanitary choice.
You may also need a tool like this in your pet first aid kit for tick removal, especially if you live in close proximity to the woods. When pulling out a tick, it’s important to grab it as close to your furry friend’s skin as possible, and this is a much simpler thing to do by using tweezers.
2. Ice/Hot Packs
The next thing that should be in any pet first aid kit are ice and hot packs. The ability to provide your pet with heat and/or ice therapy in the event of an injury can be vital. That way, if your pup seems sore after strenuous exercise or seems to have suffered a severe injury, you can start with ice and then make the switch to heat.
Just make sure you don’t forget to use a cloth between your dog’s skin and the pack, and monitor frequently for irritation or redness.
Cold therapy is great because it helps reduce inflammation and swelling in your dog while soothing pain (because it helps reduce damage to muscles). It can also promote faster healing and decrease muscle spasms.
Hot therapy can come in handy if your pet has certain health issues, such as arthritis. Hot packs, on the other hand, can boost recovery thanks to the increase in blood circulation caused by the heat.
3. Contact Information
Besides the supplies for dealing with your pet’s medical needs, you should also have important contact information in the pet first aid kit. Vital information to keep handy includes your vet’s name and contact information, contact information for animal poison control, and details for an emergency vet open 24/7.
Ideally, this same list should also include your furry friend’s birthday, their medical conditions, and the medication they are taking. That way, you can provide the emergency vet with all the information they need in an instant.
Don’t forget to give a copy of this list to anyone who watches over your pet.
Bandages are staples in any pet first aid kit. In many cases, the bandage you first apply to an injury will be temporary until you can take your pet to their veterinarian. Even so, it serves a very vital role by preventing contamination and providing support.
Make sure you snuggly wrap the bandage so it won’t fall off, but not too tight to compromise blood flow. Gauze or non-adhesive vet wrap are both great choices that will control bleeding and keep wounds clean. If you can’t get them when customizing a pet first aid kit, grab a clean sock, clean rags, or an old, clean shirt.
What if your pet’s injury is bleeding a lot? Keep reading to find an item that should be in any pet first aid kit!
5. Blood Clotting Powder
If your four-legged friend is bleeding from an injury, it’s very easy to panic and not know what to do first. Whether it’s from a gash from playing a bit too rough outside, an animal bite, or a torn toenail, the great news is that there’s something that can help you stop the flow of blood until you get to a veterinarian and the wound can be treated.
Blood clotting powder specially formulated for dogs can help keep bandages from getting fully soaked with blood (and obviously protect the interior of your car on the way to the animal hospital or the vet). But even more importantly, the blood clotting powder can also help prevent dangerous and even deadly blood loss if your dog has experienced significant blood vessel damage. So make sure you have it in the pet first aid kit. Better safe than sorry.
6. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide can be a very powerful tool in a pet first aid kit because it can be used to safely induce vomiting in certain situations. Obviously, this can only be done after you have the OK from your veterinarian. If you didn’t know about this one by now, it may seem like a harsh thing to put your dog through, but it can actually save his or her life.
Another reason why you may want to have hydrogen peroxide in the pet first aid kit is that it can also be used as part of a de-skunking recipe if your furry friend has a run-in with one of the stinky creatures while playing in the backyard or hiking in the woods.
One thing to keep in mind when using hydrogen peroxide to disinfect wounds is that it will have to be diluted (ask your vet for that).
7. Antibiotic Ointment
Another thing to have in the pet first aid kit is antibiotic ointment. It can be a very useful staple to treat minor wounds for your four-legged companion. Most over-the-counter options can be used for most types of wounds, but one thing to keep in mind is to prevent your pet from licking them. Also, make sure the antibiotic ointment doesn’t get to their eyes.
To take extra caution, get a pet-friendly fast-acting ointment that can be safely used to treat injuries, including cuts, rashes, dry skin, sores, and even allergies. What’s great about this type of ointment is that it won’t harm your dog if they accidentally ingest it.
A thermometer is a must in any pet first aid kit. Measuring your dog’s or cat’s temperature can help you determine how severe their condition is. When seeking help from your veterinarian over the phone, they may ask you for this information, so it’s always a good idea to be able to provide it.
For stress-free insertion, apply a water-based or petroleum lubricant to the metal tip of the thermometer. If it’s possible, have someone distract and gently restrain your pet while you do the job.
Lift the tail only a bit to have enough room to slide only the metal bulb of the thermometer into your dog’s or cat’s rectum (roughly one-half inch). Make sure you buy a thermometer that can read up to at least 105 degrees F.
9. Antiseptic Wipes
A dog’s or cat’s skin is more sensitive than ours; therefore, using antibacterial products made for humans on our pets isn’t recommended. Not only do they contain toxic ingredients, but they can actually worsen your pet’s skin condition.
For instance, a dog’s skin pH levels range between 5.5 and 7.5, whereas normal human skin pH levels range anywhere from 5.2 to 6.2. This means that using human products on dogs will dry out your pet’s skin instead of treating it.
Using antiseptic wipes on your pet’s wounds will clean the area and minimize the risk of infection. I find this very important when you’re dealing with a pet injury. Veterinarians also point out that any pet first aid kit should contain a package of antiseptic wipes.
While antiseptic rinses can be versatile, wipes tend to be much easier to use on your pet’s face and toes. There are many different brands available out there, but what I’d recommend you choose is a sting-free option.
Depending on your individual pet’s needs, you may need to keep specific medications handy (including prescription medications). In fact, a pet first aid kit must include medications, especially if your four-legged friend has a medical condition.
Talk to your veterinarian about having a backup supply of any useful or prescribed medication in your first aid kit. If you can’t find or run out of the medication, you can easily turn to the backup supply. Always check to ensure these medicines haven’t expired.
You may also want to read 7 Amazing Tips to Take Care of Your Dog’s Teeth Like a Pro.