Putting Together a First Aid Kit for Pets

Accidents happen. And they happen to both people and pets. That’s why it’s important to take a page out of the Boy Scout manual and be prepared! I’ve put together a basic list of first aid must-haves in order to make a useful kit for the home. If you take your dogs places, it’s a really good idea to put together a duplicate kit for your car.

Start off with a shoebox-size plastic container that seals tightly and label it accordingly. Keep it in a bathroom cupboard or where you keep other pet supplies. Be sure that everyone in the household knows how to access it in a hurry!  Check the contents of your kit every few months, replacing items that are expired or used up.

Check list of first aid basics:

  • Antiseptic ointment or solution
  • Bottle of hydrogen peroxide
  • Small stainless steel or plastic bowls for solutions to bathe wounds
  • Cotton balls, cotton swabs and a roll of cotton padding
  • Sterile dressing pads
  • Liquid bandage for pets (available from veterinary offices and online pet pharmaceutical supply websites)
  • Small flashlight and fresh batteries to look inside a mouth (be sure to check regularly)
  • Tick remover, a gadget to safely remove ticks
  • Self-adhesive bandages
  • Roll of narrow adhesive tape
  • Latex gloves
  • Sharp tweezers
  • Small blunt scissors
  • Pet digital rectal thermometer
  • Tube or jar of lubricant jelly to lubricate the thermometer before insertion
  • Sterile eye wash solution
  • Eye dropper
  • Syringe to administer liquid medicine
  • Hydrocortisone ointment or antihistamine spray for insect stings
  • Glucose powder to make a rehydrating fluid; use one tablespoon of glucose and add a teaspoon of salt to a liter of water
  • Corn syrup to revive a pet in a diabetic coma; simply rub a little on the gums
  • Ice pack in the fridge marked accordingly for a pet emergency; keep a small towel in your kit to wrap it in for use
  • Small blanket or large towel (place alongside your first aid box if it won’t fit inside) to wrap the pet “burrito style” while administering medication or attending to a wound
  • Elizabethan collar to prevent the pet from interfering with a dressing or bandage
  • Small mirror (to be used in front of a pet’s nose to determine if she’s breathing)

A variety of pet-specific first aid products are on the market. They are worth researching and including in your kit. Put all bottles in plastic bags in case they leak, and be sure to replenish what you use and to periodically check the date stamps on ointments and liquids. Always bear in mind that a first aid kit is there for first aid. It should never be a substitute for a visit to the veterinarian.

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