How To Build Your Pet First Aid Kit, Step by Step
No one likes to think about an emergency situation, but they can and do happen. When you have pets, things come up that you might not expect, and it can be a great comfort to be prepared. If you can respond quickly to an emergency with your pet, you can stabilize them while you prepare to come to the veterinary hospital or emergency clinic. For this reason, a pet first aid kit is a great tool to have at the ready.
Your Pet First Aid Kit
Every pet needs a first aid kit, even if they’re a homebody! Here are the basics you need for general pet first aid.
Disinfectant cleanser – a bottle of a simple soapy cleanser can help when there’s a small scrape, cut, or other wound that needs cleaning.
Antibacterial ointment or spray – polysporin or another equivalent ointment or spray can provide some protection, pain relief, and can keep scrapes and scratches clean. Make sure you get one without any alcohol in it (alcohol stings!)
Gauze sponges – these are very handy for cleaning wounds or for applying pressure to stop bleeding. Keep it in a ziplock bag so it stays clean.
Artificial tears and eyewash – a saline wash is great for rinsing debris or chemicals out of the eye. Keep in mind that if something has gotten into your pet’s eye, it’s always an emergency and your pet should be seen by a veterinarian right away.
Antihistamines – these are useful to have in case your pet is stung by a bee or other insect. A swollen face is generally a sign that there has been exposure to an allergen. Give us a call for the correct dose for your pet.
Stretchy, self adhesive bandaging – known as vet wrap and cling gauze in veterinary hospitals, a simple bandage kit can slow bleeding and keep wounds clean while you’re on your way to the veterinary hospital.
Newspaper and masking tape – if your pet has a broken bone, a rolled up newspaper and masking tape can help make a temporary splint while you head to the veterinary hospital. This simple splint can immobilize the bone, making the car ride a little bit more comfortable for your pet.
A bite not or elizabethan collar – also known as the cone of shame (for the look some dogs have while wearing one), these are very useful for helping keep your pet from bothering wounds or other injuries while you’re on your way to see us, especially if you’re alone.
Other items – pet treats, an old t-shirt, towels/rags, pet nail trimmers, and a thermometer are other very useful items that you might choose to include in your pet first aid kit.
Beyond The Basics
Once you’ve built your basic kit, you can tailor it to your pet’s lifestyle and activities. You may need one kit for home, and one for the car or vacation home. You may also choose to include specific things that you may need based on what you like to do with your pet – hiking, camping, hunting, and running with your dog could all require more items for a pet first aid kit.
- Make sure your kit is well labeled in case someone else needs it to help your pet
- Keep phone numbers for our hospital and the emergency hospital in the kit, and programmed into your phone
- Take a pet first aid class through the Red Cross. These classes teach you how to use your pet first aid kit and can give you confidence to handle emergency situations. You can also get the Red Cross Pet First Aid App, which gives you access to what to do in emergencies and how to maintain your pet’s health.
- If your pet has specific health conditions, ask us what else you should include in your pet first aid kit.