When your pet suffers an injury, knowing what to do (and what not to do) can significantly affect your pet’s healing and recovery time. It can also help your emotional stress, because you will have a plan of action to follow. Taking a pet first aid class is an excellent idea, but of course, you also need to make sure you have the supplies necessary to administer first aid if and when the time comes. Do you have a pet first aid kit?
Below is a list of items every pet owner should include in their pet’s first aid kit. Depending on your particular pet’s medical history, you may need additional items, as well. It’s always a good idea to talk with your veterinarian to ensure that your own pet’s first aid kit is as complete as possible.
Pet First Aid Kits:
- They are important to have and easy to put together.
- Put together two and keep one in your home and one in your car.
- Talk with your veterinarian to ensure that your own pet’s first aid kit is as complete as possible. Their breed and medical history, and your lifestyle may dictate the need for specific items.
- ACE bandage or cohesive bandage cover, such as VetWrap (Saran wrap, or another plastic cling film can serve the same purpose in a bind)
- Activated charcoal (can help in certain poisonings and toxicities – never use this without first checking with your veterinarian or animal poison control )
- Bandage scissors (these have a blunted tip to prevent cutting the skin)
- Bandage tape
- Battery powered beard trimmer (for trimming fur around wounds - it’s best to avoid using scissors for this purpose)
- Benadryl (check with your veterinarian for the recommended dose and if appropriate for your pet)
- Blood clotting powder (e.g., ClotIt) to quickly stop bleeding
- Cotton swabs (e.g., Qtips)
- Digital thermometer
- Duct tape (to secure a temporary bandage or to help splint and stabilize a broken bone)
- Emergency (warming) blankets
- Eye flush (saline) - also good to have a bottle of Artificial Tears to use in eye after flushing it out with saline
- Emergency numbers (your vet, animal poison control, local animal emergency hospital )
- Extra leash (slip leash is great!)
- First aid manual
- Flashlight or penlight
- Gauze squares and a cotton roll to bandage bleeding injuries (a diaper or maxi-pad can serve the same purpose in a bind)
- 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (can be used to induce vomiting in certain situations – never induce vomiting without first speaking with your veterinarian or animal poison control ) (*Do not use hydrogen peroxide to clean or disinfect wounds, as it can actually slow healing. See below for wound cleaning product recommendation.)
- Ice packs
- Lube (Vaseline or KY)
- Muzzle (pets in pain are more likely to bite – even their owner)
- Non-stick bandage pads, such as Telfa pads
- A bottle of saline wound flush (or even a saline eye/contact lens flush or saline nasal spray) for cleaning wounds - these are available over-the-counter. Alternatively, you can ask your vet to sell you a small bottle of either a chlorhexidine gluconate or povidone iodine solution to have on hand for cleaning and disinfecting your cat's wounds. The chlorhexidine should be diluted to a 0.05% solution, while the povidine iodine should be diluted to a 1% solution for safe and effective cleaning and disinfecting. [Not sure how to do dilutions? Click here for an easy-to-use dilution calculator to help you get it right. And, for safety sake when diluting, always add the chlorhexidine or iodine to the water, and not the other way around. Just in case of splash back.]
- Towels & rags
- Various syringes
- Supply of your pet’s chronic medications (if any)
- Tick remover
- Old credit card (to remove bee stingers)
Put together two first aid kits and keep one in your home and one in your car so you are covered both at home and when on the road. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but it truly is better to be over-prepared than under.