April is pet first aid awareness month. All pet owners should have a first aid kit for their pet in case of emergency. However,
there is not a one-size-fits–all answer to what is best for a first aid
There are many pre-made kits that may be purchased for your pet
but building your own kit or adding to a pre-made one may be the best way to
have a kit that is built and customized for your pet’s needs.
There are first aid items that are necessary:
Scissors - you may
need to free your pet from an entanglement or cut matted fur.
Scissors - these have a blunted blade that can easily slip between skin
and bandage material, so you do not cut the patients skin.
Tweezers - to
remove foreign materials from wounds.
Clipper and a Styptic Pen - for torn nails and skin wounds (cornstarch
Quick Clot - stops
Wash - make sure it is eye wash, not contact solution
Ear Wash – ask your
vet what would be best for your pet
Tape - 1” medical
tape. Easy to tear off and holds well.
Roll Gauze - used to
bandage, pad for splints and aid in stopping bleeding.
Telfa Pads - non-stick
dressings for bandaging a wound.
Wash/Wipes - look for non-stinging such as Chlorhexidine or Betadine. Rubbing alcohol is not good for any open
sores or wounds.
Ointment - over-the-counter “general purpose” antibiotic ointment for light
use with a minor skin wound. Not for use in eyes. Caution advised for animals
that may lick or ingest. Use with discretion. The antibiotics are absorbed via
Pain Relief - speak to your vet about obtaining as needed first aid kit pain
relief. Do NOT use human
prescription or over-the-counter pain medications for pets.
Latex Gloves - for
your protection and your pet’s.
Muzzle - even
the most well-trained animals may bite when injured or afraid
Thermometer - know what is normal vital signs for your dog
and how to use the thermometer.
Hot/Cold packs - cool down skin after a burn or keep an
animal warm if hypothermic. Always use
a cloth between the pack and skin and check frequently for redness or
jelly - for use with
wash cloths and a blanket - use for
washing, keeping warm/cool, and if necessary, a way to transport the injured
Diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl) - for stings and allergic
reactions. Speak with your vet first about proper dosing.
Dropper - to flush
wounds or administer fluids by mouth.
List of Phone Numbers - your regular vet, the emergency vet, animal
control, and animal poison control numbers. Program these into your cell phone.
Sturdy Box - ideally plastic or metal, to hold all your
supplies and is easy to carry and pack with you will complete your kit.
a first aid kit for YOUR pet include what is needed for YOUR pet’s specific
needs. For example, a diabetic pet kit should include honey or Karo syrup in
the event of a low blood sugar episode. Pets who have regular medications
should have a couple of days supply of all current medications.
can help you customize a first aid kit to meet your pet’s additional needs.
or building a first aid kit is a great first step it will not be enough in the
event of an emergency if you are not familiar with how to use the items. Here
are some recommendations for preparing yourself in the event of an emergency.
*Take a pet first
*Use the Pet
First Aid by the American Red Cross app
*Read pet first
aid or animal health books
yourself with pet emergency clinics in your area and places you travel to.
Being prepared in the face of an emergency helps ensure the health
and safety of your pets.