As a pet owner, you need to make sure to have basic first aid supplies for your pets in your household. Carefully putting together a well-provisioned first aid kit will make you more ready to deal with a medical emergency if one confronts you for your dog, cat or other pet. Have this kit in the house and fully stocked with supplies at all times, next to the first aid kit for your family. Many of the items in a family first aid kit can be used for pets, too.
- A muzzle the right size for your pet. It may seem cruel to place a muzzle on a sick or injured pet, but it’s important to protect the humans handling and caring for the animal. The most docile, gentle pets in the world can become snappish out of fear or due to pain.
- A collar or harness and leash.
- A pair of tweezers for splinter or tick removal.
- A nail trimmer or clipper.
- A pair of blunt-tipped scissors to trim hair away from a wound, or to clip out foreign material caught in your pet’s fur.
- Pre-soaked povidone-iodine (Betadine) pads to clean out cuts, wounds or abrasions, and bottled water. The wound should be flushed with water after using the pre-soaked pads.
- Saline solution. Regular human contact lens saline drops can be used to flush out dirt, sand or other irritants from your pet’s eye. It can also be used to flush away debris from a cut or scrape.
- Triple antibiotic ointment to apply to a wound after it has been cleaned with povidone-iodine and flushed with water.
- Sterile water-soluble lubricating jelly. You can apply water-soluble lubricating jelly around your pet’s eyes if you need to use soap or povidone-iodine to clean a wound close to the eyes.
- Sterile non-stick pads to cover a wound before bandaging.
- Bandage material, either elastic bandages or gauze to hold a non-stick pad in place over a wound.
- Hydrogen peroxide 3% to induce vomiting, but only if your vet or the Animal Poison Control hotline instructs you to do so. Always call your vet or the hotline if you believe your dog or cat may have ingested a toxic substance. Hydrogen peroxide should not be used to clean a wound, as it is known to actually slow the healing process.
- A clean cotton towel that can serve multiple purposes, from a pressure bandage to a blanket, to a sling to lift a larger pet that isn’t able to walk.
- A flashlight. Sometimes a bright light source can help you more readily identify that thorn in your pet’s paw or the tiny tick in between her toes.
- Cotton balls and swabs.
- Ear cleanser.
- Benadryl for hypersensitivity reactions.
- Bach Rescue Remedy for stress.
- Homeopathic Aconitum for shock.
- Styptic/clotting powder to stop bleeding from broken toenails.
- A thermometer
Make sure to keep your kit in an easily accessible location and let everyone in the family know where it is. If you’re traveling with your pet, it’s a good idea to either bring the kit along or prepare a second kit for the car.
Remember that administering first aid to a sick or injured pet is just the first step in handling the emergency. Always seek immediate veterinary care as soon as possible to give your pet the best chance for a full recovery.