It’s good to always be prepared when an emergency strikes with your pet. Anything can happen at any time, so as a pet owner, you’ll want to have some supplies on hand to help until you can get your pet to a Veterinarian. 

The list below is everything you will need to make your own DIY first aid kit for a canine medical emergency. I also recommend that in addition to these items, make sure to have copies of recent medical records (or quick access to them on a cell phone app) and vaccination records.

Digital Thermometer

Dogs (and cats) have higher body temperature than humans. The normal temperature for a dog and cat is 100℉ to 102.5℉. A digital thermometer can be used rectally on your pet to check their temperature. You will likely need someone to gently restrain your pet, and using a small amount of petroleum jelly or plain lubricant, insert the tip of the thermometer into the rectum approximately ½ inch. Wait for the beep and check the temperature. If it is elevated, call your veterinarian for advice.

Emergency Contact Information

It is important to have pet emergency numbers quickly accessible. Write or print out phone numbers for your veterinarian, a 24/7 emergency facility, and Animal poison control. This can also be given to a pet sitter or relative if you are going out of town.

Disposable Gloves

Gloves are essential to have for many reasons but especially for a pet first aid kit. They help protect you while also preventing contamination of any wounds on your pet. They will also help keep your hands free of any bodily fluids from your pet like saliva, blood, and urine.

Bandage Materials

Materials like self-adhering bandages (what veterinary staff call VetRap), gauze, and adhesive tape are necessary supplies to place a wrap over a wound until you can get your pet to a veterinarian. It is important that when placing the bandage, it is not too tight to cut off blood flow or too loose that it will slip off.

Blunt-Tipped Scissors

Having a pair of blunt-tip scissors on hand is always a good idea. You can use them to (carefully) cut fur near an injury or use them to remove adhesive tape and bandaging material if placing a wrap on your pet. 

Sterile Eye Solution

Any type of eye issue, trauma or otherwise, is an immediate medical emergency. If your pet gets a chemical or foreign object in their eye, you should call a veterinarian as soon as possible to describe what is going on and most likely you will be directed to take your pet in. If advised to do so, you can flush your pet’s eye with an eye wash before the trip. After you have done this, have your pet seen by a veterinarian.

Plastic Syringes

Syringes are great to have because they can be used for administering oral medications, giving soft foods to help your pet that may not be eating well, or flushing out a cut or wound.

Tweezers

Removing a sharp object from your pet’s skin or fur or even a tick can be done safely using a pair of tweezers. Remember – when removing a tick, be sure to grasp it by the head, then pull it straight up and out of the skin.

Antiseptic Wipes

An antiseptic is a substance that stops or slows down the growth of bacteria. Several products on the market are frequently used in the human and veterinary field – like rinses, wipes, solutions, etc. Having something like antiseptic wipes to clean a wound is ideal and will help to decrease the risk of infection. They can be used on facial folds, too.

OTC Antibiotic ointment or spray

A generic antibiotic ointment or spray is essential for your pet’s first aid kit. If your pet sustains a small cut or abrasion, you can clean the area of dirt or debris with the antiseptic wipes mentioned above, and apply a thin layer of ointment. Be sure to consult a veterinarian before doing this. It can help if you cannot get to a vet clinic right away, but it is always best to have your pet evaluated by a professional in the event of an injury.

Styptic Powder

For small wounds or cuts that are bleeding or even a cracked toenail, styptic powder will help minimize hemorrhage. As always, check with your veterinarian before applying any type of powder to your dog’s wounds. 

Muzzle

If your pet is injured and in pain, they may snap or bite as a warning to you or whoever is trying to help them. You may have to place a muzzle on your dog so that you can get them safely moved out of harm’s way or into a car or truck for transport to a veterinarian.

Travel Bowl

You may have to quickly evacuate or change locations due to inclement weather or another type of emergency.  Packing up your DIY pet first aid kit in the car or truck is a good idea so you are ready to tend to any injuries when necessary. If the weather is warm or the trip is long, it is good to have a travel bowl on hand for your pet to be able to take a drink, and then it collapses down to save on space. It can also be used for food.

Other items that can be included in your kit:

An Extra leash

Small Flashlight

Magnifying glass

Adhesive Tape

Gauze

Cotton Balls

Make sure to check your pack every six months to make sure nothing has expired or needs to be rotated or replaced. And, of course, keep your kit out of the reach of children.

I hope this post has been helpful in listing all that you need to make your own first aid kit. I hope you never need it but if you do have an emergency with your pet, you will be prepared.

For the love of pets,

Dr. Gina

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