If a disastrous earthquake hit Southern California, would you be prepared? If you found a tick on your dog would you know how to safely remove it? From the worst case scenario to the most common occurrence, a first-aid kit can mean a world of difference.
Does your household even have a first-aid kit for humans? Many people don’t even think about a first-aid kit for themselves, let alone their pets. But why not? While some dogs are more accident prone than others, there are no guarantees that your dog will never get hurt. If you could clean up a cut, wash debris out of an eye, wrap a sore paw, or remove a tick without incurring a vet bill, would you?
What you need in your first-aid kit depends on your first-aid training. The most basic kit for your pet should include the following:
4x4 Gauze Squares- to control bleeding
Rolled Gauze- to secure the gauze squares
Adhesive Tape or self-adhering bandage- to secure the rolled gauze
Styptic powder & Cotton Swabs- to control minor bleeding (like a broken toe nail). Corn starch or corn flour will also work.
Blunt-nosed scissors- to carefully remove bandages or cut anything close to the body
Tweezers- to remove ticks or debris from a wound
3% Hydrogen Peroxide- to induce vomiting and clean a minor wound
Eye Wash or Saline solution- to flush a minor wound and clean eyes
Cold Pack- to aid in heat stroke, cool burns, and reduce swelling
Antibiotic ointment (or diluted 15% tee tree oil or vitamin E gel or Pure Aloe Vera Gel)- to soothe and promote healing of minor cuts, scrapes, and insect bites
Needle-less Syringe or Eye Dropper- to administer medications and other liquids
Digital Thermometer- to check your pet’s temperature. A dog’s temperature is typically 100.4˚F – 102.5˚F
Other items you can keep on hand for your dog are:
Antihistamine Tablets- for bee stings and snake bites. The dosage is 1mg per pound of body weight (ex. dog weighs 30 lbs, give 30mg). Double dosage for snake bites. Any dog with major swelling or difficulty breathing should go to the vet.
Antacid Tablets- for upset stomachs. Administer according to body weight and withhold food for 24 hours. Pepto-Bismol is ok for dogs but NOT for cats. Mylanta can be used for dogs and cats.
Electrolyte Replenisher- to rehydrate
Leash- to wrangle a pet in need of help, or can be used as a muzzle if a dog needs to be restrained while being treated.
Towel or Blanket- to treat for shock, help transport a pet, or help restrain a pet
Phone Numbers & Addresses- In case of an emergency, it is always best to leave veterinarian contact info with the first aid kit along with any other important numbers you may need in a hurry. If your regular vet does not offer 24 hour service, keep the number and directions to the nearest 24 hour vet in your first-aid kit as well.
First aid kits can be expensive but you don’t have to have the biggest and best kit on the market. You can build your kit over the year starting with things you would most likely use such as gauze, hydrogen peroxide, triple antibiotic, and tweezers.
Maintaining your first-aid kit is just as important as building it. Be sure to restock after use and check expiration dates each year.
If you don’t know much about first aid, you can always find plenty of ‘How to’ videos online. If you are seriously interested in further education and training, you can sign up for a pet first-aid and CPR class. Check out classes offered by Denise Fleck, owner and founder of Sunny Dog Ink and an expert on the topic of pet first-aid. And if you aren’t up to the task of making your own first-aid kit, Denise also offers ready-made pet first-aid kits for sale on her website.