Assembling a Simple, 20-Piece Canine First Aid Kit
Accidents happen. Having a canine first aid kit will enable you to respond to and treat common canine injuries and ailments. The list below provides basic suggestions and each kit can be personalized based upon your dog and their needs. Remember, if you have more than one dog, it may be necessary to have more supplies available in the event each of your dogs requires first aid.
While a pet first aid kit can provide a first line of defense to address minor cuts and injuries, if in doubt, take your dog to an emergency veterinarian, who can offer trained, professional care.
- Container. A sturdy, waterproof container, such as a fishing tackle-type box, will keep the items clean and safe from damage.
- Label. Clearly label the container as a pet first aid kit and include all pertinent contact information: primary veterinarian; poison control center phone number; nearest emergency veterinary hospital; names and doses of medications taken regularly by each dog; owners’ names, addresses, and phone numbers. This information is helpful to the owner at a potentially traumatic time, but it is also helpful if the owner is incapacitated or other people less familiar with the dog(s) need to find or use the kit.
- Canine First Aid Reference Guide. This resource contains instructions on how to navigate common canine medical emergencies.
- Sterile, non-stick gauze pads in several sizes.
- Adhesive tape
- Antiseptic wipes, liquid, powder or spray.
- Antibiotic ointment
- Styptic powder, which helps stop superficial bleeding; this is especially useful for injuries to the nails.
- Towels that can be used to apply pressure to bleeding area or to stabilize an injured or broken limb.
- Muzzle. Shock and pain from injuries can cause dogs to unwittingly bite.
- Rectal thermometer
- Petroleum jelly
- Hot/Cold packs
- Latex/Rubber Gloves
- Slant-tipped scissors, a disposable razor, and/or clippers, depending on the dog’s coat. Some wounds may require fur removal in order to be adequately cleaned and/or dressed.
- Tweezers to remove ticks or embedded objects from a dog’s skin.
- Sterile saline solution to flush debris from wounds, ears or eyes.
- Hydrogen Peroxide. This can be used as an emetic to produce vomiting.
- A can of wet food, which can help reduce the effects of poisoning. If poisoning is suspected, contact the poison control center before administering anything to your dog by mouth. Treatment varies depending on the type of poison. Make sure the can opens by a pull-tab and doesn’t require an opener.
And don’t forget, dogs respond best to love and a level head. Seeing your dog injured is traumatic, but he’ll take cues from you and be more calm if you provide comfort and a soothing tone.
Check out our article on Disaster Preparedness.
Help Future Generations of Dogs
Participate in canine health research by providing samples or by enrolling in a clinical trial. Samples are needed from healthy dogs and dogs affected by specific diseases.