20 Vitals You Should Put in Your Dog's First Aid Kit (And a Few Extras)
Living in an isolated area, a good first aid kit for my dogs is vital, and I probably use it for minor scrapes and scratches at least once a month. Even if you do not need it often, though, a first aid kit can make a big difference to your dog.
Sometimes that ten minute drive to your local veterinary emergency clinic can turn into twenty (or more-think about flat tires, a breakdown, or even a minor accident), and that emergency treatment you perform at home can make the difference between life and death to your dog.
A first aid kit can be put together easily and kept in a small plastic tool box. It doesn’t take that long to get everything together, and next time you need something you will be able to find it, and right away.
What should go into the first aid kit for your dog?
Essentials for the First Aid Kit
*To monitor your dog´s status, include:
(Be sure to learn what is normal before you are in an emergency. Read about the do it yourself physical exam and do it, every single week! You can take your dog´s temperature quickly, listen to his lungs and heart, and examine his eyes to see if there are any abnormalities.)
*For several conditions, you should include:
6. Syringes in several sizes, and at least one larger syringe with a catheter tip (for giving oral medication)
7.Hemostats (two pairs)
*For injuries, be sure to include:
8. Roll gauze
9. Square gauze pads
10. Vet wrap
11. Adhesive tape
12. Tincture of iodine or clhorhexidine
13. Bandage scissors
14. A styptic pencil, for small injuries/nail injuries
15. Small tube of antibiotic ointment
16. Super glue
(You can read How to treat a wound on your dog now or later, at the moment you need it. I would definitely recommend you read it now and figure out why you are collecting these supplies for your first aid kit and how you are going to use them when your dog needs help.)
*For allergic reactions, do not forget to include:
17. Benadryl, unless your dog is allergic to this antihistamine, in which case you need to find an alternative. The liquid form will be easiest to give him in case of an emergency.
*For diarrhea, include:
18. Pedialyte. You can buy a small bottle and use it if you are concerned your dog might become dehydrated. For minor cases of diarrhea your dog may just need to stop eating. This solution will keep provide him with the electrolytes he is losing in a case of diarrhea.
*For poisoning, always include:
19. Hydrogen peroxide
20. Activated charcoal
(Having a first aid kit may keep your dog alive, especially during poisoning. If your dog ingests a non-caustic substance, you can make him vomit even before taking him to the emergency clinic. By the time you drive your dog to the clinic, he is checked in by the receptionist, and the veterinarian asks what has happened, your dog has already begun to absorb the poison. Giving him activated charcoal at home will save a lot of time.)
*It would also be a good idea to include:
1. Your dog´s vaccination record
2. A card listing any medications your dog is allergic to, as well as any medications he takes
3. Veterinarian´s address and phone number
4. A friend´s address and phone number (someone who knows your dog and would be willing to help if needed.)
5. A muzzle that fits your dog.
Do It Today
It is not possible, or even necessary, to put everything you might need into the first aid kit. Some people recommend that you keep an Elizabethan collar (the plastic collar that will not allow your dog to bite himself) but they are large and I think it is better to keep your kit small and handy. The same thing goes for keeping a sheet or blanket for your dog. Just be sure to carry the essentials that I have included in the list above!
If you have a hunting dog, or you travel with your dog for any reason, you should plan on tossing this first aid kit into the car every time you go out with him. It can make a big difference if something happens and you are out looking for a veterinarian in a new area.
Make up a first aid kit for your dog today. Maybe you will never need it.