What to Put in Your Dog's First Aid Kit: 20 Essentials + a Few Extras
Why Do You Need a First Aid Kit for Your Dog?
Because I live in an isolated area, a good first aid kit for my dogs is vital. I probably use it for minor scrapes and scratches at least once a month. Even if you do not need a first aid kit as often as I do, having one readily available 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). When unexpected circumstances arise, 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 toolbox. 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 to Put in a Dog First Aid Kit
Tools to Monitor Dog's Status
Tools for Use in Multiple Cases
Tools for Use in Injuries
Tools for Allergic Reactions/Diarrhea/Poisoning
Thermometer, stethoscope, penlight.
Tweezers, Q-tips, Syringes, Hemostats(x2)
Roll gauze, Square gauze pads, Vet wrap, Adhesive tape, Tincture of iodine (or clhorhexidine), Bandage scissors, Styptic pencil, Antibiotic ointment, Superglue
Benadryl*, Pedialyte, Hydrogen Peroxide, Activated Charcoal
20 Essentials for Your Dog's First Aid Kit
Tools to Monitor Your Dog's Status:
2. Stethoscope: You can buy a set of these for just a few dollars and since they are not included in those kits it is important that you buy a set.
3. Penlight: 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.
Tools You Might Need in Several Situations:
6. Syringes in several sizes: Include at least one larger syringe with a catheter tip for giving oral medication.
7. Hemostats (two pairs)
Tools for Injuries
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.
Tools for Allergic Reactions
17. Benadryl: If your dog is allergic to this antihistamine, you need to find an alternative. The liquid form will be easiest to give him in case of an emergency.
Tools for Diarrhea
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.
Tools for Use in Case of Poisoning
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.
What About Those Extras?
It is also a good idea to include:
- Your dog's vaccination record.
- A card listing any medications your dog is allergic to, as well as any medications he takes.
- Veterinarian's address and phone number.
- A friend's address and phone number (someone who knows your dog and would be willing to help if needed).
- 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.
Do you have a first aid kit for your dog?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.