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What to Put in Your Dog's First Aid Kit: 20 Essentials + a Few Extras

Author:

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Get your first aid kit ready before a problem happens with your dog.

Get your first aid kit ready before a problem happens with your dog.

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.

You should have a first aid kit ready for your dog.

You should have a first aid kit ready for your dog.

What to Put in a Dog First Aid Kit

*Do not use Benadryl if your dog is allergic to it.

Tools to Monitor Dog's StatusTools for Use in Multiple CasesTools for Use in InjuriesTools 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:

1. Thermometer

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:

4. Tweezers

5. Q-tips

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.

The ambulance will usually not come and save your dog.

The ambulance will usually not come and save your dog.

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. (Even if your dog is the sweetest animal in the world this can be very important. If you do not have a muzzle in your kit I have posted a video that shows directions on how to make a homemade muzzle.)

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.

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.

Comments

Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on August 06, 2013:

Thumbs up and Useful - Shared too!

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on September 26, 2012:

I guess I should have put "oral electrolyte solution" but most people know Pedialyte, which is why I put that brand. The Enterolyte is fine, and here we use coconut water, which is clean and an excellent electrolyte. When I lived in Africa we made up our own solution, but could never be sure of the exact components. For the small difference those store brought products are a little better. (Where I lived there were no stores!)

Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on September 26, 2012:

Great advice, DrMark! I have a question for you about suitable electrolytes - we use Entrolyte for our sheep and gave it to the calf once, too (I think of it has animal Gatorade). Do you think this product would be appropriate for dogs, too, or would I be better off with Pedialyte? Thanks :)

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on September 26, 2012:

Or keep it under the car seat, which is probably even better.

I wonder if Amazon.com sells "round toowits"?

Bob Bamberg on September 26, 2012:

Another good hub, Doc. Folks will also need a round toowit...because they'll put the kit together when they get around to it.

The sheet or blanket can also serve as a stretcher, but you're right, it does take up space. My idea would be to wrap the tool box in it, slap a red cross on it, and keep it in the hall closet. Regards, Bob