Every pet parent should have a pet first aid kit. You never know when your pet’s going to become sick, get injured, or otherwise need a little fix up before the vet can arrive.
But what should you include in your pet’s first aid kit?
Our vets recommend building your own kit rather than relying on pre-made kits that might not include everything you could need. For the most part, you can get everything for your pet’s first aid kit where you’d buy supplies for your own…and be sure to reevaluate your kit every year to ensure nothing’s gone bad or needs replacing. It’s a good idea to keep one kit at home in case an emergency happens and create one for times when you’re traveling with your pet.
Here’s how to DIY a pet first aid kit that’s got (most) everything you need.
Gauze is, of course, critical for controlling blood loss if your pet has incurred a wound, but it’s also great for muzzling a cat or dog in a situation in which you need them to be calm while you work to treat them.
Store a few non-adhesive bandages in varying sizes to cover wounds. It’s not a good idea to use Band-Aids or other human adhesive bandages on your pet (ouch!) so instead, keep a small roll of adhesive tape to attach the bandages to a gauze wrap.
Poisoning is one of the number one reasons pet owners call their vet. Keep some activated charcoal on hand to absorb poison if necessary, but always call your vet or an emergency clinic before administering anything in the wake of an accidental poisoning.
Hydrogen peroxide can be used to induce vomiting when poisoning has occurred (such as when a dog has eaten chocolate) but you should never induce vomiting in a poisoned pet without speaking to a vet first; vomiting after ingesting several common poisons can actually make things worse. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to clean wounds.
For yourself, particularly if you’re worried about whether or not your pet’s wound has become infected or that they may have come into contact with a serious pathogen.
Saline Eye Solution
Eye problems are also common issues at vets’ offices. Having a small bottle of saline eye drops can help flush out any foreign objects (like dirt or even glass) from your pet’s eye area.
Particularly if you have a small dog or a cat, keeping a stabilizing board (something as simple as a piece of rigid foam board twice the size of your pet will work!) handy is a good idea. If your pet falls or becomes suddenly paralyzed, keeping them immobile as possible en route to the vet is paramount.
Benadryl, Dramamine, Hydrocortisone
ALWAYS talk to your vet first about which “people” medicines are safe for your pet. In general, small doses of Benadryl (for allergic reactions), Dramamine (for motion sickness), and hydrocortisone cream (for skin irritation) are safe for most pets.
Keep an index card in your first aid kit with the numbers of your regular vet, the nearest emergency vet clinics, and the poison control hotline. You shouldn’t count on your 5G to work when in an emergency! An analog number written down can always be dialed by someone with better service or even from a landline.
Do you keep anything in your pet’s first aid kit we didn’t mention?
Remember, keep your kit somewhere readily accessible in an emergency – don’t stash it in the back of the closet behind eight suitcases! If you already have an earthquake kit for pets or other emergency stash for yourself, store your pet’s kit nearby.