Pet First Aid Kit
Be Prepared in an Emergency
An accident or a natural disaster can occur at any time. Whether an injury, earthquake, storm or wild fire threatens your pet’s wellbeing, be prepared: Keep a pet first aid kit along with a few weeks’ worth of food and medications stored in an easy-to-grab container plus an ample supply of water.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Pet First Aid Kit Items
You can easily put together a well-stocked pet first aid kit using a waterproof container that opens and closes easily. Recommended items for your pet first aid kit include:
- Veterinarian's contact information: Have numbers for both your family veterinarian and an after-hours emergency veterinarian readily available.
- Scissors can cut fur and bandages.
- Tweezers can help remove objects from skin or paws.
- An eyedropper can dispense liquid medication or clean superficial wounds.
- A digital thermometer can tell you if your pet is running a fever (a mercury thermometer can shatter). Normal dog and cat body temperature is 101 to 102.5F.
- Gloves help protect you and keep the wound sanitary.
- Contact lens solution, hydrogen peroxide or saline can be used to clean a wound.
- Alcohol prep pads to sterilize items such as scissors or tweezers.
- Gauze pads will help clean injuries and can be used in a bandage to stop bleeding.
- Gauze rolls can be wrapped around wounds or use as a safety muzzle.
- An instant cold pack will help reduce swelling or pain.
- Rags or rubber tubing can be used as a tourniquet.
- Diapers or feminine hygiene pads to place over bleeding wounds
- A soft muzzle can be used to prevent your pet from biting you or chewing on an injury while in pain.
- Mild dish soap (like Dawn) to bathe off topical irritants or toxins.
- An E-collar is an opaque or clear plastic, cone-shaped protector that attaches to your pet's collar and can be found at veterinary clinics and pet stores available in a variety of sizes, The E-collar prevents your pet from accessing a wound or injury.
- A blanket or towel can be wrapped around an injured pet, or be used to carry an injured pet.
Pet First Aid Tips
If your pet becomes injured due to an accident or a natural disaster, it’s important to stabilize your companion before heading to a veterinary clinic.
Ask someone else to call your veterinarian while you focus on administering first aid, such as applying direct pressure to a wound to help stop the bleeding and/or assessing the best way to move your pet without causing further pain or injury.
If possible, move your pet in a large box or on a board to prevent worsening any spinal or orthopedic injuries that may exist.
Animals in pain may bite you, which is why it’s critical that you can provide evidence of your pet’s rabies vaccination at all times. Depending on state regulations, a pet without proof of current rabies vaccination may be quarantined.
Get Veterinary Help
Whatever the situation, if you suspect your pet is ill or injured don't hesitate to take them to your veterinarian. The earlier the problem is identified and the appropriate treatment is started, the better the outcome will be.
Having a prepared pet first aid kit on hand will benefit not only your pet but your entire family — it’s one less thing to worry about while getting your family to a safe place.
Reviewed by Tony Johnson, DVM, Dip. ACVECC