First Aid Kit for Your Dog

Emergencies can happen to anyone, including our beloved pups. It could be out on a walk, in the home, at a dog park, or anywhere else. If you are at home, chances are you have enough supplies and references nearby to help your dog out in case of illness or injury, but it is a different story when you are out.

As with humans, it's always good to be prepared with a first aid kit. That way all the potential supplies one needs are in one compact storage location. When you and your dog are on the go, having this handy package can be essential in helping your dog in a time of need. But what contents would we want to assemble a canine first aid kit with?

In this article, we will address the essentials that you must include in any dog's first aid kit, as well as things that would be good additions. Obviously, you would want to start with the actual container. It should be light but made out of sturdy plastic or metal. It can either be carried on your person or attached (only if comfortably) to your dog’s body. If it's not a burden, they won’t mind carrying the load. Now let's get to the contents.

Tweezers

A precise pair of tweezers are an essential inclusion into any first aid kit for dogs as they can be used to remove ticks from the dog’s fur or splinters from paws.

Gauze

A roll of gauze is a necessity in any first aid kit to help bandage cuts, wounds, or to stop bleeding in a sanitary and gentle way. Gauze can even be used to help pad a splint if that is what's called for.

Tape

1-inch white medical tape is the best choice. It will hold gauze steady in place over the injured area but will be easy to remove when the time is right without hurting your dog or pulling on his fur. Small rolls can go a long way, as the entire length of a tiny tape roll can be as long as 5 yards, so you don’t risk running out. It is easy to rip for smaller pieces or to cut with a pair of scissors.

Scissors

Speaking of scissors, they are another essential item to include. They not only can help cut tape and gauze to size, but they are also a handy tool when your pet has matted fur pieces or is entangled in something.

Non-Stick Bandages

When a dog needs a particular area covered due to discomfort, non-stick bandages are a fantastic go-to utility. They don’t pull at the dog’s fur when taken off but are light and breathable enough to have your pet wear them over a bothersome area or a cut.

Medicine Box

If your dog takes medications, especially when there are multiple kinds, you don’t want to go scrounging around the first aid kit to find it. First aid kits tend to get tossed around, and loose pills would be nightmarish to deal with unless they are packed into a sturdy, containerized pillbox. This way each medication gets its own compartment and they are packed together without a chance of spilling.

Latex Gloves

When you are assisting your pet, things can get messy depending on the situation. Having a couple of pairs of latex gloves helps to protect you and your dog from any additional, undesirable exposures.

Thermometer

The type of thermometer you include depends on the spaces allotted in the first aid kit among all of the other objects and the sensitivity of your dog. You could use a manual thermometer or a remote one for sensitive dogs. Remember that a dog's body temperature is different from that of humans, so if using a thermometer meant for humans, you need to realize that a high fever for humans may not be as high for dogs. If it is a rectal thermometer, make sure you have some water-based lubricating jelly before using it. Keep in mind that the remote thermometer tends to be large in size, so you will need to assure you have the room.

Syringes

Syringes are one of the best ways to administer medications orally to your pet. A multipack is inexpensive, and you really only need one in the kit at a time.

Soft Muzzle

When a dog is hurt, it can become frantic. They don’t mean to lash out, but a wounded animal in pain often can’t fight nature. A soft muzzle that is both breathable and easy to apply can keep the animal calmer and keep them from biting.

Antibiotic Ointment

General-purpose antibiotic ointments can be used to treat minor skin abrasions. An important factor to keep in mind is that due to the topical nature of these ointments an animal may lick at it after administration. The licking is just a way a dog soothes an area that is in pain, but licking at the ointment is not ideal. They should not ingest it, as well as the debris that is added through this action, which may pollute the antibiotic and reduce its efficacy.

Hot or Ice Packs

These are useful in case an animal gets burned or if the dog is cold. Make sure to always apply hot packs with a towel between them and the dog’s skin.

Extra Washcloths, Towels, Blanket

These can be used to keep a cold dog warmer, comfort an injured and lethargic animal, or if the need arises, transport them.

Portable Bowls

When out of a long time, your dog may get hungry or need to be hydrated. Having a couple of collapsible bowls and a small dose of their regular dog food is always good to have on hand. These do not take up a lot of room and are great to have in a first aid kit.

Vet Numbers & Info

Often, the most overlooked item is the one that has nothing to do with the application to the dog. It is actually the phone number list for the vet and local pet clinics, or medication timetable for the dog’s daily medication necessities. Having this on hand can give you a quick way to contact the necessary people in case a dog experiences a health condition or you cannot remember the time to administer particular medications.

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