If we had to bet, you probably have a first aid kit in your home, but have you considered adding a pet-specific first aid kit? Much like a human first aid kit, a pet first aid kit is one of those home items that is important to have, but hopefully, you will never have to use.
Pet first aid kits are available at any pet supply store, but they can just as easily be made yourself. If you’re interested in assembling your own pet first aid kit, we’ve put together a list of the must-have items that should be included.
PET FIRST AID BOOK
Even if you have first aid training, it’s helpful to have a printed guide to walk you through the basics. Don’t just buy this book and put it away, though; it’s critical that you look it over before an emergency takes place. This way, you have a solid foundation of knowledge and know what the book does and does not cover in the event of an emergency.
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS
If you’ve ever been in an emergency situation, you know that it can be hard to keep your thoughts straight. This is why it’s good practice to keep all important phone numbers handy. This list of phone numbers should include the contact information for your vet, your local after-hours emergency clinic, animal poison control, and your own contact information if you are leaving your pet with a sitter.
Keeping an up-to-date record of your pet’s vaccinations is another important thing to include in a pet first aid kit. This way, if something does happen you won’t be wracking your brain trying to remember when your pet’s last shots were.
Before you begin to administer any first aid, you want to make sure that you are protected. The best way to protect yourself, and your pet, from the spread of germs, is by wearing a pair of disposable gloves when providing any medical treatment.
When your pet is in pain or scared, there is a chance that they might try and nip you. This can happen with even the friendliest pet, which is why you should include a muzzle in your first aid kit. If you don’t want to include a muzzle in your kit, medical gauze can be a great substitute.
Bandages, gauze, and vet wrap are designed specifically to help control bleeding and cover wounds until your vet can examine them. Plus, as we mentioned before, they can be handy for other situations, such as creating a makeshift muzzle. One thing to try and avoid, though, is placing adhesives directly on your pet’s fur, as it can be difficult and uncomfortable to remove.
If you do need to adhere something, such as a bandage, directly to your pet’s skin or fur, do so with medical tape. This tape is designed to be adhesive, but still easy to remove, making it the more comfortable option for your pet.
If you have bandages, gauze, vet wrap, or medical tape in your pet first aid kit, you’ll want to keep a pair of scissors handy as well. Scissors can also be helpful to remove fur around the injured area, if necessary.
Hydrogen peroxide is another great item to keep in your kit, as it serves two unique purposes. The first, and most obvious, is to clean wounds before dressing them. The second, less obvious use, is to induce vomiting in your pet. This may be necessary if your pet as ingesting something toxic, but always consult with your vet or animal poison control before doing so.
Just like we use tweezers to remove embedded objects from our skin, they are great for removing items from your pet’s, such as ticks or glass.
RECTAL THERMOMETER AND LUBRICANT
This one may make some pet owners a bit squeamish, but rectal thermometers are the best way to get an accurate reading of your pet’s temperature. To make inserting the thermometer easier and more comfortable for everyone, use a small quantity of water-based lubricant.
This may seem like an odd one, but dish soap is actually very effective at removing toxins from your pet’s skin and fur. If you do use dish soap, just make sure that you fully rinse it off as it can cause dryness and irritation if left on for extended periods of time.
Treats are great to use if you need to calm or distract your pet while providing first aid. While your pet is focusing on their treats, you can quickly finish the task at hand, such as banding a cut or removing an embedded item.
Having these items handy is great, but it’s important that you’re comfortable using them before you are faced with an emergency situation. If you have any questions about how to use any of the equipment you’ve included in your kit, the best person to ask is your veterinarian. They will be happy to answer any of your questions at your next appointment!