Just as everyone should keep a first aid kit for the humans in their home, having a first aid kit for your beloved canine is also essential. Depending on your dog’s lifestyle, the contents of this first aid kit may vary – speak with your vet and get their professional tips and advice. While this is not to be used in lieu of veterinary treatment, it can help prevent further injury and keep your pet comfortable until you are able to reach a vet. For minor accidents and cuts, the first aid kit can ensure you are able to help your furry friend heal faster and prevent infection.
Here we’ve created a list of the items every first aid kit for dogs should contain. Whether you have already purchased a pre-made first aid kit and want to add any additional extras you or your vet think are necessary or if you are starting from scratch to build your very own kit, we’ve got the all-important list of contents to include:
It’s a good idea to start your kit by keeping a plastic sleeve inside that includes photocopies of your dog’s medical records and their microchip/identification paperwork.
Emergency phone numbers
In the event that something happens, you want to have fast access to the number of your dog’s vet and after hours pet emergency hospital nearby so you can get fast advice over the phone on how to proceed with care.
Pet first aid book
A first aid book that can guide you through some basic scenarios and what to do is essential. It will also help you to assess the condition of your pet by outlining what you should be checking for in particular situations.
If your dog takes medication, it’s a good idea to store some in your first aid kit. Just ensure that this is rotated in and out of your first aid kit as it gets used to ensure there is always fresh medication kept in the first aid kit.
Collar and lead
In the case something happens to your dog’s own collar and lead or if you need to treat another dog, having an extra set in your first aid kit is a good idea.
Moist face or baby wipes
High quality, antibacterial moist wipes are great for cleaning up your dog and yourself after administering treatment.
Using gloves before administering treatment is advised not only to keep your own hands clean, but also to ensure you don’t contaminate wounds if you are dressing a cut, graze or scratch.
When dealing with small splinters, ticks etc., having a magnifying glass to look at the area is helpful.
Tweezers are the essential tool needed when you have to remove splinters, thorns, grass seeds or other foreign particles from your pet.
There are special tick remover tools that are designed to minimise the amount of poison released by the tick as you get it out of your pet. If you live in an area prone to ticks or you are taking your pet camping or away from home, it’s always a good idea to have one of these handy.
The right antiseptic is essential for disinfecting instruments and hands. Make sure you know the recommended concentration for use and only purchase one that is safe for dogs. Speak with your vet.
Conforming bandages help to apply pressure evenly to wounds because they cling to the contours of your dog’s body and limbs. They can also be used in the case of a snakebite1, as they can reduce the blood flow in and out of the area, which minimises how much poison can enter the rest of the body.
Adhesive bandages are used to hold everything in place once you’ve dressed a wound. Just make sure you don’t put them on too tightly or this will restrict blood flow1.
A quality ear wash from your vet should be a staple item in your dog’s first aid kit. Speak to your vet about which one is most appropriate for your pet.
If something is in your dog’s eye that shouldn’t be, a sterile eye wash is great to have on hand to flush your pet’s eye out.
This is useful in the case of a suspected dislocation or fracture. Use it to support and relieve the pain while you transport your dog to the vet.
These are handy if you have to give your dog liquid by mouth, flush eyes, or even flush wounds to get rid of dirt and debris.
Using a ratio of two level teaspoons to one litre of clean water, salt can make a handy and safe antiseptic solution for flushing wounds or bathing¹.
Curved, round-ended scissors
For cutting supplies and for carefully cutting hair from around a wound, the right scissors are a useful tool.
A roll of cotton wool is useful for applying antiseptic to wounds, applying pressure to stop bleeding and is the ideal padding to use under splints and bandages.
You can buy these from your vet or a reputable pet supply store, and they generally come in ready-to-use sealed packets. These sterile gauze dressings are coated in a material that ensures they don’t stick to burns or open wounds so they can be applied directly over the top of the affected area.
Towels and a blanket
Old towels are great for washing and drying your pet, while blankets will help keep them warm and comfortable.
Small torch with extra batteries
These are very useful when you need to look into your dog’s eyes, ears or mouth in poor lighting2.
While you are treating your dog, using a muzzle is often recommended, even if your dog is known to be gentle3. If, however, you suspect your dog has ingested something or has a head injury, do not use the muzzle as they may need to vomit. If you do use a muzzle, only put it on for short periods of time when examining and treating the wound or if your dog is aggressive because he/she is in pain. You’re best to speak with your vet to work out what approach is best for your dog.
Just like any other member of the family, it’s important that your dog has fast access to medical treatment should they need it. Having a first aid kit that is portable is essential to ensure you are always prepared in case of the event that your fur-baby requires emergency care.