For humans, first aid kits can be great to have around just in case of accidents. Things like compression wraps, bandaids, and topical antibiotics can all help out with more minor injuries or buy some time until you can get to a medical professional. Similarly, every home with a pet should have a basic pet first-aid kit. Like humans, there are plenty of injuries, illnesses, other ailments, or even medical emergencies that our beloved pets might suffer during their lives. Basic first aid cannot and should not be a substitute for veterinary care but in some situations, it can reduce the severity of an injury and buy you some time to get your pet to a vet hospital. Pet first aid kits can be purchased online or in a store but it’s also possible to assemble your own!
Here are some essentials that every pet first aid kit should have.
In a folder:
- Canine/Feline First Aid Manual
- Important phone numbers (your veterinarian, the local/nearest animal emergency hospital, poison control, animal control, non-emergency police)
- Copy of the pet’s medical records, including any medication they’re on and allergies they might have
In the kit:
- Digital thermometer (you’ll want a separate one for your pets – their temperatures are taken rectally!)
- Muzzle to prevent bites
- Gauze roll
- Self-adhering non-stick tape and adhesive tape for bandages
- Clean towels
- Non-Stick bandages
- Strips of clean cloth
- Scissors with blunt ends
- Disposable gloves (for you)
- Small flashlight
- Eye dropper
- Large syringe without the needle
- Spare leash and collar
- Saline solution for cleaning wounds or flushing eyes
- Alcohol wipes
- Styptic powder to help stop bleeding
- Cotton balls/swaps
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Antibiotic spray/ointment
- Collapsible travel bowl
- Tick removal tool
Emergencies and disasters can be overwhelming and emotional for everyone involved, particularly for pets who might not understand the situation. If you do find yourself and your pet in a situation where they are hurt or sick, try to remain relatively calm and do not try to hug your pet. They could lash out in fear, causing more harm to themselves and possibly hurting you in the process. Additionally, veterinary care should immediately follow any first-aid to make sure there are no lingering problems or get your pet the more intensive medical care they might need. In addition to having a first aid kit for your pets and animals, it’s important to learn about animal-related medical emergencies, like the symptoms of choking or seizures in pets. For those wanting a more comprehensive first-aid training, organizations like the American Red Cross, Animal Career Training, and Pet Emergency Education offer online courses on pet first aid and CPR. Your local community college may also offer one-day courses through their community and continuing education programs while the Vancouver-based company Walks ‘N Wags offers several different pet first aid courses both in person and online.
Ultimately, it’s never fun to think that your pet could end up in a medical emergency situation or that a disaster might strike. But being prepared could make a huge difference in an otherwise horrible circumstance and having a pet first aid kit could give you some valuable tools for helping your pet!