There’s a lot of advice out there about pet preparedness, and for good reason. Natural disasters, injuries, and accidents can happen at any time. Even though there is a great deal of information about how to be prepared, and how to act in times of emergency, very few guardians have actually obtained the necessary skills for a safe home. While pet first aid kits are relatively universal, there are some differences between the essentials that should be included in a first aid kit for dogs versus a first aid kit for cats. Here is a complete dog emergency readiness kit, as well as resources to help train and be prepared for just about any emergency.
Since our dogs live with us at home, the first aid kit we curate needs to be something that will serve at-home injuries and accidents. From accidental poisoning to injuries to illnesses to lost dogs, there are plenty of circumstances that call for preparedness.
- Every kit should contain a recent picture of Fido, any medications he requires, our phone numbers and address, and the contact info of our veterinarian. Also include key numbers like the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435
- Absorbent gauze pads
- Alcohol wipes to clean areas that may have irritants
- Hair-friendly adhesive tape
- Sanitary cotton balls for cleaning skin or wounds
- Sanitary cotton swabs for cleaning ears or hard-to-reach places like between toes
- Disposable gloves
- Scissors with a blunt end to safely cut away hair for sanitation, without cutting skin
- Tweezers to carefully remove splinters and other foreign objects cleaning can’t remove
- Corn starch to help painlessly stop bleeding in case of small wounds or broken nails
- Over-the-counter antibiotic ointment
- Comfortable, properly-sized, padded, fabric cone of shame to keep our pupper from licking wounds or removing bandages on the way to the vet.
- Fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. Always check with Fido’s vet or animal poison control prior to using this.
- Gentle, all-natural, scent- and color-free, pet-safe soap for bathing and washing away skin irritants and dirt.
- Clean, pre-washed towels to dry Fido, or to provide padding if needed
- Small flashlight to inspect wounds and irritation in hard to see places
- Extra batteries for the flashlight
- Oral syringe or kitchen baster to help administer medications
- Saline eye solution and pet safe artificial tear gel for irritations
- Pet safe burn ointment
- Saline wash in a bottle with a pointed spray top to be able to angle the spray and irrigate, rather than just drench the wound
- EcoEars all-natural, preventative ear wash, and ear infection remedy.
Depending upon where we live, we may be at risk of a variety of natural disasters. A fallen tree or flying debris in a storm that damages our fence, letting Fido out to get lost, can happen almost anywhere. However, hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, tornados, tsunamis, wildfires, and more are location specific. To understand how to create a go-bag, which is different from a first aid kit, as well as get tips on preparedness, check out the following articles:
- The Essential Dog & Cat Disaster Preparedness Guide for Guardians.
- Check The Chip And Save Your Family
- July is National Lost Pet Prevention Month
- PSA: Peak Tornado Season is March-June
- PSA: Hurricane Preparedness Action Guide for Pet Guardians, Part One
- PSA: Hurricane Preparedness Action Guide, Part Two
Regionally specific and Extras
Regional specific first aid kits are for more than natural disasters. They are also for regional pests or risks. If it tends to get hot, we can keep extra water that is clean and easy to open, near all the places our pup frequents. The first thing to do when a dog is dehydrated or suffering from heat exhaustion is to them into the shade. Then get them water as fast as possible. Some pet guardians choose to keep a small pop-up shade canopy in the car or in the backyard to provide shade in places where it’s hot, but there’s no shelter.
An extra leash or two is a good idea. Some vets recommend keeping an extra collar and tags in the kit, just in case Fido gets away or is returned without his info. And copies of his rabies vaccine will just help to quickly prove he isn’t a threat if he happened to fear-bite someone.
It’s also useful to build a small first aid library of books. Have a few physical books that sit on the shelves because, in an emergency, there may not be power to use phones, apps, and Google.
Training is also critical. Local cities often have pet safety classes of some kind. The American Red Cross offers Pet First Aid Classes in nearly every county in the country. And there are online courses that will show us the basics; however, please remember that skills practice is best when completed in a classroom setting where a teacher can correct poor methods and answer questions.
For areas with fleas, tics, and mosquitos, irritation will be commonplace for dogs. This is especially true for some dogs more than others because everyone reacts differently to bites and other irritants. It’s smart to keep EcoBug all-natural solution to repel pests. This is one of the only pest repellents that are not only safe for pets and humans, but repels all three of the major pests: tics, fleas, and mosquitoes, as well as mites and other biting insects. A tic key can also be helpful for those who do get tics that need to be removed.
Places to consider keeping these first aid kits include next to the door to the backyard and on every floor of the house. If Fido is bleeding badly, the last thing we want to do is have to run up or down a flight of stairs to look for the first aid kit. Whether we travel often with Fido, or just take him to and from the vet, it’s worth keeping a fresh kit in the car.
We may also want to have a kit for trips like camping, hiking, and backpacking. A camping kit may be more complete than a hiking or backpacking kit. Keep in mind, any kit that has to do with the outdoors should include a way to give our pupper shade, water, protect against pests, and help them in case of a snake bite.
While a first aid kit may sound like some irrigation water and bandaids, it’s much more complex. Our doggo needs all the first aid products humans need, except we need to ensure they are all pet-safe, and we need to include a few extras that are specific to the needs of our dogs. If we collect these items now, we’ll avoid feeling helpless and could even save our precious fur baby’s life. If the emergency isn’t life-threatening, we’ll at least take care of our canine-companion and be able to make him comfortable when he is in need.
- “DIY Make your own Canine First Aid Kit,” Modern Dog
- “First Aid Kit For Pets,” American Red Cross
- “Cat and Dog First Aid Training,” American Red Cross
- “Pet First Aid: Build Your Own Pet First Aid Kit,” Pet Health Network
- “Pet first aid supplies checklist,” American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
- “How to Make a First-Aid Kit for Dogs,” Preventative Vet
- “How to Make a Pet First Aid Kit,” ASPCA-Pro