Just as you might keep a first aid kit for you and your family in your home, it’s also a smart idea to keep one for your favorite four-legged furry friend! It is recommended to have these kits where you and your pet enjoy each other’s company. The size and components of each kit can be customized, depending on the location. The largest kits should be kept in the house and inside all of the family vehicles since these are the most likely places you’ll need one.
Before we dive into what you’ll need for your first aid kit, we want to address one common question we receive: “Can’t I just buy a human kit and use that???” The answer? Sure! However, you need to remove pet inappropriate items such as medications (Tylenol, ibuprofen, syrup of ipecac, etc.) since these pose a risk for potential poisoning if given during an emergency or high-stress situation.
Here we have tried and true recommendations for your pet first aid kit:
First Aid Kit Container:
This item needs to be able to store all the supplies in a way that makes them easy to access and use. Common upcycled items include backpacks, tackle boxes, toiletries bags, etc.
Products in this category are what most of us think of when asked to describe a first aid kit. These are items like medical tape, Telfa© (non-stick) pads, roll gauze, gauze squares, and cotton-tipped applicators. It’s also helpful to include an old white sheet (the color most commonly found at secondhand stores and thrift shops).
Pre-packaged alcohol pads, chlorhexidine solution pads, or betadine pads work well in smaller kits. Small bottles of these solutions can be stored in larger kits. Consider adding a bottle of hand sanitizer for your own use.
Scissors, tweezers, small flashlight, CPR barrier mask, protective (i.e. nitrile or vinyl) gloves, duct tape, and a carabiner all have the potential for use during first aid situations. Since Murphy’s Law dictates that accidents will happen in dark places and dirty situations, the flashlight and gloves might be handier than imagined!
Muzzle, slip-leash, harness, and booties are pet specific items that should be considered based on your pet and your needs. A slip-leash can be easily obtained from your family veterinarian at little to no cost.
The best part is that many of these items have the potential for multiple uses!
Example 1: A temporary muzzle can be made from roll gauze, a slip-leash, and a torn/cut sheet.
Example 2: The sheet can be used as a sling or gurney for transport, or it can be used for bandaging or splinting material.
Example 3: While gloves can keep you clean, they can also be filled with warm or cold water to create warm/cold packs or be placed over hurt paws for a temporary cover.
We hope you find this list to be helpful as you create your pet first aid kit. Remember, if you use items in your pet first aid kit, it’s very important to restock any components as soon as possible so it will be ready for the next time you need it!
Written by Michelle Krasicki-Aune, MBA, CVT