Like any other pet parents, we never want to see our dog injured or hurt in any way - and with any luck, we will never have to. But when our pups are bounding with energy and exploring the world, getting a few scrapes here and there is a huge possibility we have to be prepared for. Dog owners have been prepping themselves and their homes, going for pet first aid courses and packing a basic first aid kit for your dog, and you should too!
But how do you build your own first aid kit for your pup? What should be in your first aid kit? Where can you buy a first aid kit or find first aid kit supplies suitable for your dog? What are some important things to prepare for emergencies? Let’s take a look!
Your Dog's Emergency Information
In case of a critical emergency, you’ll want to bring your pup to a vet right away - and you’ll want your dog to get medical attention as quickly as possible. The most important step to expediting the administrative process is to make sure all your dog’s paperwork and information is collated and available.
That means all of your dog’s relevant medical history, in terms of their vaccination, medical records and any other information should be kept in the same, easy-to-reach place, in your first aid box. Having e-records stored on the cloud is also a good idea. In the same vein, it’s also a good idea to store any relevant emergency contact numbers, such as contacts for emergency pet-friendly transport services or vets.
If you’re leaving your dog with a friend or dogsitter, always make sure they have access to this information as well so they can help get your dog to a vet in your stead.
Another helpful step in your preparation is to print out or have an e-copy of first aid instructions available in your first aid kit at all times. You never know when you’ll need these instructions, and having them will help you stay calm during an emergency.
At this point, you might be asking yourself, “What should I put in a first aid kit for my dog?”. So let’s go through some important first aid supplies that your pet dog will need.
If you’re looking for a full and ready first aid kit suitable for most dogs, take a look at Kurgo’s Pet First Aid Kit for Dogs as it contains almost everything your dog might need with the likes of:
- Parachute Cord
- First Aid Guide
- Sting Relief Pads
- Tweezers (Plastic)
- Tape Role
- Crepe Bandage 2"
- Cotton Swab
- Tongue Depressor
- Antiseptic Towelette
- Instant Cold Pack
- Disposable Rubber Gloves
- Gauze Pad 4" x 4"
- Gauze Pad 2" x 2"
- Gauze Roll 2"
- Trauma Pad 5" x 9"
- Alcohol Prep Pad
- Thermal Foil Emergency Blanket
- Iodine Prep Pad,
- Bottle Opener
- First Aid Bag
Do however keep looking through the information below to make sure you’re personalising your first aid box to the needs of your dog.
Of course, if your dog regularly takes any prescribed medication, it’s important to keep extra in your first aid kit. This includes flea/tick medications from Frontline or Advocate, antacids or other similar drugs if your pup suffers from stomach issues. Some sedatives may also be helpful to include in your kit - but always make sure the drugs you put in your kit is vet-approved and not expired. It’s also good to include a MicrocynAH disinfectant to prevent infections, and a Vet’s Best hot spot spray for relief of itchy skin.
Photo credit: @expeditionhusky
Any emergency first aid kit should also include basic items like cotton wool to clean wounds, pet-friendly antiseptic to wash your pup’s wounds if needed, and a pair of tweezers for removing stings or splinters. Pet wipes are also great for cleaning your dog up to better access their injuries, and Absorb Plus’ Antibacterial Hypoallergenic Pet Wipes are great as they’re clean and antibacterial to help your pup avoid getting an infection.
For dogs that love going on walks, love pet travel or are just very active and high-energy, you might want to pack some antibiotic ointment and gauze suitable for dogs in your first aid kit. Any time your dog gets a minor cut or scratch, applying antibiotic ointments on their wounds will relieve pain and prevent further infections.
In case of more major injuries, wrapping your pup’s injured body part can help control bleeding, or even work as a temporary brace if you suspect your dog might have a fracture. Miracle Care’s Kwik Stop Bleeding Styptic Powder is also a great tool for controlling bleeding. This will help alleviate some pain and avoid heavy blood loss as you get your pet to a vet.
If your dog has rashes or other injuries, you will also want to include a Soft Collar in your kit, like Kojima’s Lick Prevention Soft Collar. This way, while you’re getting your pup to the vet, you can be sure they’re comfortable and not agitating their injuries. In the meantime, any time you’re dealing with your dog’s blood or other bodily fluids, it’s always good to put on protective gear like goggles or gloves.
An often overlooked item that any dog first aid kit needs is a soft blanket. Injured dogs are often in a panicked state. They may move around more and may even scratch or bite as they are in pain. Handling your pup in this state could be difficult, so using a soft blanket to wrap your dog can help calm them down and allow you to access them without getting hurt. Microfiber towels or blankets make for good safety blankets, and also offers your dog a comfortable surface to rest.
Outside of towels and medications, it’s also vital to keep some day-to-day supplies such as a collapsible dog bowl like ZippyPaws’ Portable Outdoor Dog Bowl or a dog water bottle in your kit. Having some water, food and tasty dog treats like BARE Air Dried Dog Treats is also great in case you have to travel some distance to get your dog medical attention.
Make sure to also include at least one of your dog’s toys, as well as an extra dog leash, collar and muzzle so you can get moving to the vet without having to worry about looking for these supplies. Another often overlooked but equally essential supply to include in your kit are poop bags like Earth Rated’s Eco-Friendly Poop Bags, to make sure you’re able to clean up after your dog no matter where you go.
In essence, it’s beneficial to have extras of all the dog products your pup regularly needs, in order to make sure you’re prepared. Between home and getting your dog to the vet, a comfortable and familiar environment is also vital to helping your dog stay calm - something that can be achieved with the help of dog toys and other creature comforts your dog has at home.
To sum it up, here’s our recommended first aid box contents list for you to create a basic first aid kit for your pup:
- Your dog’s emergency information
- Emergency contact numbers
- Dog first aid instructions
- Your dog’s regularly prescribed medication
- Vet-approved medication
- Cotton wool
- Antiseptic / Antibiotic ointments
- Protective gear for yourself
- Gauze, tape and other similar supplies
- Soft blanket / towel
- Day-to-day supplies like a dog bowl, dog water bottle and your pup’s leash, collar and muzzle
- Some water, food and dog treats
Taking care of your dog’s health is of utmost importance, so make sure to have your first aid kit with you at all times, and make sure to pay attention to what your dog specifically needs and include it in your first aid kit. After all, our list is non-exhaustive and a store-bought first aid kit will not include your pup’s daily amenities, so make sure your own personal first aid box caters to your lifestyle and your dog’s preferences and needs.