While it's common practice to have a human first aid kit, don't forget about Fido!
Whether you're hiking with your dog in the Hill Country, playing at the local park, or chilling at home, accidents can happen - which is why it's important to be prepared.
A pet first aid kit specialized just for your dog could help save their life (and yours), but what should you keep inside of one?
Dog First Aid Kit: Essential Items
Even the most sure-footed pup can have an accident on the hiking trail or get in a tussle at the dog park. And, while unlikely, local wildlife (like snakes) could even spook your dog and put them in a position of sustaining an injury.
That's why having the necessities on hand to clean a superficial wound or provide immediate care in a major emergency is important for all Texas Central pet parents. These essential items can help soothe, heal, sanitize, and stop bleeding while you prepare for a vet visit.
Here are our top 16 must-have emergency supplies for Texas pet parents:
This is multi-use bandaging material! Gauze can be used for wrapping an injury, applied to a bleeding wound, and can even provide a makeshift soft muzzle for your dog.
2) Nonstick Bandages
Controlling bleeding and protecting wounds is an important first step to preventing infection or the spreading of bacteria. Nonstick bandages are great in this situation, as Band-Aids and humane-grade adhesive tape are not fur-friendly.
Tomlinson's Pro Tip: Try our Vet Worthy Vet Wrap Bandaging Tape. It doesn't stick to fur and blocks water from getting to the affected area. No need for bandage scissors, this wrap can be torn to the perfect size.
3) Clean Towel
There are many uses for clean towels; drying, washing, keeping warm or cool, and can even be used as a makeshift sling for an injured animal in an emergency.
Tomlinson's Pro Tip: An old t-shirt is also a handy item to have on hand for cleaning up bodily fluids and applying pressure to a major wound.
4) Eye Dropper
This is a great tool for giving oral treatments or when flushing out wounds. A turkey baster or large syringe without a needle will also do the trick.
When your pet is in pain and feels threatened, it may become defensive. Having a muzzle handy can help prevent accidental bites during the treatment of an injury. Do not use it if your pet is vomiting or is having trouble breathing.
If your pet is capable of walking without further injury, an extra, spare leash is helpful in transportation if you don't have time to find his usual one or if it is no longer usable. A spare leash can also be used in a pinch as a dog's collar.
Tomlinson's Pro Tip: A slip lead doubles as a leash & collar, saving space in your dog's first aid kit.
Things matted in your dog's fur may need to be cut out. Scissors can also free your pet from entanglements.
Another multi-use item, tweezers help to remove ticks, splinters, glass, and other foreign matter from your dog's fur or an open wound. You might have to use tweezers to remove items that could cause further injury to your dog until they are taken to the nearest animal hospital.
9) Antiseptic & Antibiotic
This gel will promote healing, stop bacteria growth, and kill germs on open wounds and deep to minor cuts. While it doesn't stop bleeding, a wound gel with an active ingredient list of antiseptic and antibiotic ointment is an essential item for all pet owners.
We do not recommend using hydrogen peroxide for major or open wounds.
10) Styptic Powder
Use styptic powder for minor cuts and nail injuries to stop bleeding. Your local pet stores should have this in stock.
The styptic powder should be generously applied to the affected area using a clean, moistened applicator such as a cotton swab or gauze. Apply moderate pressure until the bleeding stops.
12) Cotton Pads or Swabs
These should be in both your and your dog's first aid kit. Cotton pads or swabs can be used to clean wounds and apply ointments and other medicines.
11) Hot & Cold Pack
These packs will help cool down skin after a burn or keep your furry friend warm in the case of hypothermia. Always use a cloth between the pack and the skin, and check frequently for redness or irritation.
13) Nail Clippers
When a tear in a pet's nail occurs, it can be very painful for your dog or cat. Prevent further damage and pain to your pet's paws by cutting torn or broken nails. Of course, be sure these are pet-safe nail clippers, and not human ones.
Benadryl, and other drugs with Antihistamines as their only active ingredient, can be used to alleviate or reduce allergic reactions in a pinch. If you notice severe swelling, redness, vomiting, or excessive drooling seek an emergency vet immediately.
15) Activated Charcoal
This is given orally to prevent the absorption of various toxins. Administer activated charcoal immediately after toxin exposure to prevent your dog from developing severe symptoms of poisoning.
If your dog has ingested a foreign and potentially toxic substance, you should always consult your dog's vet or poison control before trying to administer any type of treatment at home.
16) Disposable Gloves
When dealing with an open wound, you want to keep it clean to prevent infection. Disposable rubber or latex gloves will help to prevent the spread of germs between you and your pet.
Tomlinson's Pro Tip: Gloves will come in handy if your dog ingests toxic material or has something stuck inside of their mouth or throat.
Dog First Aid Kit: Extra Items
This list is not exhaustive. You should treat our essentials list as your aid manual - items you can't go without in a good first aid kit. These next first aid items are an extra precaution for your canine companion.
Extra items for dog first aid kits:
- Bottled Water
- With the Texas heat, everyone brings water for their pet with them. Store an extra water bottle in the car to clean injuries and deep cuts in the case of an emergency.
- Eye Cleanser
- Shake Organic Eye Cleanser for dogs and cats gently cleans their eyes while hydrating the affected area. Shake Organic Eye Cleanser is also a natural tear stain cleaner and relieves eye infections.
- Ear Cleanser
- Wondercide All Ears Treatment for dogs and cats is made with the refreshing organic oils of neem, lavender, and cedar and helps stop uncomfortable ear issues and eliminate common parasite problems. It gives your pet instant relief while also helping to prevent nasty infections before they even develop.
- Pet Safe Cleaning Wipes
- Easy-access cleaning wipes are always a good item to add to your dog's first aid kit. We recommend the Earth Rated Unscented Wipes.
- Hot Spot Hydrogel
- For minor injuries, use a non-medicated hydrogel. We love this one from Skout's Honor! This will soothe, heal, and protect wounds like hot spots, skin abrasions, lacerations, cuts, burns, and irritated skin.
- Wound Restoring Care
- Look for all-natural itch relief, like this Farm Dog Naturals salve, that stops itching on contact to keep dogs from biting, scratching, and licking their paws and skin.
- Having a comfy pet cone on hand will prove to be very useful. From allergy symptoms like paw licking or after major surgery, a cone will further prevent injury to sensitive areas your pup needs to avoid. This is a dog care 101 item!
- Compression Wraps
- Hiking is just a part of having a dog in Central Texas! Just like wraps for humans, these support circulation and help to reduce swelling, soreness, and fatigue after a hike or run.
- Anti-Chew Spray
- An anti-chew spray, like this Skout's Honor product, is handy for puppies who have taken a liking to your dining chairs, a pup who is having separation anxiety in their crate, or an injured dog who can't stop reaching for the affected area or hot spot.
- Digestive Aid or Pumpkin Puree
- InClover Optagest Digestive Aid for Pets is small enough for any aid kit and is made with plant enzymes that can be administered safely to both cats and dogs.
- Weruva Pumpkin Patch Up! Pet Supplement is an easy-to-store, shelf-stable pouch of pumpkin puree. Pumpkin is a natural moisture-absorbing ingredient that will aid your pet's upset tummy.
- Digital Thermometer
- Normal body temperature for dogs and cats is 101.0 to 102.5°F (38.3 to 39.2°C). If your pet’s temperature rises above 104°F (40.0°C) or falls below 99°F (37.2°C), take your pet to your veterinarian.
Keep in mind...
- You may already have many of these items, like an extra leash, pet nail clippers, Benadryl, or towels. No need to buy an extra set - just make your first aid kit for dogs their regular storage place.
- Any first aid administered is not a substitute for a trip to a veterinary clinic and should be followed by an immediate visit to your nearest veterinary hospital.
- Medicines like Benadryl and activated charcoal should only be administered under direct orders from your veterinarian.
- It is a good idea to know or have easy access to the phone numbers for your dog's regular vet's office, a 24-hour emergency animal hospital, and an animal poison control center.
- The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888) 426-4435. A consultation fee may apply.
- Always keep one first aid kit handy at home and in your car, as you never know when or where a pet emergency might occur.
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