They sell first aid kits built for dogs.
I saw one the other day on a daily deal website.
Pre-packed first aid kits for dogs are much the same as pre-packed first aid kits for people in that they are mostly filled with “fillers”.
The best way to make sure that you actually have what you need in your dog’s first aid kit is to make your own.
We have a large kit made up for Jet based on his specific needs, but today I am going to cover a basic kit that will suit the average dog.
You will find a list below as well as links for items to include in your kit. We store our kit in an insulated lunch bag like the one pictured below. This provides protection from spills and it also has plenty of room inside!
First Aid Reference Book
The Red Cross has a great spiral bound pet first aid book specifically on dogs and it comes with a DVD as well. I recommend getting this and keeping the book inside your first aid kit for reference.
Harness and Leash
Some people keep a spare collar and leash, but I prefer keeping a harness and leash since a harness gives more control in emergency situations.
Latex-Free First Aid Gloves
Even if you know your dog, gloves are necessary to keep a wound as clean as possible during first aid.
Bring down swelling or keep swelling at bay with a cold pack. These are also good to help bring down body temperature in an overheating dog when you are in a pinch. Place them on the inside of the thigh or in the armpits to cool your dog.
Use a heat pack to promote healthy blood flow or to help bring up core body temperature in a pinch.
We use a chlorhexidine spray like this one from Bexley Labs.
A roll of vet wrap
Rolled gauze is more versatile. You will find better pricing on boxes of multiple rolls.
It’s the simplest first aid device and yet it’s one that few people have on hand when they need it – a tourniquet.
Waterproof First Aid Tape
Keep gauze in place with waterproof first aid tape.
Bandage scissors are a must for any dog with a bandaged wound.
Benedryl tablets are an important addition to address swelling due to allergic reactions. Just be sure that you know the appropriate dose for your dog.
A must for any first aid kit, a thermometer lets you check your dog’s temperature if you suspect a fever, overheating, or low body temperature.
Hydrocortisone cream is a topical solution for insect bites and other irritated, swollen areas that do not have the skin broken.
We don’t use an over the counter anti-diarrheal, we use Endosorb. I highly recommend asking your vet for a bottle of this to include in your kit. Some pet owners will use Pepto pills at a specific dose and this will work too, but we prefer the Endosorb.
Tweezers are good for removal of thorns, splinters, etc. I recommend getting metal rather than cheap plastic tweezers since they hold up better over time.
If you aren’t confident in your ability to remove a tick using tweezers, invest in a tick removal tool and carry it in your first aid bag.
Useful for gauging your dog’s pupils but also for getting a better view of hard to see areas, a penlight is a must.
Hydrogen peroxide is mandatory. Use this to induce vomiting when a non-caustic substance has been ingested. NEVER induce vomiting when your dog ingests caustic substances because it will cause as much if not more damage on the way back up.
A medicine syringe is your best option for administering emergency medicine in its liquid form or for forcing liquid intake in an uncooperative or lethargic dog.
Soothe burns with Safetec burn gel.
Emergency Water Pouches
If you find yourself stranded, these emergency water pouches will be critical.
Coated aspirin for dogs will protect your dog’s stomach while providing pain relief.
Celox blood clotting granules are a must. We actually were in the need of this when Jet’s hemangiosarcoma tumor ruptured and we didn’t have it on hand!
UAA Gel is expensive but worth having in your first aid kit if you can afford it. UAA stands for Universal Animal Antidote. This gel contains activated charcoal and is used in the case of accidental ingestion of insecticides, herbicides, organic chemicals, intestinal toxins, and food poisoning.
Vet Bond Tissue Adhesive will close wounds temporarily in an EMERGENCY, but it should not be used in lieu of vet care. I recommend adhesive for dog first aid kits since butterfly sutures generally will not hold a wound closed due to fur in the area.
BPA-free collapsible dog bowls to administer food and drink more easily if needed.
Honey is a must for our first aid kits for people and dogs. Honey is not only a great antibacterial salve, but it is also sugary enough to bring up blood sugar in the case of low glucose or shock. Manuka honey is best for an antibacterial purpose, but you can get the sugar benefits from just about any honey. An added benefit to honey is that it will not perish. I find that the small single serving “straw” packets are best for first aid kits and for administering to dogs.
Just like people, dogs may need the added insulation of a Mylar blanket. This comes in particularly useful if a dog has fallen through ice or been exposed to cold temperatures for a prolonged period.
Flush out toxins and debris with saline.