Dog First Aid Kit – What Should I Include?

Written by: Milica Brzakovic
What supplies should always be found in your dog's first aid kit? This is an article about what you absolutely should include in the first aid kit in order to keep your dog safe and sound in unpredictable situations.

All dog owners worry about their dogs’ safety – nothing new there!

This is why you have be as prepared as possible for potential health and safety problems.

A first step toward this is having a first aid kit at home and with in in certain situations. So, what should be included in it?

Since you can never know when and if an accident will happen, you should always have an emergency kit in your home or with you it you’re going away somewhere with your dog. You can either buy one that’s ready-made or make one completely on your own. Another alternative is to buy a first aid kit for people and then add pet supplies to it.

Whichever seems the best way for you, the importance of first aid supplies for dogs is unquestionable. So, we’ve decided to write a guide about what to always include in it and why. Read further and discover what you never should forget.

What To Include In Your Dog’s First Aid Kit?

First of all, let’s divide the necessary supplies into a couple of categories and explain what should be included in a first aid kit. This is because we want to make the list as clear as possible. So, let’s start with out first list:

Equipment And Supplies

  • Water. Water can be useful in numerous situations, which is why you should always have some with you. Apart from rehydrating and cooling down, it can soothe burns and flush out smaller wounds.
  • Bandages. A lot of different bandaging materials should be found in your dog’s first aid kit. Square gauze in various sizes (some sterile), non-stick pads, bandage rolls – gauze and Vetwrap and first aid tape (paper and adhesive types). Self-cling bandage, stretching and sticking to itself – but not to fur – is ideal for pets.
  • Gloves. Help in reducing contamination after injury. They should be non-latex and disposable.
  • Tweezers. Useful for removing thorns and similar objects. Fingers are more likely to break the object, which is why tweezers are a better choice.
  • Plastic bags. Used to cover foot injuries and keep them clean. This way blood spillages and furniture will be minimized.
  • Blanket/towel. Either one can be used to keep your dog warm after shock. It can also be used as a stretcher to lift your pet on.
  • Muzzle. Used to prevent your dog from licking and biting the wounds. Don’t use it if your dog is vomiting or having trouble breathing.
  • Styptic Powder. Used to stop bleeding in case of cuts or torn nails.
  • Rectal thermometer. Your dog’s temperature shouldn’t be above 103°F or below 100°F.
  • Elizabethan collar. These collars prevent dogs from licking its body, if something toxic like paint is on its coat.
  • Plastic card. For instance an old credit card, to scrape away stingers
  • Clean towels (both paper and cloth)
  • Stethoscope
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Nylon leash
  • Ice pack
  • Medicines

    • Specific Medications. If your dog is on regular medication remember to keep a small amount in the kit. Dogs with diabetes will definitely need their doses of insulin prepared.
    • Sterile saline wash. This will come in handy if your dog has debris or smoke in the eyes. It can also be used for flushing our minor wounds.
    • Washing-Up Liquid. Needed to remove toxins from skin and fur. Don’t forget to rinse with water afterwards.
    • Hydrogen peroxide. Used to provoke vomiting in dogs. Should only be used based on veterinary order.
    • Activated charcoal. Its function is to absorb ingested poisons. Shouldn’t be used before consulting a vet.
    • Diphenhydramine.If approved and dosed by a vet, should be used for allergic reactions.
    • Wound disinfectant
    • Medicine against diarrhea

    Nutritional Support

    • Rehydrating solution, for example Gatorade
    • High sugar source, like Karo syrup
    • Nutritional supplements; Nutri-Cal, Nutristat or Vitacal

    Important Information

    • Phone numbers to your vet and the clinic
    • Emergency clinic phone number
    • Poison control center phone number
    • A current photo of your dog
    • Medical Records. It’s always wise to keep your dog’s medical history in the kit, in case the vet you take him to a new vet, who isn’t familiar with the previous conditions.

    How Should I Behave In Case Of An Accident?

    Now that you know what should be in an emergency kit, you have to know what to use in which situations. Let’s take a look at some of the most frequent situations and how to react in them.

    Road Accidents

    Even a well-behaved dog should be on a leash anywhere near traffic. Better safe than sorry, right? However, if an accident were to happen you have to be prepared and know how to handle it.

    First of all, try to determine if the dog can walk or not. If not, the dog should be picked up. How you do that depends on its size. Small dogs can be lifted up gently, while you will need to make a stretcher from a coat or blanket for a bigger dog. Cover with a blanket to keep the dog warm.

    If the dog can walk and seems fine, take him or her to the vet anyway. Unfortunately, there could be internal injuries that are not obvious at once.

    Bleeding Dog

    If your dog got injured and is bleeding try to keep him quiet and calm. Put on a tight bandage on the place needed and apply another layer if needed. If there’s blood on places you can’t bandage, use a pad and press it firmly on the wound. After you’ve done what you can, take your dog to the vet for further help.

    Dog With Burns

    If your dog got burns or scalds on its body you should run cold water on them for a minimum of five minutes. You shouldn’t apply creams, but what you can do is to apply saline to the area and keep the dog warm. Contact the vet as soon as possible.

    Poisoned Dogs

    If you suspect that your dog has had something bad or toxic try to find the package or the plant responsible for it, so you can take it to the vet for inspection. Call you vet immediately and ask for guidance. Don’t make your dog sick by hydrogen peroxide if your vet doesn’t say so.

    Eye Irritation

    If your dog has dirt or debris in its eyes, use sterile saline wash to remove it. Flush with water repeatedly if some chemicals have found their way in. If it’s something more serious, like the eye bulging out, prevent rubbing and scratching and take your dog to the vet immediately.

    Dog With Coat Contamination

    If your dog has an unwanted substance, such as paint, on its body the most important thing it to prevent the dog from licking. Do that by putting an Elizabethan collar on your dog. If the affected area is rather small you can use your scissors and clip it off or bath the dog in washing-up liquid. However, if a large area is affected go see a vet.

    Stung Dog

    If your dog has been stung, use the tweezers and pull out the sting. After that, bathe the area in water or a solution of bicarbonate soda. Apply ice as it will help in soothing. However, if the sting is in the mouth or throat call the vet as it could swell and cause breathing problems.