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Making Your Own Pet First Aid Kit

Wound dressing materials for pet first aid kit, surgical scissors, tape, gauze

There are a variety of pet first aid kits on the market, but they can be expensive and they vary considerably on what they contain. If you have pets at home, it’s relatively easy and inexpensive to make your own pet first aid kit. If you ever travel with your pet, consider making an at-home first aid kit and one to keep in your car as well. Having the right first aid supplies could mean the difference between life and death or permanent disfigurement.

Start with the Right Container

The right container for your pet first aid kit will be sturdy and roomy without being so bulky or cumbersome that you don’t want to take it with you when traveling. A plastic storage container with snap-on lid is ideal. A waterproof container will be even better, particularly if you want one to take to the lake or to keep on your boat.

Your Pet First Aid Kit Supplies

There are some items you’ll put in the first aid kit, such as gauze and first aid tape, that are similar to what you’d find in a human first aid kit. Don’t, however, include medications meant for humans in the kit unless you’ve checked with your veterinarian. Some people medications are poisonous to cats and dogs.

Be sure to include these items in your pet first aid kits:

  • Pet First Aid Book(s) – The American Red Cross offers a cat first aid book and a dog first aid book. Both have excellent instructions and plenty of illustrations of proper first aid techniques.
  • Emergency Phone Numbers – A good place to keep these is written inside the front cover of the first aid books. These should include your veterinarian’s phone number, the number of the closest 24-hour animal hospital and an animal poison control center.
  • Latex gloves –Always wear these to protect yourself from possible contamination when caring for an animal’s injury
  • Tweezers – Tweezers can be used to remove splinters, pluck larger pieces of debris out of a wound, etc.
  • Surgical scissors – For cutting gauze and vet wrap and trimming fur away from a wound when necessary
  • Tick remover or tick key – these are special tweezers that can remove a tick and its head in order to prevent infection
  • Gauze – Be sure to include both some gauze pads to put over flat injuries and a roll of gauze in case you need to wind it around an injury on a leg or paw.
  • Vet Wrap – This is a self-adhesive tape that can be wrapped around an injury over gauze that will stay in place without having to try to get regular first aid tape to stick to your pet’s fur.
  • Cotton balls and swabs – To clean wounds and apply antibiotic cream
  • Splints – You can order inflatable splints online or simply throw a few flat pieces of wood or hard plastic, such as paint stirrers, into your first aid kit. These can be used to temporarily stabilize a possible broken bone. In an emergency, a rolled up newspaper or magazine can be used as a temporary splint.
  • Disinfectant – You can purchase a disinfectant designed specifically for pets or you can make your own by diluting hydrogen peroxide (1 part peroxide to 3 parts distilled water). Don’t use hydrogen peroxide full strength, as it can damage living tissue. Do not use a disinfectant that includes phenols, as phenols are toxic to felines.
  • Wound Care Spray – Look for brand names such as Veterycin, which makes a complete line of wound care products that clean, disinfect and help wound healing in one easy step.
  • Saline Solution – Use this to clean minor cuts and scratches and to flush debris out of eyes.
  • Bulb Syringe – Use to flush debris out of eyes or wounds and for giving liquid medications to pets
  • OTC Antihistamine – If your dog or cat has an allergic reaction such as a rash, hives, swelling and itching, an over-the-counter antihistamine can calm the reaction until you can get your pet to a veterinarian. Be sure to call a vet to confirm the appropriate dosage – remember, pets will need smaller doses than humans!
  • Paw Cream – This is an emollient cream that can be used to soothe chapped, irritated or raw pads or noses.
  • Thermometer – A rectal thermometer for checking your pet’s temperature. A dog’s normal temperature is 101° A cat’s normal temperature is 101.5° F.
  • Muzzle – Even the most mild-mannered dog or cat can bite when they are scared or in pain. A muzzle in your pet first aid kit will minimize the chances that you’ll also have to apply first aid to a anyone who tries to help your pet.
  • Corn starch  –  If your dog or cat breaks or tears a nail to the quick, it will bleed profusely. Sprinkling it with a liberal amount of corn starch will stop the bleeding.
  • Sugar – Always keep some sugar in a small container if your pet is diabetic. A drop in blood sugar can be temporarily treated with a few spoonfuls of sugar, but always follow-up with a veterinarian.
  • Elizabethan Collar Commonly referred to as the “cone of shame,” an Elizabethan collar will prevent your pet from chewing on and farther injuring an area that has been hurt.

    Terrier in Elizabethan collar and gauze bandages from pet first aid kit

    An Elizabethan collar can prevent your pet from making an injury worse.

  • Stress Relief Formula – Natural stress relief medications are naturally plant-based supplements that are effective in helping a distressed pet calm down. Look for names like Quiet Moments, Composure and Bach’s Rescue Remedy designed specifically for dogs and cats.
  • Blankets/Towels – A blanket makes an ideal pallet for two people to transport a seriously injured animal. Animals in shock can be wrapped in blankets or towels to keep them warm.

Your pet first aid kit could save the life of a dog or cat who is injured or ill, but you should always follow up with a veterinarian to make sure you’ve done everything you can to help your pet heal properly.

 

 


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