This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and buy something that I recommend, I might receive a small commission.
A quality First-Aid Kit for your dog can be priceless should you ever need to use it.
Accidents are bound to happen when sharing your life with a pet.
Some accidents result in injuries that require urgent veterinary care, while others are minor and can be treated at home.
You should always consult your trusted vet if you are uncertain.
In this guide, we are going to have a look at how to prepare a first-aid kit for dogs – one you can take with you when you travel, keep in the trunk of your car for unexpected mishaps during your outings, or just store it at home for when your pup gets into trouble.
Why Having a First-Aid Kit For Your Dog Matters
It is common to postpone the preparation of a first-aid kit or to put off purchasing items for first-aid care.
Why? Perhaps, because we tend to believe that things won’t happen to us, as if our dogs were immune to the unexpected… almost like the universe would give us a heads-up before an unfortunate event.
As a result, we mistakenly believe there to be time for preparations at a later stage.
The problem is that there is no way to predict when your dog will cut his paw on a shard of glass or get bit during a disagreement at the dog park, and before you know it, you might wish you had been properly prepared.
Having a first-aid kit for dogs at your disposal will not solve everything, and some situations require urgent veterinary care. Still, it can be incredibly convenient when dealing with minor cuts, scrapes, scratches, or bites.
What to Include in a First-Aid Kit for your Dog
As a pet owner, it can be challenging to know what supplies to keep at home in the case of an accident, and many set out to purchase pre-packed first-aid kits for pets.
It is not bad if you want a quick solution, but it is just as easy (and often cheaper) and fast to put together a first-aid kit yourself.
So let’s have a look at what to include.
Just like with children, you want to keep a thermometer close at hand when you have a dog.
It is a common misconception that you can feel when a dog has a fever, such as if its nose is dry and warm.
This is not a reliable method, nor is it recommended.
A dog’s average body temperature is usually between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, or 38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celsius.
A thermometer is the best tool to help you determine if your fur friend has a fever.
When contacting a veterinarian, dog owners may be also asked if their dog has a fever.
Including gloves in your dog’s first-aid kit is a great way to protect yourself and your dog!
For example, if your pup was to cut himself, wearing gloves could help prevent the spread of bacteria and infection.
As indicated by the name, disposable gloves should be disposed of immediately after use.
You might want to include more than one pair in your first-aid kit for dogs or other pets.
Dogs get messy, dirty, and wet – any dog owner can attest to this.
Having a lightweight dog towel (or two) in your dog’s first-aid kit tends to be surprisingly beneficial.
Choose a highly absorbent towel to get the most out of the item.
Keep in mind that a towel is not suitable for cleaning wounds, but could be used to wrap your dog up or to keep him (or her) warm.
In addition, it could be used as a compress to stop bleeding in severe cases.
It is recommended to muzzle train all dogs to prepare them for an incident.
A dog muzzle should be introduced using positive reinforcement methods, and it should never be used as punishment.
By muzzle training your dog, you will be able to muzzle your pup if the need arises or if a veterinarian asks you to.
This might be because your dog is in pain.
Some dogs may react aggressively when in pain, even if they don’t usually show aggression. Include a muzzle in your first-aid kit, just in case.
Absorbent gauze is perhaps one of the most prominent items to include in a pet first-aid kit.
Gauze is great for your pet but it can also be used on yourself or your human family members if ever needed. Gauze is a must-have in any household or first aid kit.
Including gauze in your kit does not mean you should try to treat severe wounds or cuts yourself.
Instead, it can be helpful for smaller scrapes to prevent your pup from licking, or to protect a cut from getting infected.
Gauze is also useful as a temporary solution while making your way to the vet – to stop bleeding or keep a wound clean.
You would be surprised how often you might find a pair of tweezers useful.
Tweezers can remove twigs and splinters from your dog’s paws or remove ticks gently.
Preferably, you should use a tick-removal device when removing those creepy crawlers.
However, tweezers work as an emergency solution if you use them correctly.
Include both, if possible, in your kit.
Syringes are another must-have in a dog first-aid kit.
You might need a syringe to supply liquid to a severely dehydrated dog or to administer liquid medication (or hydrogen peroxide).
Remember, there should be no needle in the syringe when using it orally.
If your dogs were to consume something toxic – Hydrogen Peroxide could be what saves their lives.
Hydrogen peroxide is used to induce vomiting and should only be used as recommended by a veterinarian (this is extremely important).
Picture this – you come home to discover your dog ate all the chocolates you got for Valentine’s Day.
As panic sets in, you realize the closest vet clinic is over an hour away. In this scenario, inducing vomiting could be a lifesaver.
In another case, if your dog ingests rat poison or another highly toxic substance where time becomes of the essence, hydrogen peroxide might be what makes the difference in saving your pup.
When administrating Hydrogen Peroxide to a dog, it should always be diluted, as a high dose would intoxicate your dog.
If you opt to include this item in your kit, make sure you speak to your vet to know the exact quantity to give if your dog ever eats something unsuitable.
Make a note of the proper amount.
You can include any bowl type in your first-aid pet kit.
A collapsible dog bowl will take up minimal space while serving a great purpose.
Of course, keeping an injured dog hydrated is crucial, but a collapsible bowl is also ideal for any outing where your pup might need a drink.
Always remember to wash the bowl after you use it, or the bowl could become a growing ground for bacteria.
Saline Eye Solution
A dog’s eyes are very sensitive because of their placement and the shape of the canine skull.
Eyes can quickly get irritated or injured after a tumble with a doggy friend or a run-around in the woods.
Eye injuries should always be consulted with a veterinarian, but they may suggest the use of dog-friendly eye rinse, and we suggest including a bottle in your first-aid kit.
The particles of activated charcoal are known for “trapping” toxins present inside the dog’s body.
Charcoal essentially stops these toxins from being absorbed by your dog.
Therefore, charcoal could save an intoxicated dog when appropriately administrated.
Many veterinarians recommend that dog owners keep activated charcoal at home.
The general recommendation is to administer 1 to 5 grams per kilogram of body weight, but it is always best to consult with a veterinarian first.
Antiseptic Ointment or Spray
When treating cuts and scrapes, an antiseptic spray or antiseptic ointment can be a great help when trying to promote healing and prevent infection.
There are many products available on the market, and most vets can recommend the brand or product they consider the most suitable for a first-aid kit or to keep at home.
Scissors can be used for many things, such as to cut your dog loose if they should get their coat stuck in a branch, get their leash stuck, or get tangled in something that can’t be untangled.
They can also be helpful when cutting gauze or adhesive tape, and for a dozen other situations that involve cutting.
If you have space, include scissors big enough to cut through fabric and leather (for the scenario of the leash getting stuck).
Otherwise, include a pair of small scissors such as nail scissors or other types of cutters.
Cotton balls are excellent for stopping bleeding cuts and scrapes, and are commonly found in first-aid kits for pets.
Additionally, cotton balls can be used to apply ointments and certain creams. However, make sure your dog does not get a hold of your cotton ball supply.
Some dogs may be prone to trying to eat them, which could cause a blockage.
Spare Collar & Leash
Consider including a spare collar and leash when you are collecting the essentials for a first-aid kit for your four-legged friend. You never know if your leash might break, get stuck in something or come off.
There are situations where an extra leash can save the day! It could even save another pup’s life if you were to cross paths with a runaway dog.
A small flashlight can be incredibly handy if something happens when it is dark or difficult to see correctly.
A cell phone can often replace a flashlight in a first-aid kit, as most modern cell phones have a flashlight function.
Keep in mind, that there might come a time when your phone runs out of battery.
The solution is to include a flashlight with spare batteries, just in case.
A flashlight is an item many dog owners neglect to consider when preparing their kit.
Having a dedicated flashlight could make the difference should you find yourself in a situation where you need light.
Adhesive tape can help keep bandages in place, and it is another must-have in a canine first-aid kit.
Pick a product that is as safe as possible for your pet, and only use it when needed.
Anything wrapped with tape should be closely monitored as it is very easy to cut off blood flow and injure the dog.
Be sure to not to rip the tape off when you want to remove it, as it will likely be caught in the dog’s hair, which could hurt and cause injuries.
Veterinary Contact Details
You never want to find yourself in a situation where you need to get in touch with your vet, but can’t remember the phone number.
Nowadays, we rely too much on access to the internet – on being able to look up phone numbers.
So, what happens if you are out walking where there is no connection?
Keep your vet’s business card, or a paper with contact details, in your pet first-aid kit.
This will ensure you are never more than a phone call away from life-saving help and advice.
Bring the First-Aid Kit for your Dog with You
The whole point of a first-aid kit is to provide instant care for an injured dog or a dog in danger.
That is why it is so important to have the kit close at hand at all times.
Take it with you when traveling, and keep it on you or in your car when heading out for longer walks or outdoor adventures.
Having a first-aid kit for your dog won’t do much good on a shelf in the closet while climbing mountains, and it won’t help your dog unless you have quick access to it.
To combat this, some dog owners opt for having two kits prepared.
One kit to keep home, and a second, smaller kit, to bring with them.
Whether you build one or two depends entirely on what you prefer.
Every dog owner should have a basic first-aid kit for their dogs at hand.
It is impossible to know when and where something will go wrong. When something does go wrong, it is crucial that you are prepared.
As a reminder, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, a first-aid kit should never be used as a substitute for vet care or an excuse to self-medicate. Instead, only use first-aid as a temporary solution or for minor issues, and follow up with a vet visit as needed.
Should you choose to build your own first-aid kit, some of the items mentioned above are essential to keep your furry friend safe.
Please plan ahead and be ready for the unexpected. You will be glad you did!