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Cats and Dogs, Healthcare

How to Assemble a First Aid Kit for Your Pet

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

Small white dog with a blue bandage on front right paw, sitting among a first aid kit with first aid supplies.

If your pet was injured, would you know what to do? What about supplies- would you have the necessary items on hand to care for them? Nobody wants to think about their pet experiencing pain or an injury but if it happens, a little preparation can go a long way toward getting your pet on the road to recovery. April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month and we can’t think of a better way to observe than by assembling a first aid kit for your pet.

Assembling a pet first aid kit might seem overwhelming, but it can provide peace of mind knowing that it’s available should you ever need it. Not sure where to start? Keep reading for our list of must-haves.

How to Assemble a First Aid Kit for your Pet

Wound cleaning and treatment

Wound cleaning solution is handy to have available to flush the wound before you bandage it. You can use a sterile saline solution or consult your vet for their recommendation for a solution. It’s also a good idea to have a tube of antibiotic ointment in your kit for use on minor cuts, scrapes, and abrasions. (Check out this wound spray for cats!)

Bandaging supplies

If your pet has an open wound, you’ll want to have something to bandage it. Gauze, adhesive tape, and self-adhesive bandage cover are all necessities. For small wounds, this liquid bandage quickly seals and protects. Styptic powder is also useful for stopping bleeding from minor injuries such as scratches or minor cuts (available for cats and dogs).

Digestive aids

Sometimes our pets can get into things that cause some tummy trouble. Antacids with famotidine can help soothe an upset stomach. If your pet ingests something dangerous consult your vet immediately before taking any actions. They may suggest it’s a good idea to have 3% hydrogen peroxide on hand to induce vomiting (ONLY under a veterinarian’s direction). Activated charcoal can also be used to absorb some toxins, but not all. As always, contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested something toxic.

First aid tools

Other essential first aid tools include a digital thermometer, oral droppers and oral syringes for administering medication, tweezers, ice packs, and blunt-nosed scissors for cutting bandages. It’s also a good idea to store emergency phone numbers in your first aid kit for easy access.

Comforting essentials

When a pet is injured or distressed, they may need a little extra comfort. We recommend packing a special toy in your first aid kit. The novelty of a new toy can take your pet’s mind off of their discomfort for a little while and if your pet is prone to destructive behavior when they’re stressed, a new toy can serve as a safe outlet for their nerves. A calming aid can also be beneficial in high-stress situations.

As always, if your pet gets injured or you have concerns about their health, your veterinarian should be your very first resource, but a well-stocked first aid kit can provide peace of mind. To learn more about first aid for your pet, please visit The American Red Cross.

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