New Year’s Project: Assemble a Pet First Aid Kit
Tuesday, Jan 03,2012

Chances are, you have an area of your home where you keep first aid supplies like bandages and antiseptic spray. But what about your supplies for pets? Do you have the tools to help if Fido gets hurt? Not only should all homes have fire extinguishers, flashlights and candles for emergencies, they should also have a kit to take care of pets in the event of an emergency.

Pet first aid kits are fairly easy to assemble because items can be found in the first aid section of most stores and a few items from the pet aisles as well. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Gauze – For wrapping wounds or making a makeshift muzzle for wounded pets do not muzzle a pet that is vomiting). Even the most well-trained pet can bite when wounded or in shock.
  • Non-stick bandages and tape – never use Band-Aids or self-stick bandages on pets.
  • Vetrap or self adhesive wrap – place gauze or non-stick bandage on the wound and use Vetrap to hold it in place.
  • Milk of magnesia and activated charcoal for poison control – ALWAYS consult your veterinarian or Animal Poison Control if you believe your pet has ingested a poisonous or toxic substance.
  • Leash and Collar – for transportation, it's good to have a backup.
  • Scissors
  • Sterile Eye Wash
  • Tweezers
  • Tick Removal Tool – A popular brand is called Tick Twister (click here to watch the tool in action). Also, save the tick to take to the vet, there are many types and seeing the tick can help your vet treat your pet's condition with more accuracy.
  • Cornstarch – helps stop bleeds on toe nails.
  • Antiseptic Wash or Wipes – try to use a non-sting version and avoid alcohol based items. Another item to research is Vetericyn, a one-step wound and infection treatment.
  • Disposable gloves
  • Thermometer and Lubricating Jelly – Know the normal temperature ranges for both dogs and cats because they are different from humans.
  • Hot and Cold Packs – Heat for hypothermia or cold for a burn. Always wrap the pack in cloth before applying to the pet.
  • Extra Towels, Blankets and Wash Cloths
  • Benadryl (generic name diphenhydramine) for allergic reactions and insect stings – ALWAYS consult a vet for proper dosage.
  • Lastly, make sure you include a list of important phone numbers like your veterinarian, emergency pet hospital and animal poison control inside your kit so you don't have to hunt them down in a crisis.

Want to go high tech? There are now apps available for your smartphone that will keep you in the know wherever you go. One is Jive Media's Pet First Aid App and another is Pet Saver by Pet Tech. While they both are available for a small fee (under $5), it can be worth it to have help when your fur-kid is down for the count.

Lastly, if you want to make more of an investment in being prepared for pet emergencies, your local Red Cross chapter offers pet first aid courses that go over many different possible situations.

With the internet, we can access articles, websites and apps, but they are no substitute for proper veterinary medical care for your pet. If you're not sure, it's always best to consult your vet.