Dog First Aid Kit: What’s In Yours?

Do you have a first aid kit for your dog? Or do you think that you don’t need one?

No matter how carefully you try to keep your dog safe, injuries and unlucky incidents happen. The situation doesn’t need to be life-threatening for you to benefit having a first-aid kit on hand.

Dog First Aid Kit: What's In Yours?

I established a first-aid kit for my dogs for the same reason I take an umbrella when I don’t want to get wet, regardless of the weather forecast. Did you notice it often won’t rain just because you have one [an umbrella]? And if it does, you’re ready for it.

Information I recommend to include

Wherever you are, the first thing on your checklist should be the contact information and directions to a veterinary clinic and veterinary ER. This is particularly important when you travel but you would be surprised to know how many people don’t know where to turn in an after-hours emergency even where they live.

Imagine trying to find an emergency veterinary hospital when you’re already in the midst of an emergency. It would be extremely stressful and a waste of precious time.

When we travel, I always map out clinics along the way and at our destination.

Having an animal poison control phone number handy is also a good idea. I keep the contact for the Pet Poison Helpline 800-213-6680

If you do travel, don’t forget to take your dog’s medical records with you too. If your vet uses web-based medical records, even better. That way you can access the information any time, anywhere.

We also always make sure we have all Jasmine’s prescription medications and supplements to last us for the length of the trip (and like to have some extras just in case). Besides medications Jasmine is on I like to include some metronidazole (in case her IBD flared-up), Tramadol (for pain management), and couple prednisone tables. That is kind of funny because I fight putting her on that tooth and nail but it still makes me feel better to have some just in case. Note: I would never use any of these without discussing it with Jasmine’s vet first.

How equipped do you want your dog’s first-aid kit to be?

The bare basics

At the very least, your dog’s first-aid kit should contain the following:

  • bandages or bandaging materials
  • a non-stick sterile wound dressing
  • blunt-tip scissors
  • tweezers
  • sterile saline
  • rubbing alcohol
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • water (if traveling or hiking)
  • betadine
  • styptic powder
  • rectal thermometer
  • lubricating jelly
  • corn syrup
  • clean syringe (without needle)
  • muzzle/restraints
Extended version

An extended first-aid kit should include:

  • activated charcoal
  • antibiotic ointment
  • Benadryl
  • tick removal tool
  • old credit card (this is for removal of stingers)
  • protective gloves
  • flashlight
  • towel or rag
  • cotton roll
  • gauze roll
  • gauze pads
  • self-adhesive bandage e.g. vet wrap
  • splint
  • toenail trimmer
  • blanket
  • cold and hot packs
  • supportive harness or stretcher if you have a large dog

What is in our kit?

Our home first-aid kit grew over time to a huge amount of things. As well as since we moved to a middle of nowhere, we had to revisit its content. For example, normally one or two rolls of bandaging material would be plenty. But, as we learned, getting stretchy bandage or vet wrap around here is not easy. So we had to increase the amount of these things we keep on hand.

Things that we used the most
Tick removal tool

We got the TickTwister and never looked back. Of course, there are other products out there, just make sure you have something to remove ticks safely.

Thermometer

Ever since Jasmine’s drug-induced hyperthermia disaster I have been acutely aware of how important this vital sign is.

Personally, I have both an ear thermometer and a rectal thermometer. I realize that the ear one isn’t the most accurate thing but we found that the average of multiple measuring corresponds with what the rectal one reads. So I use the ear thermometer to get a rough picture and the rectal thermometer when the situation warrants the accuracy.

Lubricating jelly

Cannot use the rectal thermometer without good, water-based lubricating jelly. You want to take your dog’s temperature, not injure them.

Betadine

Betadine solution has been my go-to for minor foot infections. Jasmine had them frequently enough. It comes in handy for disinfecting other types of minor wounds. It is safe and it doesn’t sting.

Antibiotic ointment

While I list it as an ointment, which would normally mean products such as Polysporyn which we did use in the past, I now stock raw Manuka honey. It is amazing how well it deals with infections.

Sterile saline

Some of the content of our first-aid kit laid dormant until we got Cookie. Sterile saline comes in handy when she manages to get something in her eye, such as a blade of grass. That took a lot of salite to wash out but I didn’t want to try going at it mechanically. Eventually, it worked and we flooded it out.

3% hydrogen peroxide

This is another item I kept periodically replacing unopened until Cookie came into our lives. In her defense, I only had to use it to make her throw up once when she managed to eat something that could possibly have been a pot brownie.

Rubbing alcohol

No, I have never used rubbing alcohol on wounds–I keep it on hand in case my dog suffered hyperthermia.

Syringe

We used a large syringe when Jasmine had to be force-fed. It is also the best delivery tool if you need to give your dog peroxide to induce vomiting.

Bandages and bandaging materials

We never needed any of these things until we adopted Cookie either. My favorites are stretchy bandages and vet wrap. It is also important to have non-stick sterile wound dressing to prevent your bandage from sticking to the wound. I stock other bandaging supplies but didn’t need to use those yet.

Scissors

Blunt-tip scissors are needed to cut the bandage when you are applying it. If you use vet wrap, though, you can set it so it is easy to remove without cutting. I don’t like scissors close to my dog’s body even if the tips are blunt.

Benadryl

Yes, all our dogs got stung often enough that I have to use Benadryl at least once a year.

Muzzle

Even the most mild-tempered dog can bite when in enough pain. So far we only used it for PROM exercises during the first weeks of Jasmine’s post-ops.

An improvised muzzle can be made from a scarf or a stocking.

Supporting harness

Having Rottweilers, this is a godsent item. It is really helpful when your large dog cannot walk just like JD couldn’t before he passed on.

My dog first-aid kid has a lot more item than these but I wanted to highlight those we used most frequently. I keep a bunch of things that I, fortunately, never had to use.

What is in your dog first aid kit?

Related articles:
Dog Symptoms: When Is It an Emergency?

Further reading:
How to Make a First-Aid Kit for Dogs

Categories: Dog careFirst-aid

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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