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 from 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?

Naturally, what you can have in your dog first kit at home varies from what you can bring when you camping, hiking or hunting. It reminds me of George Carlin’s stand-up about stuff and how you need to keep downsizing as you leave home for a holiday, then your hotel for a party and so on.

On the other hand, when you’re camping, hiking, or anywhere away from home you need to realize that your first aid kit is often what you need to rely on. Things you could easily run out to get in town can be hard to come by in the field or a bush.

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 also 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

Dog first aid kit for camping

For camping, I recommend you pack the extended version–it is best to cover all your bases. And absolutely don’t forget to pack your dog’s medications and medical information in your dog first aid kit for camping. As well that you best locate the nearest veterinary clinic and how they have it set up in case of after-hours emergencies.

Dog first aid kit for hiking or hunting

It is one thing to pack a large kit and load it in a car, it is another to carry it in your backpack. Give thorough consideration to where you’re going, what are the regional and seasonal risks, and how far from civilization you’re going. There are things you might be able to omit.

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 the 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?


Plug for our wonderful sponsor

Creature Clinic Pet First Aid Kit

Creature Clinic online store offers fantastic, pet first aid kits designed by a veterinarian.

The kits come at two sizes–for large dogs, and for small dogs and cats. The compact bag easily fits almost anywhere and it is loaded with everything you might need to help your pet in an emergency situation. It comes complete with a useful booklet that tells you exactly how to best deal with any medical emergency you might face with your pet.

What the Creature Clinic pet first aid kit contains:
  • pet first aid manual
  • bandage scissors
  • forceps
  • iodine (50 ml)
  • sterile saline flush (20 ml)
  • 10 ml syringe
  • digital thermometer
  • single-use lubricant
  • cotton balls
  • gauze swabs
  • melolin non-adhesive dressing
  • orthopedic padding (cotton wool bandage)
  • elastic cohesive bandage 5 cm
  • elastic adhesive bandage 5 cm
  • antibiotic ointment
  • disposable gloves
  • gauze length for muzzle
  • lectade (oral rehydration solution)
  • thermal blanket
  • tick remover (2 sizes)
  • extra leash

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

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

Categories: Dog careFirst-aid

Tags: :

Jana Rade edited by Dr. Joanna Paul BSc BVSc

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. Dr. Joanna Paul BSc BVSc is our wonderful sponsor and has been kind to edit and fact-check my important articles.

6 Comments
  1. Marjorie Dawson

    First aid kits are the best idea.

    For humans you can just grab the antiseptic but cats and dogs need something much more focused. I need to get an updated insert for our kits. So this is a timely reminder.

  2. Wow, what an extensive first aide kit! I usually just have a few bandages for people, which could also be used for dogs. But you point out some very good points, like the need for vetwrap. Two of my dogs had very serious accidents while we were either hiking or skiing and both times we didn’t know where a vet was and were lucky that people could tell us. Accidents can happen anywhere, but are more likely in a strange environment.

  3. I have a complete first aid kit for Layla but I also added Collodial Silver, Hemp Oil and Hemp Oil Balm for insect bites as she is allergic to Benadryl.

    • The creature clinic kit looks great. I have a decent cat first aid kit at home but I never thought about the fact that I should have one for my kits when we travel.

  4. Great tips! I have multiple first aid kits – one in the car that we use while traveling/camping/hiking, and another that I keep in the house. I combined my dogs’ first aid kit with the one for us humans, since there are actually quite a few items that could come in handy for either pets or people.

Share your thoughts