First aid is very impawtant to learn. You don’t need to learn how to administer an IV or stitch up a gash, but it’s good to know the basics should anything happen. Not only should your human know simple first aid, but they should also have a good first aid kit handy.
When I was a puppy my human found a book about raising puppies at the local pet store. In it was a list of items to make a first aid kit. She says she ran around like a crazy person to find all the items, spent a bunch of money, threw it away after a year and never used 3/4 of the things in it. So she’s reevaluated that list. So what should go in your first aid kit?
Good thing you ask, because I’ll give you some good ideas. Before continuing please note that you should always consult a veterinary health professional before administering anything to your pet.
First, let’s start with the container. My human has one of those plastic boxes you can find at Wally World or Target. It’s the one slightly larger than a shoe box, but not as big as the one you can fit a small child in.
Next, the supplies inside include:
- 5-10 oral syringes (1-2 each – 1ml, 3ml, 5ml, 6ml, 10ml) You can find them at Natures Farmacy or Tractor Supply for real cheap. Oral syringes can be used to administer oral medication in an easy manner. They can also be used to accurately and easily dispense other medications such as ear drops. We learned that hack from our vet.
- 2 rolls Vetrap or Coflex* (2″ and 4″ width) Available at pet stores, Agway, Tractor Supply or online.
- 2 boxes gauze pads* (2″ and 4″ packs)
- 2 rolls rolled gauze* (2″ and 4″ roll)
- 2 Mylar blankets* (think marathon baked potato people). These blankets help retain body heat.
- Benadryl* (diphenhydramine) tablets. It’s good for allergies and itching.
- Hydrocortisone ointment.* A topical ointment to reduce swelling and itchiness.
- Neosporin/Polysporin/Bacitracin*… whatever antibiotic cream of your choice.
- Immodium (loperamide) tablets.* or Kaopectate liquid. Anti-diarrheal medications.
- Quikstop or cornstarch. An antihemorrhagic to help blood clot.
- Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) or non-drowsy Dramamine* (meclizine). For motion sickness.
- Aspirin* – Low dose (81mg) or regular…depending on your dog’s weight. NEVER GIVE YOUR FLUFFY TYLENOL (acetaminophen), ALEVE (naproxen), OR ADVIL/MOTRIN (ibuprofen)!!!!! PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS EVER!!!
- Slant tip tweezers* or a Tick Twister can remove ticks and splinters.
- Alcohol swabs* to clean off instruments.
- HIbiclens (chlorhexadine), Betadine, or iodine wipes*. Used as a skin disinfectant.
- Dulcolax (biascodyl)* for constipation.
- Pepcid (famotidine)* for ulcers, acid reflux, or bellyache. I have been known to throw up white foam on rare occasions, which is a sign of acid reflux.
- Gas-X (simethicone)* for unusual amounts of flatulence and gas.
- Hydrogen peroxide or ipecac. Can be used to induce vomiting.
- Cold pack*
- Karo, corn syrup, or glucose paste* in the event Fido has a blood sugar issue.
- 2 hemostats (curved and straight tip)
- Cotton swabs (long handled or regular*)
- Surgilube or Vaseline* to lubricate whatever you need to lubricate.
- Digital thermometer
- Thermometer covers.
- Saline* as a wash to remove irritants from eyes and debris from wounds.
- Blanket/towel. In emergencies you may need a makeshift cot to move your dog.
- Latex gloves*. Your human will always want to protect you and them from any possible germs.
- Activated charcoal* can absorb some poisonous chemicals.
- Pen light
- Strips of fabric and wood for a splint
- First aid tape*
- Band aids.* These are mostly for the humans in our lives.
- First aid book. The book is available from the Red Cross. They also have a nice phone app available for download.
The items marked with an asterisk are also included in my travel first aid kit. A travel kit you say? Yeah, my human has one of those for us/me too. She bought these tiny little medication bags at the pharmacy and puts the tablet form of the various medications in them since they take up less space. Each item includes 2 doses/applications so everything packs easily into one of those freebie bags you get at the Lancome counter. Not to mention the travel kit tucks away nicely in her purse or in my doggie travel bag (that’s a post for another day).
Before you put together your own kit, talk with your vet about these items. For more info on how to use OTC medications, check out these two websites from different veterinary clinics (Site 1 and Site 2) and ask your vet. My human person also likes to include the name and number of my vet, the nearest emergency vet, and the poison control hotline into my first aid kit.
Making a first aid kit does involve a decent initial investment in regards to the equipment (ie: hemostats, syringes, thermometer, medical supplies) so again, speak with your vet to determine what is important. There are ways to save though. Wal-Mart offers a lot of the medications in small (like 5 or 10) packs for a few bucks (my human bought the famotidine and loperamide for $1 each). Make sure to check the medication expiration dates regularly. If your human really wants to be dog parent of the year they can program an expiration reminder into their smartphone. It’s also impawtant to keep the kit in an easily accessible area.
Most important tip of all…. In the event of an emergency, keep your cool. You are the only person who can make sure your dog receives proper medical attention. Being excited or scattered isn’t going to help them.