First aid kits need to be easily accessible in case an emergency situation arises. The kit should be well organised, ideally in a bag with compartments to allow you to quickly grab what you need.
Whatever you have in your first aid kit, the most important thing is that it is good quality. Many kits tick the boxes in term of contents, but are of such poor quality that they would really be no use in an emergency. A first aid kit designed for humans will be helpful for dogs in many medical emergencies, however additional aspects need to be considered for pets; they may need to be muzzled to prevent them biting you and they are also likely to chew or try and remove any dressings they find irritating.
Your kit should contain as a minimum first aid book or instructions, and contents to treat major and minor bleeding, burns, breaks and sprains.
A first aid kit for humans should not contain medication. First aid kits for a car should be in soft padded cases or secured within the car.
Always check your first aid kit and ensure everything remains in date and the packaging clean and in good condition. Out of date and damaged dressings may no longer be sterile and could cause infection.
- Emergency pet first aid book.
- Tough cut scissors. Sharp ones to cut away fur and blunt ended ones to minimise the risk of injury.
- Face shield to protect yourself when doing animal CPR
- Sterile gauze and saline to clean a wound
- Gauze wound dressings of various sizes
- Micropore tape to secure dressings and also useful for labelling things
- A couple of calico triangular bandages (ensure they are calico not a cheap version made of paper) these are some of the most useful things in your kit. Ideal, sterile, non-fluffy material to stop bleeding and can also be useful to make an improvised muzzle
- Sterile saline vial – for irrigating a wound, or washing grit from an eye
- Crepe bandage – for supporting a sprain or strain or to be used for an improvised muzzle
- Self-adhesive bandage (sticks to itself without tape or pins)
- Cotton wool wadding to pad over the top of the sterile gauze or padding around claws if you are bandaging.
Additional useful contents
- Burn gel or a burns dressing to apply to a burn after cooling
- Instant ice pack to reduce swelling. At home you can use a bag of frozen peas but ensure it is wrapped in a cloth as it can cause ice burns
- Instant heat pack to warm a pet suffering from hypothermia
- A foil blanket to keep dogs warm, crucially important for preventing shock. They should ideally be insulated from the ground and have this wrapped around them to retain their body heat.
- Sterile tweezers for removing small splinters or thorns
- Elizabethan collar to prevent them from removing dressings and biting wounds.
- A rectal thermometer and lubrication jelly
- Blankets and newspaper to maintain hygiene and absorb any bodily fluids
- Small torch
- Syringes – useful for irrigating a wound or giving medication
- Dog booties for a paw injury
- Pet dehydration medication, ask advice from your vet
- Antibiotic ointment – prescribed by your vet
- Antihistamine medication – prescribed by your vet
NEVER GIVE HUMAN MEDICATION TO YOUR DOG unless specifically instructed to by the vet.