Why have a dog first aid kit?
Accidents and emergencies involving your pet can happen at any time, so it’s always good to be prepared. When you’re just at home, out on a walk, camping, or travelling, it pays to be able to meet any eventuality. And just as you should have a first aid kit to treat the humans in your home, it’s good to carry a first-aid kit for your family pet.
Where to keep the dog first aid kit?
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. Ideally you would have a portable kit with you at all times as you never know when an accident may happen.
First aid kits for a car should be in soft padded cases or secured within the car.
What to look for in a dog first aid kit?
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.
First aid kit for humans
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. Any contents you use should ideally be pet specific and either tougher (in the case of bandages) or safe for them to eat, should they lick or chew them.
Specific first aid kit for dogs
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.
What should be in a dog first aid kit?
Below is a comprehensive list of items you should have in your canine first aid kit and items it would be good to have in your first aid kit.
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 Out of date and damaged dressings may no longer be sterile and could cause infection.
Essential contents of a dog first aid kit
- 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 (ideally 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 of a dog first aid kit
- 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 clothas 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
Join one of our practical or online first aid courses to ensure your skills are current and you are ready to help your pet whenever they need you.
First Aid for Pets provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for veterinary advice. The author does not accept any liability or responsibility for any inaccuracies or for any mistreatment or misdiagnosis of any person or animal, however caused. It is strongly advised that you attend a practical First Aid for Pets course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.