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8 Essentials For Any DIY Dog First Aid Kit

By Colleen Williams
October 14, 2014 • 2 min. read
first aid kit supplies

Traveling with a dog can be a great bonding experience, but a part of pet parenting is planning ahead for the inevitable nicks and paw scrapes that are bound to happen. Don’t get caught off guard. With a little preparation — and a basic dog first aid kit — pet parents can perform a little on-the-spot care to treat minor injuries. Many of the supplies are the same for canine or human family members, with a few exceptions.

The local pet store should have a kit with all of the necessities. But for DIY pet parents who want to create their own first aid kit, The American Veterinary Medical Association offers a few recommendations:

Dog first aid, pet first aid kit
Image via Ruffwear

1. Gauze: A staple of any first aid kit to cover a cut or scrape, gauze can also be used to muzzle an injured animal. The muzzle will prevent biting, but never muzzle a dog that is nauseated, coughing or having trouble breathing. The AVMA says that owners can use a rope, towel or other cloth items in an emergency.

2.  Self-Adherent Bandages: These are another basic component to protect a wound and to prevent infection, but the AVMA recommends using non-stick bandages with adhesive tape (Human bandages can stick to a dog’s fur, causing pain when it’s time to change or remove the bandage.) A self-adherent pet wrap from 3M or another manufacturer can be used as an alternative.

3. Hydrogen peroxide: Flush a dog’s wound with hydrogen peroxide for sterilization and to prevent infection.

4. Milk of Magnesia or activated charcoal: Use these if your dog has ingested poison, but always contact a professional. The National Animal Poison Control Center number is: (888) 4ANI-HELP (888-426-4435).

5. Digital thermometer: Pet parents will need to use a fever thermometer. Regular devices intended for human use don’t include a high enough temperature scale. A normal core body temperature for an adult dog is between 100 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit for humans. The Nutri-Vet digital thermometer has a range of from 90 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit, for example. One other difference between pet and human thermometer use: the devices cannot be used orally for dogs.

6. Eye dropper: Use to flush wounds or to administer oral medicine.

7. Emergency contact information: In addition to contact information for a poison control center, pet parents should also have their regular veterinarian’s phone number handy. Nearby emergency vet clinics can be found on the Emergency Veterinary and Critical Care Society’s website.

8. Pet first aid book: The American Red Cross’ “Pet First Aid” is a smart addition to any kit.

This is a good first start! For a full list, read our article Your Pet First Aid Kit Could Save a Life.

The AVMA recommends that pet parents seek veterinary care as soon as possible after administering first aid. Another product addition to a first aid treatment plan? Pet insurance. A trip to the vet can get expensive quickly, but insurance can offset those costs.

If you love your pets like family, you want to protect them like family. With Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, you can save up to 90% on vet bills and say “yes” to life-saving treatments, no matter the cost. If you’re not a part of our pack yet, start by getting your free quote today. 

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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