When a pet has an emergency, the last thing you should do is search for items you need. When you put together a pet first aid kit, you can be sure you’re prepared for an emergency. Make sure you check your cat or dog first aid kit every six months or so to make any necessary replacement parts or updates.
Here are 10 supplies you should always have in your pet first aid kit.
1. Emergency contact card
Use a contact card to write down the phone numbers of your vet, 24-hour emergency clinic, and animal poison control. If you need to leave your pet with a pet sitter, a copy of the card can be left with them.
It’s also a good idea to keep a copy in your wallet. There are products like the Imagine This Company “Rescue Our Pets” sticker and wallet card, which include stickers and wallet cards that you can use to write down the types of your pets and emergency contacts. The stickers can be placed at any entrance to your home for emergency responders, while the wallet card can be kept in your wallet or purse at any time.
2. Blunt-tip scissors
Scissors can be an overlooked item in a pet first aid kit, but without them, care is often difficult. Whether you’re removing hair near an injury or applying bandages, scissors always come in handy.
Look for blunt tip scissors, such as the ConairPro dog scissors with a rounded tip. You don’t want to accidentally cut your pet when you cut it close to skin. This is especially important when cutting hair near the eyes, nose, or ears.
Bandages are part of the basic equipment of every dog or cat first aid kit. In many cases, the bandage you put on after an injury is temporary until you can go to your vet. Nonetheless, it plays an important role in supporting and preventing contamination.
Make sure the bandages fit snugly enough so they don’t fall off, but not so tight that they impair blood flow.
You can make bandaging easier by choosing a self-adhesive bandage, such as the PetFlex paw print bandage for dogs, cats, and small animals from Andover Healthcare. This bandage does not stick to skin or coat and is made of a material that exerts pressure while reducing the chance of blood circulation being interrupted.
4. Sterile eye solution
It’s scary to think that there are chemicals or foreign objects somewhere near your pet’s eyes. If an irritant gets into the eye, it is likely that the animal will scratch or rub and make it worse.
Because eye injuries can be real emergencies, check with your vet before trying home treatment.
When asked to rinse your pet’s eyes, you should have a thorough rinse nearby. While generic eye washes are widely available, some are specifically tailored to the specific needs of dogs and cats, such as Nutri-Vet cat eye wash and Burt’s Bees eye wash for dogs.
5. Latex or rubber gloves
Gloves are essential when providing first aid to pets. Using gloves not only protects yourself, but also reduces your pet’s risk of infection. It’s surprisingly easy to accidentally contaminate an animal’s wound.
Consider keeping multiple sets of gloves in your equipment. A couple could break, or you might need someone else’s help.
6. plastic syringe
Anyone who has tried giving a liquid-based oral medication to a fidgety pet knows the value of a syringe. A needleless syringe can also be used to give a dehydrated pet oral liquid, or you can use it to rinse and clean a wound.
Make sure your syringe is sealed and clean until you need it. Four Paws Easy Feeder syringes are equipped with two separate tips so that they can be used flexibly. If you need to give your pet a thicker medication, opt for a tapered tip.
Depending on your dog or cat’s needs, you may need to have certain medications (including prescription medications) in your pet first aid kit. However, be sure to keep an eye on these expiration dates.
In addition to all prescription drugs, it is also convenient to coat your kit with a few standard remedies.
Hemostatic powder is used to stop minor bleeding, especially when a nail has been broken or cut too close to the buckle. Miracle Care Kwik-Stop hemostatic powder for dogs, cats and birds contains benzocaine, which helps relieve pain.
Another classic first aid kit is hydrogen peroxide. With the approval of your vet or a poison control professional, it can be used to induce vomiting.
If a sharp object, such as a thorn or a piece of glass, gets stuck in a pet’s skin, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to remove it with just your fingers. Tweezers are the easier, safer, and more hygienic choice.
You may also need tweezers for tick removal. When you pull out a tick, you need to touch it as close to your pet’s skin as possible—a task that’s much easier with tweezers.
An option such as TickEase tick removal tweezers makes this unpleasant task a little easier.
9. Antiseptic wipes
Using antiseptic wipes or rinses on your pet’s wound minimizes the risk of infection. Wipes are particularly suitable for cleaning the face or between the toes.
When you’re putting together a dog and cat first aid kit, look for products like Pet MD’s antiseptic wipes for dogs and cats with chlorhexidine. They are stitch-free and harmless to both types.
10. Digitales Thermometer
By measuring your pet’s temperature, you can better understand how serious his condition is. Consulting your vet over the phone is also good information that you should provide.
Apply a petroleum-based or water-based lubricant to the end of the thermometer for hassle-free insertion. If possible, let your pet gently restrain and deflect while only raising the tail as far as necessary to just push the metal tip of the thermometer into your pet’s rectum (about half an inch). Make sure you buy a thermometer that shows up to at least 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
11. Treats (bonus items!)
If you’re in a situation that requires pet first aid, chances are your friend could use a distraction. This is where dog treats or cat treats come in — as long as your pet can eat safely, of course. Do not feed pets that vomit, cannot swallow normally, have seizures, or are mentally impaired.
If you’re looking for an option that serves the dual purpose of being a tasty treat and a hiding place for medicines, try Greenies Pill Pockets chicken-flavored dog treats or Greenies Pill Pockets cat salmon treats with cat salmon flavor.
Von: Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM
Featured image: istock.com/pk-photos