Dog First Aid Kit

After a few 'near misses' with my animals (resulting from storm, sudden illness and taking in fosters with unknown problems), it suddenly occurred to me one day, whilst doing my own "emergency box" for some threatened Florida storm or another, that dog owners really ought to give some serious thought to a "Dog First Aid" Kit.

The American Red Cross say "First Aid" is to: -

"help sustain life, and to minimize pain and the consequences of injury or sudden illness until professional medical help arrives."

In the case of an emergency, do what you MUST, and then let the professionals take over.

Quite literally, it's as much mental readiness on our part as supplies and medicines. Applying a compress to stop bleeding is the same on dog or human. In the normal course of pet ownership we can be faced with all sorts of potentially life threatening scenarios! Sometimes, you might not even know for sure what's happened and they can't tell us!!! Then, just treat for the "worst" that looks logical.

The very first recommendation I'd make is to take a Red Cross First Aid Course!!! What's applicable for a human in an "emergency" is often applicable for an animal. Check out their site -

This list is my own 'invention.' It's just things I keep on hand. Give thought to what you'd need and what you'd do. Start a box or keep a "stash" specifically for this. At the very least, it will get you started:

  • Diphenhydramine (the generic name for "Benedryl") for allergic reactions and stings! The liquid "elixir" is good in the first aid kit - simply because it reacts in the system more quickly. Use the regular child's sized dose (depending on how big your dog is, you could give more).
  • Valerian root (DOGS ONLY) Valerian root is a relaxant and is a great help for a dog that's upset or panicky.. Valerian can often relax them enough so you can work on them or get them to the vet in decent emotional shape. Valerian doesn't put them to sleep -- it just "chills them out". (Valerian is NOT for use on cats! It won't "hurt" a cat -- but it has a like effect to catnip! NOT relaxing for kitties!)
  • 'Tums-type' antacid tablets or "milk of magnesia". Just 1/2 a tablet if a dog has an upset tummy -- caution - "milk of magnesia" is ALSO a laxative - tums-types of products have ... let's say fewer side effects!
  • Triple antibiotic ointment of some kind.
  • Baby aspirin (particularly for those with arthritic dogs).

    Please remember - NEVER use any "Tylenol-type" product (generic name - "acetaminophen") or "Motrin-type" product (generic name -- "ibuprophen"). BOTH acetaminophen and ibuprophen are actually poisonous to dogs!
  • Sheeting - a large folded piece that is clean and stored in plastic to use as a compress or bandage in case of bleeding.
  • Cotton buds (to clean out sore ears carefully or even swabbing on ointment).
  • Styptic powder (or flour works too) if you clipped nails and came too close & nails bleed! This stings badly so be careful.
  • Adhesive tape and assorted gauze pads for emergencies.
  • A clean covered container to hold water (if you need to transport the animal some distance in an emergency.
  • Tweezers.
  • A leash (how often have you had to LOOK for one!! Keep even an old spare where you'll never "raid" it!
  • Cotton sports socks - a clean old pair is fine (works good as an outer dressing for a paw injury).
  • Plastic zip-type sandwich bags - just fold them up and rubber band them. Useful for samples or all sorts of things.
  • Ice pack (kept in the freezer).
  • Sterilized eye dropper (if glass - boil it for at least 3 minutes, lay on paper towel til dry and then put in a 'zip' type plastic bag). Handy for a multitude of things - particularly if you need to take a liquid "sample" of something to the vet (i.e., if you can't obtain a urine sample ANY OTHER WAY, take urine from a puddle - NOT the best way!!!! That urine is "contaminated" and won't tell the vet near as much but it's WAY better than NOTHING!)
  • Things you need in your part of the world - if you're in Alaska, it might be a frostbite kit, while in a tropical country, it might be a snakebite kit. Honestly, this isn't my area of expertise - if in doubt, ask your vet.

    PLEASE -- remember First Aid is "the FIRST care in an emergency" -- the point is to provide immediate care to hold the 'patient' until you can GET THEM TO THE VET!!! You only want to keep them alive and ease suffering until you can get your 4 footed friend TO professional care!!! Specifically you want to prevent them from injuring themselves further!!!

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