If your canine companion is an active dog, a fully stocked, quality puppy & dog first aid kit could be the difference between life and death, health and permanent disability, or a pain-free life and ongoing suffering. It should go without say that any good animal lover will always have a Puppy & Dog First Aid kit to hand.
A first aid kit for a dog or other pet has many of the same supplies and tools as a kit for humans, such as scissors, gauze and an antiseptic for cleansing wounds.
There are some important differences, however, particularly pain medications.
Many medications developed for human use are dangerous, even fatal, to pets. You need to ensure that your puppy & dog first aid kit has pain medications developed for your pet.
The best way to do that is to create your own canine first aid kit, or purchase one of the many available in stores and online.
If you’re someone who likes to customize, I’ve included a list of essential and recommended items:
To dogs, to other pets, to people.
These puppy & dog first aid supplies are just what you need to give your dog a fighting chance until you get her to the vet.
These dog first aid supplies are divided into five sections: tools, supplies for external use, supplies for internal use, items to comfort your dog, and the container to carry them in.
Some supplies may only come in large quantities. To save space in your kit, consider adding only enough to help your dog for several hours. Take along enough for a day or two if you’re at a hunting camp or other isolated spot.
Don’t forget two very important items.
A book on dog first aid is vital. You can’t know everything that can happen to your dog, or how to treat it.
First Buy a dog first aid book that’s small enough to fit into your kit, yet at the same time large enough to have the information you need.
The second important item to have with your puppy & dog first aid supplies is clean water. Your dog will need fluids to help your dog survive.
If you’ve ever become sick from drinking unclean (or even unfamiliar) water, you know how unpleasant it can be.
If your dog is injured or ill, the last thing she needs is a stomach bug or upset.
If you’re traveling by car, take at least a gallon (four liters) of water with you.
Any animal in pain, even your dog, may snap at you or try to bite as you clean a scrape or close a wound. The first thing you should do is muzzle them.
You can purchase a muzzle, or take strips of pantyhose or other material to tie around her snout.
Learn Dog Handling techniques to help you muzzle and restrain your dog.
Other necessary tools for your puppy & dog first aid supplies include the following.
Use Your dog is likely to suffer from far more external injuries than internal injuries or illnesses. These can range from scrapes and scratches, to bites and stings, to open wounds and punctures. These puppy & dog first aid supplies will help you clean and stabilize any wound, small or large.
If you live in, or plan to visit, tick country, add one or two small plastic bottles with tight seals to your puppy & dog first aid supplies. Before you go, label them “Ticks” and partially fill them with rubbing alcohol.
If you find a tick on yourself or your dog, remove it and put it into one of these bottles. The alcohol will kill and preserve the tick in case identification is required later.
Your dog may, at some point, eat something toxic or that doesn’t agree with her. These dog first aid supplies will help with most GI and poisoning problems.
These items will keep your dog warm if needed. If your dog is injured, they may suffer from shock; any of these items will help control the symptoms.
The following dog first aid supplies are useful to keep in a home kit. Consider taking all or some of them if you go traveling.
A suitable container is a very important part of your dog first aid kit. You need a container that’s big enough to fit all the dog first aid supplies you’ve purchased.
It should also give you access to everything inside. At the same time, it needs to be small enough that you won’t begrudge taking it with you when you travel.
You might want to consider creating two kits: a smaller one with only the essentials for use when you’re out for a walk or at the beach, and a larger, more complete kit with the dog first aid supplies to handle just about any emergency.
For a small kit with just the essentials, useful when out for a walk or a day at the beach or park, consider a red or other light-colored fanny pack.
Many today come with four or more pockets, two large ones in the main section, and a smaller one on either side. The small ones are useful for carrying pills and medications.
For a larger kit for home or travel use, consider a nylon briefcase with zippers down the sides. Buy a red one, or one in another light color.
Most come with a large interior compartment, a large exterior compartment in the back, and another one in the flap. They also come with small pockets and pen holders.
The pen holders are useful for scissors, tweezers and forceps, while the pockets can hold bandages, a washcloth, or cotton swabs.
If you take your dog hunting, or enter a lot of agility competitions, you may need a more extensive list of dog first aid supplies, and a larger box to fit them.
Consider using a fishing tackle box. These boxes have trays that lift up and out when the lid is opened, giving access to the lower compartment. The trays are useful for the smaller objects, while the main compartment can hold the bottles, tools and bulkier items.
Many tackle boxes are black plastic. Scout around for one in a lighter color, grey or green. You want to be able to label your first aid kit with a permanent marker. A black box will require white markings with paint or correction fluid.
On the outside of your fanny pack, briefcase or tackle box, with permanent marker, write “Dog First Aid” on all exposed sides. This will help others locate and use your kit should the need arise.
Create a card with the following information, then carry it inside your fanny pack, tape it to the back of the large inside compartment of your briefcase, or tape it to the inside of the tackle box lid.
Your name, address and phone number Name and phone number of a contact person, who, in an emergency, will take care of your dog if you cannot Your dog’s name and information about any medications she takes (including dose and frequency), any allergies or significant medical conditions she has Name and phone number of your veterinarian
Create another card to tape alongside the contact and medical information. On this one, write a list of common medications and preparations, such as pain relievers, along with their general dosages, and the specific dose for your dog, based on her weight. With your dog’s specific dose requirements listed, you won’t have to try to do the math in your head, or fumble around with a calculator, when you should be concentrating on treating your companion.
Have your veterinarian confirm the dosages before you use any of them. If the symptoms you are treating persist, consult your vet immediately as the problem may be more serious than you first thought.
Tylenol can cause liver problems in dogs, so do not use it instead of aspirin. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, etc.) is fatal to dogs at low doses.
Use only aspirin for relieving your dog’s pain. Aspirin can cause stomach ulcers in your dog, so watch her closely for signs of stomach upset. Use buffered aspirin or ascriptin to minimize these stomach problems.
Also keep copies of your dog’s medical information in your kit, including vaccination records, her rabies certificate, and any medications that she needs. If you travel a lot with your dog, consider making a separate package of records for each car. See Information and Records for more on what types of information you’ll need for emergencies.
Invest some time packing and repacking the fanny pack, briefcase or tackle box. Ensure that the most commonly used dog first aid supplies, like the bandages and antibiotic ointment or cream, are near the top or in an accessible pocket.
We hope you never have to use any of these dog first aid supplies on your dog, or any dog. But if you do, you’ll be glad you invested the time to collect these dog first aid supplies and put together or customize a first aid kit.