What’s so important about pet first aid kits?
Accidents aren’t planned, they can and do happen. Therefore, preparation is key. The American Animal Hospital Association states that 25% more pets could have been saved if only ONE pet first aid technique was applied before veterinary treatment. That first aid means the difference between life and death, temporary or permanent disability, and a short recuperation or a long recovery. A pet first aid kit plays a vital role.
I recommend taking the time putting your own kit together. If you choose to buy a pre-packaged kit, verify the contents suit your needs. In addition, replace items when used and check expiration dates on a regular basis.
What’s in my kit?
I keep the contents in a large, denim Tinkerbell bag. Aside from Tink being the “bomb”, the bag is convenient to move from location to location. Other options include fishing (tackle) and craft boxes, which have plenty of compartments for storage. Suggested items are listed by category. There is some overlap between categories.
BLEEDING AND WOUNDS
- Adhesive tape.
- Gauze pads.
- Gauze rolls.
- Vet wrap.
- Cotton roll. This is used for head and large area wounds.
- Non-stick gauze.
- Antibiotic cream.Avoid the use of triple antibiotic if you have cats. While the combination of the three ingredients is a rare allergy, for those cats that are allergic, it is fatal.
- Sanitary napkins. They are used to soak up excess blood.
- Bandanas/triangular bandages. They can be used for splinting fractures and covering wounds. In addition, they can be used to aid a dog in walking by taking the pressure off of an injured limb.
- Paint stirrers can be used for splinting.
- Sealed sterile saline solution for flushing wounds. An unsealed bottle is no longer sterile. Unlike water, slaine solution maintains the cellualr salt balance resulting in faster healing.
- 2% chlorohexidine wound rinse can also be used to flush to out wounds. The 2% is important. Less than that is not effective and more can cause cellular damage. I no longer use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to flush wounds, as alcohol stings and hydrogen peroxide damages cellular tissue. In addition, both will slow healing. Cats cannot metabolize either alcohol or hydrogen peroxide as well. It is commonly found in most first aid aisles of supermarkets and deparment stores.
- Nexaband or liquid bandage. Your veterinarian can demonstrate the right way to use this product. It is important that the wound is properly cleaned and dried first. If used improperly, it can damage skin and seal in bacteria. Never use on bite wounds. Superglue is not a replacement. Superglue is not labeled for medical use and as such, does not need to use medically safe ingredients.
- Expired plastic gift cards are the right size for paw injuries. Cushion them with extra gauze to protect the pad.
- Tea bags. They contain tannic acid which helps to clot bleeding injuries.
- Hemastop. I prefer this over styptic powder because it does not sting.
ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK, ALLERGIC REACTIONS AND INSECT BITES
- Premeasured dose of LIQUID gel antihistamine as determined by your vet. The brand name is not important, only that the center is liquid.
- Safety pin.
The safety pin is used to puncture a hole in the liquid gel. It is then squirted onto the tongue of the pet. This is the easiest and most effective way to administer an antihistamine.
- Plastic card for flicking out bee stingers. Do not tweeze them out as you only inject more venom into the pet. Place the card under the stinger and lift up and out.
- Chemical cold pack or instant cold gel wrap. They can be placed against pressure points to aid in cooling the pet.
- Rubbing alcohol can be squirted onto the pads. As this can cause alcohol poisoning, talk to emergency veterinary personnel first and do not use on cats.
- Poison Control Center’s phone number is 888-426-4435.
DO NOT ASSUME YOU SHOULD INDUCE VOMITING! Different poisons call for different protocols. What will help one situation will cause harm in another.
- Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. This is not safe for cats.
- Activated charcoal to absorb poison.
- Baking soda to absorb topical caustic material.
- Squirt bottle to administer treatment.
- Plastic baggie/latex gloves for vomit or stool sample.
- Sterile solution for 1st and 2nd degree burns. DO NOT RINSE 3rd DEGREE BURNS. 3rd degree burns are characterized by the burn going through the full thickness of the skin.
- Bandana/gauze to cover burns.
1. Small flashlight with spare battery to check throat for debris.
2. Plastic baggies/latex gloves for debris sample.
- Emergency muzzle.
If your kit is needed, your pet is probably in pain. Any pet in pain or being moved into pain can and will bite.
- Digital thermometer and petroleum jelly. They will thank you later.
- Blunt tip scissors.
- Eye dropper.
- Eye wash.
- Honey packets for hypoglycemic dogs.
- Survivor blanket will help keep pet warm due to shock in cold weather ONLY. It should not be used in warm weather.
- Glow sticks can be used to illuminate most common strains of ringworm. However, keep in mind this is not a full-proof diagnostic tool.
- Smart Water or unflavored Pedialyte will help to re-hydrate stressed pets. Pedialyte must be unflavored because the other varieties contain artificial sweeteners.
- Photos of me WITH my dogs. The photo will establish ownership should I become separated from my dog(s) while hiking or traveling.
- Latex gloves to protect from zoonotics.
- Constricting band. I live in an area with poisonous snakes. If the bite occurs on an extremity, then place the constricting band after the wound. It will help to slow down the venom. Remove any collars from the pet. Intense body swelling can occur.
These items are in my kit because they suit my needs. Your kit should suit your needs.