I remember the very first time I needed to use my pet first aid kit. I was hoping it had bandaids after I sliced my finger. I took the cellophane off and while I was happy they were there, out of the 100 count pet first aid kit had about 75 of them. I quickly learned that I needed to make sure my kit had the proper items.
This list is my current pet first aid kit:
- Activated charcoal is used to absorb ingested poisons. Any item in my kit that is intended for poisoning will NOT be used unless directed by a veterinarian. Protocols vary and what will help in one instance can cause harm in another.
- Antibiotic cream for wounds. I do not use triple antibiotic as I groom cats. While it is rare, if the cat is allergic to the combination of the three ingredients may cause a fatal reaction.
- Antihistamine and safety pin for minor allergic reactions. I specifically look for diphenhydramine gels with a liquid center. The safety pin is used to puncture the gel cap and squirt the liquid directly onto to the tongue of the pet. It is the fastest way for an anaphylactic pet to absorb the antihistamine. Consult a veterinarian for proper dosing beforehand. Not all pets can safely use antihistamines as it may interfere with other medications and medical conditions.
- Apps for smart phones. I have two that I like. The first is the ASPCA’s Pet Poison app. It’s FREE and will dial the number for the Pet Poison Hotline. As minutes matter in a poisoning, this is invaluable if you cannot reach a local veterinarian for instructions. While the app is free, the phone call to the hotline is not. The second is a veterinarian locator. This is useful if you are either a mobile or house call groomer and need to find the closest veterinarian.
- Baking soda to absorb topical poisons or chemicals.
- Band aids for myself. This is the one item that is replenished on a regular basis.
- Bandanas have multiple uses. They replace triangular bandages and can be used as slings to take the weight off of an injured limb.
- Expired gift cards are always saved. They are a perfect size to cushion pad injuries on larger pets. I place gauze on both sides of the card and securely wrap the cards and gauze to the paw with vet wrap. In addition, the cards can flick out bee stingers. Place the card at the base of the stinger where it meets the skin and lift up and out.
- Eyewash serves double duty. It can be used to flush out both eyes and wounds.
- Gauze comes in three varieties: gauze roll, gauze pads, and nonstick gauze pads. The gauze roll is wider and is good for larger wounds. The nonstick gauze is more expensive, but I will use it as the first pad on the wound and then place the cheaper gauze on top on it. The nonstick gauze will not remove the scab when it is time to replace the bandaging.
- Honey packets for hypoglycemic pets. Stress, seizures, as well as an owner giving a pet too much insulin can result in low blood sugar. This is a serious condition that may result in the death of the pet. Signs include listlessness, staggering, tremors, muscle weakness, and seizures. Do not give the pet honey unless directed by a veterinarian.
- Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in a dog. As this is used for poisoning, consult a veterinarian first. Dosage will vary. Vomiting is not a given for poisoning. If it is caustic, it will burn the throat on its way out. You cannot use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in cats. Cats cannot metabolize hydrogen peroxide.
- Ice will constrict blood flow and slow bleeding. I do not keep ice in my pet first aid kit. If you have a freezer in a shop, then add ice.
- Liquid bandage is an asset if you know how to use it properly. Used incorrectly, it can damage surrounding tissue, as well as trap bacteria in the wound. Your veterinarian can instruct you in proper usage. I do not use superglue. It is not manufactured for medical use and as such, the manufacturer can change ingredients and formulation without consideration for safety on wounds.
- Muzzles are a must. If you need to use your pet first aid kit, this pet is likely in pain. Any pet that is in pain is a bite risk.
- Plastic baggies to collect a vomit or fecal sample. This may be necessary if the pet has been poisoned and you are unsure of what was ingested. When not in use, it can store smaller items for easy accessibility.
- Rubber gloves to protect you from any zoonotic and also to collect vomit or fecal samples.
- Sanitary napkins will absorb blood.
- Squirt bottle to deliver hydrogen peroxide down the throat of a dog.
- Styptic powder for use on nails only. It stings and this pet is already in pain. In addition, styptic powder is not sterile and you may introduce bacteria into the wound. There are newer products on the market that functions as a styptic powder and can be used for wounds as well.
- Tea bags contain tannic acid. It is effective in stopping bleeding. While sugar is effective, I do not recommend it because the pet may be diabetic or pre-diabetic.
- Vet wrap is wonderful. It keeps the wound secure and dry.
- Wound cleanser. You have a couple of options. The first is sterile saline solution, also known as eyewash. The second is a Chlorohexidine based cleanser. This is easy to find. Almost any store that sells first aid items carries it. Do not use alcohol as it stings. Do not use sterile, tap, or bottled water and it disrupts the salt balance of the cells and slows healing.
Many of these items have expiration dates and should be checked periodically.
Mary is a business, wellness, and safety strategist who specializes in the pet industry. She has contributed to the professional pet industry as a consultant, speaker, writer, and progressive leader.
You can contact Mary by dropping a message or email her at Mary@PawsitivelyPretty.com