You never know when a natural disaster or medical emergency will occur, but having a comprehensive pet first aid kit will help ensure you are prepared should your pet need help. Our team at The Pet Clinic of Salem provides guidance to help you assemble a pet first aid kit.

#1: Gather your pet’s information

Place your pet’s important information in a waterproof envelope or sleeve, and keep this information with your pet first aid kit. You should include information such as:

  • Veterinary phone number — You obviously will need to quickly contact your veterinarian if your pet has a medical emergency. You should also keep the number for the closest 24-hour emergency veterinary practice, in case your pet has an issue after hours. If you are traveling, ensure you have information about reputable veterinarians along your travel route, as well as where you are staying.
  • Poison control phone number — If you know or think your pet has ingested a poisonous substance, you should have an accurate number to call the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) or Animal Poison Control
  • Medical records — Include your pet’s vaccination records and any important medical history should they experience a medical emergency. For example, if your pet has been diagnosed with a condition or illness, you should have available all their relevant information, including their medications.
  • Recent photo — Keep a recent photo of your pet in the kit, in case they go missing, and you need to post flyers to help find them.

#2: Pack equipment for your pet

Your next step should be to gather equipment your pet may need, and to place the items in a water-proof container. Items your pet may need include:

  • Collar and leash — Collars and leashes can be easily lost, especially during an emergency situation. Ensure you have extras, so you can easily restrain your pet.
  • Muzzle — If your pet is injured, they may become aggressive when you attempt to treat their wound. A muzzle will help protect you from being bitten.
  • Thermometer — You will need a thermometer to determine if your pet has a fever, or is hypo- or hyperthermic.
  • Bandage material — Bandage material (i.e., gauze pads, roll gauze, self-adhering bandaging, and bandage tape) should be included.
  • Scissors — Scissors may be needed to cut bandage material, or to cut your pet’s hair around a wound.
  • Flashlight — You will need a light source, if your pet is injured at night.
  • Tweezers — Tweezers are useful if your pet gets a splinter, and to remove foreign debris from wounds.
  • Tourniquet — If your pet is bleeding profusely from a limb wound, a tourniquet can save their life. 
  • Saline solution — Saline solution can be used to rinse out your pet’s eyes or wounds.
  • Disposable gloves — Wearing gloves when you treat your pet’s wounds will help prevent infection.
  • Clean towels or clothes — These can be used to clean your pet’s wound, and to soak in cool water, to cool your pet if they are hyperthermic.
  • Oral syringe — An oral syringe will facilitate water or medication administration.
  • Liquid dishwashing detergent — This is helpful for washing your hands, and for bathing your pet should they go swimming in a toxic area.

#3: Pack medications for your pet

You should pack at least one week’s supply of any of your pet’s prescription medications, and ensure you take your pet’s flea, tick, and heartworm prevention medications when you travel. Other medications you should pack include:

  • Alcohol — Alcohol is useful for not only disinfecting your hands, but also cleaning around your pet’s wound. Never pour alcohol inside their wound, which could cause extensive tissue damage.
  • Activated charcoal — Products that contain activated charcoal can be used to absorb toxins, but always call a poison control center before administering this to your pet.
  • Diphenhydramine — Your pet may need an antihistamine if they have an allergic reaction, but always consult a veterinarian before administering any medication to your pet.
  • Eye ointment — Eye ointment is important, should your pet’s eye become irritated or scratched.
  • Veterinary antibiotic ointment — A veterinary-approved antibiotic ointment can be placed on small wounds, to help prevent infection.
  • Hydrogen peroxide — Hydrogen peroxide can be used to induce vomiting if your pet ingests a toxic substance—again, always consult a veterinary professional before administering this medication to your pet.
  • Styptic powder — Styptic powder can help stop small bleeds, such as your pet’s injured toe nail.
  • Ear cleaning solution — Ear-cleaning solution can help prevent ear infections, if your pet decides to go swimming.

#4: Pack nutritional support for your pet

Pack a week’s supply of water and your pet’s normal food, as well as:

  • Collapsible bowls — Ensure you have bowls so you can easily feed and water your pet anywhere.
  • Rehydration solution — Products that contain electrolytes will be helpful if your pet is dehydrated.
  • Sugar solution — If your pet is hypoglycemic, a sugar solution can save their life.

Preparing a pet first aid kit is the best way to protect your pet in an emergency. If your pet is experiencing a veterinary emergency, contact our team at The Pet Clinic of Salem, so we can get them the help they need.