The Right Dog First Aid Kit
Far too many dog owners have no dog first aid kit on hand in case of emergency.
First and foremost, the appropriate kit differs from dog to dog and should be individualized to fit the typical health care needs of your dog.
Whether you have chosen to treat your dog conventionally or holistically, it is best to consult with your veterinarian to determine any special items that should be included for your dog.
At a minimum, your dog first aid kit should contain the following:
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- Animal emergency care booklet
- Blanket - keeps your dog warm to prevent them from going into shock from a serious injury
- Tweezers and sterile needles - to help remove splinters and tick heads. Note: Although tweezers can do the trick, commercial tick removers are recommended as they have been found to be much more effective. See our Dog Tick Removal page for more information.
- Metal scissors for cutting gauze, tape and fur around wounds
- Muzzle - to prevent your dog from biting or licking a wound or from biting you while you are treating a wound. Roll gauze can also be used to create a muzzle.
- Gauze sponges
- Roll gauze and adhesive tape - vet wrap is best as it sticks to itself but not your dog's skin or fur
- Custom splints
- Dog ear thermometer (regular or digital - normal dog temperature is between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees F)
- Zip-lock bags
- Latex gloves to wear while treating wounds
- Dog’s paperwork - including:
- Health record
- Emergency clinic hours and contact information
- Your veterinarian's hours and contact information
- Local and national poison control numbers
- Antibiotic ointment or cream
- Iodine swabs
- Generic Benadryl tablets (for allergies) - consult with your vet before using
- Styptic powder or pencil
- Ear syringe
- Eye wash or saline solution
- Small flashlight
- Hydrogen peroxide & activated charcoal in case your dog ingests something poisonous...
Hydrogen peroxide can be fed to dogs to induce vomiting. Take a syringe with measure marks and add 5ml (1 teaspoon) for each 10 pounds that your dog weighs and squirt it into the back of their mouth.
For example, a 30 pound dog should get 15 ml (3 teaspoons) of hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. Depending on your dog, it might only take one dose.
DO NOT give more than 3 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide to any dog at one time.
Activated Charcoal can be fed after vomiting to counteract the effects of poisoning. It is non-toxic and comes in capsule form.
In short, it works by attracting certain chemicals and micro-organisms and absorbing them. This prevents the toxic substances from getting further into the blood stream. It is commonly given to humans in emergency rooms as well for the same purpose.
Keep some handy in the house for both your dogs and family. For an average-sized dog, 2 capsules should be plenty (if unsure, give more since there is no known negative effect of an overdose).
This is a condensed list of the essential first aid needs for your dog. Again, it is best to work together with your veterinarian to make sure that you have everything you might need to treat your dog's particular health needs.
Unfortunately, no kit on the market contains ALL of the above recommended items. The most complete dog first aid kit that we have found (and the one that we own) is the Ruff Wear K-9 First Aid Kit for Dogs.
It contains the majority of the above items, along with a few other helpful additions. Following are the essentials that you will still need to add to round out the Ruff Wear K-9 kit:
- Tweezers & sterile needles
- Ear Syringe
- Generic Benadryl tablets - again, talk with your vet before using
- Custom splints
- Small flashlight
- Rectal or ear thermometer - the Pet-Temp Ear Thermometer is a good one.
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