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Dog First Aid Kits - Be Prepared!

Updated on April 17, 2010
Keep a dog first aid kit handy for emergencies!
Keep a dog first aid kit handy for emergencies!

Most people own fully stocked first aid kits in case of an emergency. In extreme situations, a first aid kit can often mean the difference between life and death. If you own a dog, it is just as important to keep a canine first aid kit handy in case of a dog related emergency. What constitutes a dog related emergency you ask!? Well, there are many types of health related issues and problems that could arise in which a dog first aid kit would come in handy. From simple bleeding issues (like when you clip your pup's nails) to severe allergic reactions. A properly stocked canine first aid kit is a necessity if you own a dog.  

You never know when you might need the proper medical supplies in order to deal with a canine emergency or health issue.  It is impossible to predict when your four-legged friend might fall ill or have an accident. Why wait until something terrible happens? Being prepared and educated is half the battle!

Often, when your pet is injured a quick response is vital. The faster you can treat the problem, the better. I also recommend that you purchase a general, first-aid book for dogs. Having a quick reference guide available at your finger tips can only help should your dog have an accident or become sick.

What Should You Keep In Your Dog First Aid Kit?

Phone Numbers: Write the numbers of the National Poison Control Center, your dog's veterinarian, and the closest emergency animal hospital on an index card and keep it inside the kit.

General Information: Also keep an index card with your dog's general information on it. Next time you take your dog to the vet for a check-up, be sure to write down his base temperature and weight. It is good to know this general information so you can compare numbers should your dog become ill.

Rectal Thermometer: If you are uncertain as to what type of thermometer to buy, ask your veterinarian. The pharmacist at the drugstore should also be able to assist you when picking out a good thermometer for your pet.

Blunt-tipped Scissors

Tweezers: Tweezers are an important tool. They can be used for many different types of medical situations. From removing ticks to splinters, keep a good pair of tweezers in your canine first aid kit.

Bandaging Materials: Elastic bandages (such as Ace Bandage), plastic wrap (to seal wounds), sterile gauze pads (various sizes), bandage tape, one and two inch rolls of stretchable and non-stretchable gauze

Ready-Made Hot and Cold Packs: It is also a good idea to keep one or two washcloths in the kit.

Clean Towels and Blankets

Betadine Skin Cleanser

Duct Tape: Any heavy tape will work. Tape is often used to immobilize your pet (usually done in extreme cases such as your dog being hit by a car).

Electric Clippers: To trim and cut fur around a wound.

Needle Nose Pliers: To remove foreign objects.

Muzzle: Though most people hate the idea of muzzling their pet, it is often necessary. Dogs that are injured have a tendency to bite. They don't bite because they are mean; they bite because they are in pain. Even the sweetest dog in the world will bite if they are scared and in extreme pain. If you do not own a muzzle, you can also use pantyhose or a spare dog leash. Note: for obvious reasons, never muzzle a dog that has been vomiting or having difficulty breathing.


Cotton Balls and Q-Tips

Milk of Magnesia


Eyewash: A sterile contact lens solution or eye rinse for dry eyes will do.

Vaseline: Can be helpful when taking your dog's temperature and also for tick removal.


Though it may seem like a long list of items, it is very important to completely stock your canine first aid kit and keep it in a convenient location. Having an up to date, stocked kit is extremely important! Every few months look at your kit and make note of any items that need to be restocked or replaced. If you do not have a dog first aid guide, you can order one through the American Animal Hospital Association or pick one up at almost any major book store. If you don't have the time to put together a canine first aid kit, you can purchase complete kits on-line or at most major pet supply stores. Remember, being prepared can mean the difference between life and death. After all, doesn't your best friend deserve the best! Woof!

For more information about dog health issues and veterinary pet insurance, please visit the Veterinary Pet Insurance Guide. Here's to your dog's health!

Assorted bandages, an important item in your canine first-aid kit!
Assorted bandages, an important item in your canine first-aid kit!

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