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Your Dog's First Aid Kit

Updated on December 15, 2011

Always Be Prepared

Keeping a first aid box in your home for your dog is just as important as keeping one for yourself and your family.

If your dog has special needs discuss with your veterinarian any specific items you should keep handy. For example if your dog is diabetic or prone to seizures, special medications and instructions are necessary to have.

General items you should have for any dog cover a variety of possible problems, from bee stings to cuts and wounds.

Some Necessities are:

A styptic pencil or powder is necessary in case your dog tears a toenail that bleeds.

You should have Benadryl for allergic reactions. Even if your dog has never had an allergic reaction to a bee sting or a reaction to a vaccine it's best to be prepared. Your vet can recommend the dosage you'd administer if your dog had such a reaction.

You should also have betadine or a good povidone iodine solution to clean bites or wounds in case your dog is ever entangled with another animal.

Good gauze and water proof tape are also musts.

Pepto or Pepcid AC are both human medicines that are safe for dogs and can help relieve diarrhea or an upset stomach for your canine companion. Constipation can be relieved with a few tablespoons of condensed pumpkin, so it's smart to have at least one can in the house. You can find that in any grocery store where the pie baking products are.

A bottle of eye wash or saline solution is great to have if your dog seems to have gotten something in his eye.

Call Your Veterinarian

Having a first aid kit is not a replacement for veterinary care. If your dog is bleeding, or in anaphylactic shock, you need to seek the help of a veterinary medical professional. However, there is no excuse for being unprepared.

When you call your veterinarian or your animal emergency hospital, let them know what products you have that might help.

There's a big difference between having to call your vet to say, "My dog has been stung by a bee and can't breath!" and in saying, "My dog has been stung by a bee and can't breath! I have Benadryl in my hands. What should I do?"

Often even if your vet wants you to bring your dog immediately for medical attention, your ability to administer on-the-spot help can be life saving.

An Ounce of Prevention...

You also may want to talk to your vet about pain relief for emergency situations. Most dogs can take an aspirin or a baby aspirin, but never Tylenol or other human pain relief products. Often general information doesn't apply to your dog's particular needs. Get the facts for your dog from your vet and get prepared.

If you bring your dog on vacation with you, bring the first aid kit. Even if you bring the dog on a long hike or drive, put the kit in the car with you. It's better to be safe than sorry. You just never know what's going to happen.

Here's an important tip: have a copy of your dog's most recent vaccination record, signed rabies certificate and dog license copied and ready, right there inside of your first aid kit. How many times do you have an emergency close to your own veterinarian within normal office hours? Exactly. Not very often. On the chance that you have an emergency while away from home, or during hours when your veterinarian is not reachable, you will have your dog's records handy to present to the on-call or emergency vet.

Be sure to tell the emergency vet about any medical conditions like thyroid condition or Lyme disease that your dog has, and what medications he's on. Can't remember exactly what meds the dog takes? That's OK, just make sure you write it down and keep it in the first aid kit with the other paperwork.

Be sure that note includes regular preventatives as well, such as heartworm prevention and flea & tick prevention. For example, if you're dog suddenly has very bad diarrhea, it's important that the emergency vet know you're dog is on monthly heartworm prevention as he should be, because with that information the vet can quickly eliminate most ground worms as being the culprit for the dog's illness.

If you liked this HUB please click the Thumbs-Up below, just before the comments. Thanks!

* All text is original content by Veronica. All photos are either original content by Veronica, or used with permission. All videos are courtesy of


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  • Whitney05 profile image

    Whitney 10 years ago from Georgia

    Your welcome... Yes DEFINATELY call the vet before you self medicate a pet. You may think you're helping but the dosage can be tricky, especially on smaller dogs and those with sensitive systems.

  • helenathegreat profile image

    helenathegreat 10 years ago from Manhattan

    Great hub! I'm glad you remind us that having a little box of Benedryl is no replacement for proper veterinary care, but it can be very helpful to have it on-hand when you call the vet for direction!

    And I second Isabella's recommendation of peroxide. Twice I have called the emergency vet to have him ask if I had it and recommend that I give it to my puppy to induce vomiting.

  • thooghun profile image

    James D. Preston 10 years ago from Rome, Italy

    Bookmarked. Every-so-often I'll find my dog suffering from allergic reactions and insect. And save going to the vet there's nothing I could do, it tore me apart.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 10 years ago from NY

    My vet prefers Pepcid AC over the pepto, but I know both are good. Like I said over and over in the article, and you echoed, ALWAYS check with your vet on dosages, and what's appropriate for your specific pet. For example Greyhounds and collies can have very sensitive nervous systems, whereas labs can usually handle a bigger dose than other dogs their size... Don't guess. Get the exact instructions from the vet that knows your pet! :D

    Thanks, Whitney!

  • Whitney05 profile image

    Whitney 10 years ago from Georgia

    Pepto works wonders on diarrhea for dogs!! It's just a matter of calling your vet to get appropriate measurements. My yorkie had severe diarrhea from eating every last jerky treat from the vet. He ripped a hole and ate them all while I was out of the room. Blamed it on the APBT puppy, but when he started squirting out his butt when he barked, he told on himself. When taking the pup for her shots, he tagged along. The vet said Pepto. It's cheap and it's great for human's too.

    Definately agree to having safety items around the house.

    I try keeping child's benedryl, pepto, gauze, and neosporin.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 10 years ago from NY

    Jill (mads78) - I'm so glad you found this helpful! Thanks for the awesome comment! Best to you and Maddie ;)

  • profile image

    mads78 10 years ago

    Veronica, your hub is the best one I have read so far! What a great source of information. I don't know why, but I never have even thought about having a first aid kit ready for my dog (and cats). I take my dog to quite a few places with me too. I will also print this out and start making up a kit for my little shih tzu...Maddie!

    Thank you,



  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 10 years ago from NY

    Thanks Eileen!

    Thanks, Goodwitch! Yeah... tomato juice doesn't work. Beer, hydrogen peroxide and liquid soap really does the trick. The vanilla is a really nice extra. It will leave his coat funky and dry, you'll have to follow up with a good bath and maybe even some human hair conditioner a week or so later. Most extreme case I know of, the dog had to bathed in the solution twice: first time got about 80%, second time got the rest.

  • Goodwitch profile image

    Goodwitch 10 years ago

    Where were you 3 years ago when my Chow got skunked?!!!! TOMATO JUICE DOES NOT WORK!!!!! I'm printing this out and putting a kit together IMMEDIATELY!

  • Eileen Hughes profile image

    Eileen Hughes 10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

    A really brilliant and very useful hub. Something I had not thought a lot about.

    I will go and get one before we go away.

  • Isabella Snow profile image

    Isabella Snow 10 years ago

    I love that the only skunks in this country are in the zoo, lol.

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 10 years ago from NY

    Thanks Isabella. And thanks for the link, too. You're right about the hydrogen peroxide, great tip for inducing vomit.

    Also, if your dog gets skunked you need the hydrogen peroxide on hand as well. Bathe him in a mix of 1 part hydrogen peroxide 3%, 2 parts beer, a good squirt of dishwashing liquid for lather, and as much vanilla extract as you have in the house. Scrub that in good down to the skin level with a brush and warm water, let it sit on the dog 10 minutes or as long as you can, and then rinse completely. Nothing lifts skunk spray like it.

  • Isabella Snow profile image

    Isabella Snow 10 years ago

    Good advice! I didnt know Pepcid was safe for dogs! If I may add one thing to the list, 3% Hydrogen Peroxide is also very good to have on hand in case they swallow something you need to have come back up immediately. Obviously how much you give depends on weight - and of course, only if its not dangerous to being something back up. Hope you dont mind the link!

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

    I am laughing out loud at that video! The first picture of dog and ice pack is very humorous as well, and a good shot. Great hub!

  • Veronica profile image

    Veronica 10 years ago from NY

    Zsuzsy, thanks so much! I'm glad you're a pro at the preparedness. It's always best to be ready!

  • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

    Zsuzsy Bee 10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

    Great Information in your HUB Veronica. I have had my pet first aid kit for ever, as my children and their friends always used to bring home anything injured and near death.

    great article

    regards Zsuzsy