Having a pet first aid kit on hand is an easy way to protect your pet's safetyPreparedness is the name of the game when it comes to an emergency situation – or really any situation that requires a quick response. If your pet is injured or ill, knowing what to do and what you need is critical to a better outcome.

We’re pretty sure you have a first aid kit for yourself and your family (and if you don’t, we highly recommend getting one!), but it’s equally important to have a pet first aid kit as well. While a basic first aid kit isn’t the only thing your pet needs during a medical situation, it can help stabilize your pet while getting them quick treatment.

So, what are the essentials of a pet first aid kit? Let’s find out!

The Essential Components of a Pet First Aid Kit

Both online and at your local pet supply store, there are a wide range of first aid kits on the market, but not all are created equal. It’s likely you’ll have to find a base kit and add to it. Here are some of the absolutes that go into a good pet first aid kit:

  • Absorbent gauze and tape
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Blunt end scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Cotton swabs
  • Sterile bandages
  • Ice pack
  • Latex gloves
  • Saline solution
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Eye dropper/syringe
  • Blanket
  • Towels
  • Rectal thermometer
  • Soft muzzle
  • Magnifying glass
  • Flashlight

Keep this kit near your pet’s carrier, along with an extra leash or harness. Also keep their medical records and medication list handy. Contact numbers for nearby emergency clinics are helpful, as well. Lastly, downloading the Pet First Aid app provided by the American Red Cross is a huge help in understanding how to respond to various illnesses or injuries.

If you want to build your own pet first aid kit, begin with a plastic bin or large lunch box (or tackle box). Store your pet first aid kit in a part of your home that’s easily accessible, and keep a smaller one in your car.

At-Home Care vs. an Emergency

While it’s great to have a pet emergency plan and a pet first aid kit at the ready, it’s equally important to know the difference between what can be treated at home and what requires a trip to the veterinary emergency hospital.

We first recommend that you call us and explain the situation. We can help you determine whether something can be dealt with at home or if your pet needs to be examined. Typically, the following situations can be treated at home with basic first aid:

  • Minor scrape, cut, or burn
  • Slight sprain or muscle ache
  • Mild vomiting or diarrhea
  • Injury that heals with rest (slight overexertion of joints, etc.)

The following should be considered a critical or emergency situation:

  • Eye injury
  • Deep wounds
  • Bleeding from the nose, ears, or anus
  • Trauma (hit by a car, animal bite, etc.)
  • Fracture
  • Problems with birth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Repetitive vomiting/diarrhea
  • Elimination problems
  • Ingestion of a possibly poisonous substance (call the ASPCA Pet Poison Hotline 888-426-4435)

Knowing pet first aid is a vital component of responsible pet ownership. Please give us a call for additional information about pet emergency situations or if you think something is off with your best friend.