Must-Have Items in your Furry First-Aid Kit
Whether you’re taking your pup on a travel adventure, leaving your pet with a sitter, or you just want to be prepared for life’s challenges, having a pet first-aid kit can be a lifesaver.
Different situations call for different supplies. Let’s start with the basics for every pet.
- Contact information for the closest 24-hour emergency veterinary hospitals. This is especially important if you travel — you may not have cell phone reception and you may be unfamiliar with the area. If you’re traveling long distance, print maps/directions to 24-hour emergency hospitals along your route to avoid any headaches.
- ASPCA Poison Control contact information: (888) 426-4435. There is a fee for this service, but their experts can advise you if veterinary care is needed and what can be done at home for treatment.
- Over the counter Benadryl cream. If your pet is a little itchy, this may help. Be sure to apply to clean dry skin (clean the skin with a soft cloth and water if needed but avoid soap or detergents). If your pet is having moderate to severe allergy issues (vomiting, diarrhea, hives, skin swelling, difficulty breathing, weakness), they should be seen by the nearest veterinarian immediately.
- Unscented baby wipes or soft cloths and water. These are great for cleaning minor wounds and messes. Scents and other chemicals can be irritating or can cause allergy issues.
- Animal antimicrobial wound spray. Personally, Dr. Dahlquist recommends Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Wound & Skin Care — it’s safe if licked and it’s gentle on skin but works well. Other products may be toxic to pets, are unsafe if licked, or can cause serious tissue damage. Clean the area well, apply to minor cuts/scrapes, seek veterinary care if the wound is significant, and never apply these to a pet’s eyes or other orifices.
- A properly sized E-collar. Licking, scratching and biting can turn a minor injury into a major problem. Always keep an e-collar on hand, and if your pet is bothering an area, place one on until you can see your veterinarian. E-collars can also work to reduce motion sickness during car rides. Stop by Exceptional Pets today with your furry friend to have our retail associates help you find the perfect one.
- An extra leash. It’s a good idea to have an extra on hand in case one breaks or is lost deep in the wilderness.
- Blankets or towels. These can provide comfort if your pet gets hurt, they can be used to apply pressure to bleeding wounds on your way to a veterinarian, or they can be used to scoop up smaller pets quickly. Additionally, if your pet is scared, a blanket that smells like home can be comforting.
- Disposable gloves. Some infections can be transmitted between humans and animals. Protect yourself and your pet by wearing gloves when handling waste or any wounds.
- Sterile gauze and non-stick bandaging. If you need to use these, we recommend calling your vet right away. These should only be used temporarily during an emergency until you can see your nearest veterinarian. Apply these to open wounds to keep them clean or use them as a pressure bandage for actively bleeding wounds.
- A properly sized muzzle. Even the kindest of animals can bite when they’re scared or in pain. Having one on hand can prevent further injuries to yourself and your pet. Don’t forget to remove it as soon as possible to avoid breathing and other issues.
Are you taking your dog on a hike or camping? Be sure to bring the following.
- A simple comb. These work well to remove cholla bulbs from pets. The remaining spines will need to be removed by your veterinarian.
- Fine point tweezers. Use these to remove ticks, thorns and foxtails from your pet’s fur. If you see ticks, be sure to discuss testing for Tick Fever with your veterinarian when you get back from your trip.
- Photos of your pet. In case your pet gets lost, these may help you find them more quickly. It can be really helpful to keep a folder on your phone AND a physical copy, should your battery die.
- Plenty of water and pet bowls. Animals get dehydrated just like humans, so it is important to keep your pet hydrated and cool by offering them water frequently and taking plenty of breaks in the shade.
Are you leaving your pet with a sitter? Set your sitter up for success with the following:
- A full print out of your pet’s medical history. In the worst-case scenario, your sitter will be able to give this to the emergency veterinary hospital. Their history can be valuable information in an emergency.
- List of current medications, including the dose and frequency.
- List of all medical problems and allergies.
- Make sure your home or your pet’s overnight bag is stocked with extra medications and extra food, particularly if it’s a prescription diet.
- Contact information for your regular veterinarian, as well as the nearest 24-hour emergency veterinarian. Before your trip, call your primary veterinarian and let them know the name of your pet sitter so we can discuss your pet’s medical history with them.
- Your contact information (the more the merrier) and dates/locations of travel destinations.
- Authorization to Treat Form. Before your trip, be sure to check with your veterinarian what documents they may need if your pet sitter needs to bring your pet to the veterinarian.
When it comes to our four-legged family members, it is always best to be prepared. For recommendations for your specific pet or a specific trip you would like to take with them, schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians. We would be happy to make recommendations for your pet and their first aid kit needs!
Article by By Dr. Danica Dahlquist, DVM and Dr. Valerie Moser, DVM.