Emergencies are impossible to predict, but you can assemble a pet first aid kit to ensure that you are prepared in case your pet becomes injured. Our team at Somerset Animal Hospital has put together a list of 12 items that every devoted owner should have in their pet’s first aid kit. 

#1: Emergency veterinary contact card

You should have a card with Somerset Animal Hospital’s contact information, the number for a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic, and the number for animal poison control. If you are traveling out of town, find a local veterinarian and keep their contact information in your kit. Ask our team for advice if you need to find an out-of-town veterinarian you trust.

#2: Disposable gloves for handling pets

Human hands are covered in bacteria, and you may not have access to soap and water when your pet becomes injured. If your pet has an open wound or a foreign object in their eye, put on a pair of disposable gloves to prevent bacteria spreading to these sensitive areas. You can also tape a glove around a pet’s injured paw to help protect a wound from contamination.

#3: Water to clean pet wounds

When traveling, you should take bottled water to clean your pet’s wound. Do not pour hydrogen peroxide into your pet’s wound, as this can cause tissue damage and may delay healing. Use clean water to lavage the wound and remove all visible debris.

#4: Antiseptic wipes can help with pet toxins

Wipes can be used to clean your hands before donning disposable gloves, and also to clean dirt and blood from around the wound. Do not use an antiseptic wipe to scrub the wound because this can cause tissue damage. Antiseptic wipes are especially useful if your pet gets into something poisonous. You can wipe their mouth and paws to remove as much of the toxic substance as possible. 

#5: Bandages and adhesive tape to bind pet wounds

Once you have thoroughly cleaned the wound, wrap the affected area using a non-adherent bandage and secure the wrap with adhesive tape. You should be able to fit your finger between the bandage and your pet’s skin. If the bandage is too tight, especially on a limb, you can compromise the circulation. Bandage material can also be used as a makeshift muzzle if your pet becomes aggressive because they are in pain.

#6: Blunt-tip scissors are best around pets

A pair of safety scissors can serve in many ways. You can use them to remove the hair around a wound to help the cleaning process. You will need them to cut bandage material to the appropriate length. Never use regular scissors around your pet, because pets tend to be wiggly, and you may accidentally nick them when attempting to cut away hair or remove a bandage.

#7: Tweezers to remove foreign objects in pets

When your pet roams, they may get an item such as a piece of glass or a thorn lodged in their skin. A pair of tweezers makes removing the foreign object much easier than attempting to grasp the item with your fingers. Tweezers can also be used to remove ticks embedded in your pet’s skin. Never use tweezers around your pet’s eyes, since the sharp ends could accidentally damage their sensitive cornea.

#8: Sterile eye solution for pet eye injuries

If your pet gets a chemical substance or a foreign object in their eye, use a sterile eye solution to lavage the eye. If your pet continues to squint and have tearing despite a thorough rinsing, take them to your veterinarian. Eye injuries can be serious and should be treated promptly.

#9: Thermometer to take pets’ temperatures

If your pet seems lethargic, or they appear to be suffering from heat exhaustion, you should have a thermometer available to check their temperature. Ensure that the thermometer reads up to 105 degrees. A dog’s regular temperature ranges from 101 to 102.5 degrees. You must insert the thermometer in your pet’s anus to obtain an accurate reading. Place a lubricant such as petroleum jelly on the end to make insertion more comfortable.

#10: Pet medications

If your pet takes a prescription medication, keep a week’s supply in your kit. Styptic powder is useful to stop small bleeds such as your pet tearing off a nail. Hydrogen peroxide can induce vomiting if your pet ingests something poisonous, but never give your pet hydrogen peroxide without first contacting one of our Somerset Animal Hospital veterinarians, or the ASPCA animal poison control. Monitor the expiration dates on all medications to ensure they are still viable.

#11: Sterile syringe for pet injections

Syringes are useful for administering injectable medications to your pet. You can also remove the needle and use the syringe to administer oral medications. You can fill larger syringes with clean water to help lavage wounds. 

#12: Last but not least—Plenty of pet treats

If your pet is injured and in pain, you should have a generous treat supply on hand. They will likely be more cooperative if bribed, and should feel more calm after receiving their favorite tid bit.

Keep a pet first aid kit in your home and one in your car at all times. Once you have assembled your pet first aid kit, we hope you will not need to use the contents any time soon. However, remember that pet first aid is not a substitute for appropriate veterinary care, so do not hesitate to contact our Somerset Animal Hospital team after you have provided first aid.