Dog First Aid Kit: What to Include

As much as we try our very best to keep our furry friends safe, sometimes accidents do happen. Having a dog first aid kit to hand can make a big difference if your pup does get hurt. Dog first aid kits are a particularly good idea if you’re going on holiday or travelling away from home to somewhere you and your dog don’t know as well. New environments may pose more dangers, and if you’re somewhere remote, a dog first aid kit can help you to keep your pup comfortable until they can see a vet.

This blog will explain how to make a dog first aid kit, and go through all the things you need to include in one. As well as the essentials, we’ll also offer some advice on a few extra items that are good to have in your dog first aid kit to help you deal with every eventuality.

How to Make a Dog First Aid Kit

You’ll need to find a container that will fit all your dog first aid items – this could be a large plastic tupperware or box for example. Then carefully add your essential items along with any extras, which are all detailed below.

Regularly check the expiry dates of any wound cleaners or other medical products you have in your dog first aid kit and replace them as necessary.

Your dog first aid kit can then be kept somewhere safe in the house for when you’re at home, or easily packed up in the car with you if you’re going away with your dog.

Dog First Aid Kit Essentials

Your dog first aid kit should include the following essential items:

Tick Twister

You never know when a dreaded tick might strike. Removing ticks quickly and in the right way is really important, as they can pass on nasty diseases to our pets. Having a tick twister in your dog first aid kit will allow you to safely remove any ticks you find as soon as you spot them.

Towel

It may not be obvious as to why you should keep a towel in your dog first aid kit, but they can actually come in incredibly handy for several reasons.

First of all, if a dog is suffering from heatstroke, having a towel to hand that you can dampen with cool water will provide a quick cooling mat for them to sit on and help lower their body temperature. Find more information on how to administer first aid to a dog with heatstroke here.

Secondly, an injured dog that is in pain is likely to bite people that come near. A towel can be used to restrain them comfortably, and protect you from snapping jaws while you help attend to a wound or transport them.

Towels can also be used to stop bleeding if your dog is badly cut.

Tweezers

A pair of tweezers might come in handy if your dog gets something sharp stuck in their paw for example. If anything gets stuck in their ears or eyes however, like a grass seed, it’s best to see a vet as soon as possible rather than trying to remove it yourself.

Wound Cleaner

If your dog is cut or sustains a wound, it’s important to clean it quickly to prevent it from getting infected. Include an antibacterial wound flush such as TrizChlor or a wound cleaning spray like Stericlens in your dog first aid kit.

Cotton Wool Pads

Cotton wool pads can be used to apply a wound cleaning solution. Sprays like Stericlens can be applied directly without cotton wool, which can be useful as it avoids the need to touch the wound.

Wound Dressing

If your dog has an open wound, once you’ve cleaned it, you may need to dress it. Keep some gauze pads or veterinary gamgee dressing in your dog first aid kit. However, only dress the wound if you know how, otherwise it’s best to let a qualified vet do it.

Bandages

Bandages can be used to stop bleeding by pressing them against the wound. Always check if there is anything stuck in the wound before doing this, and avoid pressing directly on it if there is, but don’t try to take it out.

Additionally, if you have been able to dress the wound, the final stage of tending to a wound involves wrapping a bandage around it.

Disposable Gloves

It’s best to wear sterile surgical gloves when attending to wounds to help prevent infection.

Scissors

You may need some scissors to cut the bandages or dressing to size.

Your Dog’s Medical Information

Also in your dog first aid kit should be any medical information about your dog including health records, vaccination history, insurance documents and your vet’s number. It’s always a good idea to look up the number of the nearest local emergency vet practice too before you go on holiday with your dog.

Extra Items to Include in Your Dog First Aid Kit

While the above list contains the bare minimum of what you should include in your dog first aid kit, there are a few other items that can prove very useful in certain situations. You might choose to include a few of the items below depending on where you’re going and what you’re doing on holiday. Or, if you have space, it’s never a bad idea to keep a few of these items in your car so that they are always handy wherever you go.

High-vis Jacket or Safety Light

These can be really handy if you happen to break down in your car. If you’re stopped on a busy road and need to let your dog out for a wee or because the car is too hot for them, making sure they are easily visible will help to prevent any accidents. A high-vis dog coat or safety light are especially important at night when it’s dark.

Skin Care Spray

If your pup is prone to allergies, a soothing skin care spray can help to alleviate itching on-the-go. When you’re on holiday, you might not have easy access to somewhere to bathe your dog for a few days, which might be tricky if you usually apply a special shampoo to help your dog’s skin. This Beaphar spray is great for use between washes, and can also soothe insect bites.

Calming Medication

Many dogs suffer from anxiety and it’s not uncommon for holidays to trigger stress. Changes to routine, long car journeys and unfamiliar environments can all cause anxiety, so having some calming medication such as Anxitane Tablets or Zylkene Chews to hand can help to make your dog feel better if faced with a situation they find stressful.

Digestive Support

In the same way that changes in environment and routine can trigger anxiety in dogs, so too can they trigger tummy trouble. Diarrhoea is common in dogs, and being away from home is a possible trigger. If your pet suffers from it while on holiday, you can help calm their tummy with Logic Firm Oral Paste or Beaphar IntestoPro PreBiotic Stool Firming Paste.

Wrapping Up

As well as being prepared for emergency situations, it’s also important to do what you can to avoid them in the first place. Using suncream in hot weather, especially on white or light-coated dogs, will help to prevent skin injuries from sunburn, and trying to keep your dog’s food and meal times the same as normal while on holiday can help to prevent tummy trouble. Find more top tips about going on holiday with your dog here.

Animed Veterinary Nurse, Beth Walker
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