Creating a First Aid Kit for Pets

DIY pet first aid kit for dogs and cats
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In follow on to our free emergency pet information templates, here is a peak at our home first aid kit. We’re sharing the details on creating a pet-friendly home first aid kit for our dogs and cat, with handy tips, links, and resources for assembling your own pet first aid kit.

Customising the Contents for a Pet First Aid Kit

Planning Your Pet First Aid Kit

Contents for a pet first aid kit can be customised to suit your pet, purpose, and probable usage. Items to stock in your pet first aid kit depend on: 

  • Type of pet(s)
  • Special medical issues
  • Local area health risks
  • Purpose of the kit

What you pack for a hike would be different from a home first-aid kit, which might be different again from an emergency or evacuation “go bag” kit for your vehicle. There may be individual health issues for your pet that you cater for in your kit, such as known allergies. There may also be local risks such as snake bites or ticks. 

Separate vs. Shared First Aid Kits

Personally, I feel that there is a lot of overlap between pet first aid kits and our human first aid kits. Most items are common-use and some are lifed. It seems more efficient (for our situation at least) to have a few extras in the home kit and with the vehicle kits instead of complete stand alone pet first aid kits. 

Stocking a Pet-Friendly First Aid Kit

The AVMA has a good comprehensive list of emergency pet first aid supplies. Their printable pet first aid brochure (I keep a copy in my own kit) also includes a list. The ASPCA also has a printable pet first aid kit list. Many of these items are common to a standard first aid kit, but there are some variations and additions for pets. If you don’t already have a stocked personal / family first aid kit, check out the Red Cross, St. John, or your local equivalent for advice.

The Contents of Our Pet-Friendly First Aid Kit

Extra Items Added to Our Shared First Aid Kit for Pets

A few extra items were added to our kit to better cater for our pets (currently two dogs and a cat). These include a few new shared supplies and a few pet-specific items:

Pet Documents and Records:

Pet-Specific Equipment and Tools:

  • Flexible-tipped thermometer (not sharing… hehe…). If possible, get a thermometer that has a high / fever rating to ensure a suitable range for check pet temperatures.
  • Pet nail clippers. 
  • Comb and disposable razor in case fur needs to be carefully removed for care.
  • Over the years, we’ve also accumulated two different sizes of the cone of shame and a donut of despair.  There is also an emergency pet mobility sling support. Although we don’t keep these in our kit, they’re on hand nearby in the closest for use if needed. 

Pet-Specific Medical Supplies:

  • Self-adherent cohesive bandages (sticks to self, not to fur). You can get them in the standard first-aid supply section of most department stores, pharmacies, and pet shops. Also referred to as vet tape, sports wrap, or other similar names but it’s all the same sort of thing: a stretchy bandage wrap material that only sticks to itself, not skin, fur, hair, etc. 
  • Peroxide. This may be a staple for some household first aid kits, but it’s not as common here as it was when I lived overseas. Peroxide can be used at the direction of a vet if induced vomiting is needed and the pet can’t safely be brought in to the vet in time. Only on the direction of the vet!
  • Plain eye drops (or eye wash). 
  • Styptic powder. Very handy for assisting with clotting, if required. 
  • Bitter wound guard. Deters licking, nibbling, or biting during healing. We would normally have some of this on hand in case needed, but now it lives with the rest of our pet medical supplies.
  • Ear wash. We would normally have some of this on hand in case needed, but now it lives with the rest of our pet medical supplies.

Other General Use Additions:

  • Activated charcoal.
  • Washcloth. Preferably a soft but old and expendable washcloth.
  • Water-only baby wipes.
  • Poo bags. I keep a roll in the kit, just so that there is a bag available for any potential messes.
  • Tongue depressors (Popsicle sticks).
  • Ear plugs. 
  • Eyedropper.
  • Non-needle measuring syringes. Useful for administering measured quantities or as flushing devices. In the years since the kit was first created, I’ve added a few of these in different sizes.
  • Finger cots. These were also a more recent addition to our first aid kit. They’re one fingertip mini gloves. Was less waste than a full glove. Handy if rubbing in a cream or ointment that should be limited contact other than the patient.
  • Anti-microbial soap. Another more recent addition was a mild pet safe anti-microbial soap for wound or rash cleaning. Ask your vet for product recommendations or a buy a small / decanted bottle, if available. We have a bottle of microshield.

Other pet-friendly first aid kit items such as thermals, gauze, elastics, tapes, scissors, tweezers,  disinfectants, gloves, etc. were already part of the normal general use supplies in our existing kit. No need to double up on cost, space, or potential expiry.

Items in a home first aid kit for pets

Special Additions for Pet Medical Issues

Our dogs occasionally suffer from sensitive skin due to certain plants in our area, so we also have a tube of a prescription topical cream from the vet at the ready, just in case.  The eye drops are a general use item, but very handy for environmental irritants or general sore eyes. Our vet recommended them a while back that we keep some on hand, and we have been grateful for it ever since.

Notable Omissions

You may notice that there are no collars or leads, which are a staple on most pet first aid kit lists. We keep those near the door so they are easy to grab on the way out, if needed. Plus, we have extras in a small emergency go-bag (see below), which we keep ready to roll in the trunk of the car. 

DIY Home First Aid Kit Storage

Our home kit is a big red box with a smaller red box inside for pet extras, and I DIYed a few simple stickers using free Pixabay graphics for the labels to pretty things up.  I have a copy of our Pet Emergency Information Sheets and a small pet first aid booklet tucked under the lid.  I have a copy of these essential information sheets on my mobile phone, and backed up remotely as well.

DIY storage box for family and pet first aid supplies

DIY Vehicle Pet Emergency Supply Bag

For the car, we also have a bag with towels, blankets, collapsible drinking bowl, extra collars, leashes, and poo bags.  It hangs out in the trunk in case it’s needed. It’s always best to be prepared. Although we hope it’s more often used for impromptu picnics, dry-offs from unplanned swimming expeditions, and rainstorms than real emergencies! 

Creating and stocking a first aid kit for pets

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