April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month and the perfect time for us to help you put together a First Aid kit for your pet. When your pet suffers an injury, having the supplies you need on-hand can significantly impact your pet’s healing and recovery time. While a pet first aid kit will provide the first line of defense when an injury occurs, a visit to your veterinary should not be ruled out.
We keep an easily accessible, fully stocked Pet First Aid Kit at each of our Holiday Barn Pet Resort locations in Richmond and Glen Allen, VA. At first glance, it would appear to be a human first aid kit as so many of the items needed for a pet first aid kit are found in your own medicine cabinet.
Basic Pet First-aid A Supplies That You Likely Already Have
Let’s take a look at what you currently have in your medicine cabinet that can be shared with your pets as a part of their First Aid kit:
- 1) Q-tips
- 2) Clotting (styptic) powder
- 3) Tweezers
- 4) Cotton balls
- 5) Bandages and gauze (with scissors)
- 6) Cold pack
- 7) Adhesive tape
- 8) Pen light
- 9) Disposable gloves
- 10) Vaseline, or other type of lubricant
- 11) Mineral oil
- 12) Hemostats or needle nose pliers
- 13) Non-stick pads or square gauze
- 14) Blankets
- 15) Towels
Other Useful Pet First-aid Items
The following “medicine cabinet” first aid items should also be a part of your Pet’s First Aid kit. Most items are typically safe for your pet, but you should ask your veterinary for dosage, application, and use on your particular pet:
- 1) Antibiotic Cream kills bacteria on the skin, and works the same on both dogs and cats. Just make sure you rub it into the skin well, so it’s not removed by licking.
- 2) Betadine is a wound cleaning solution that is generally safe for use on dogs and cats.
- 3) Benadryl is safe for both dogs and cats and can be used for allergic reactions or even a mild sedative.
- 4) Alcohol and/or alcohol prep pads can cause skin irritation or dryness if used in excess. Also, cats (and some dogs) may suffer respiratory tract irritation when alcohol is inhaled. On the other-hand, alcohol kills bacteria, promotes drying (when needed), and maintains sterility.
- 5) Hydrogen peroxide can be used in both dogs and cats to induce vomiting. It is not recommended as a wound cleaner as it can destroy “good” bacteria needed for healing.
- 6) Aspirin. It’s so tempting to want to give your dog something to ease the pain and aspirin can be used safely, however, we highly recommend leaving the dosing to your vet. Never give a cat aspirin.
- 7) Eye wash. Human eye wash, generally a saline formula, can be used to flush out irritants, but should never be used as a “treatment” for eye/ear infections.
- 8) Cortisone cream is safe for use on dogs and cats to temporarily relieve rashes and allergic skin reactions.
- 9) Antiseptic wipes and sprays.
- Remember to always contact your Veterinary before using any of the items in the above section -
Items in Your Medicine Cabinet that You Should Never Use on Your Pet:
- 1) NSAIDS/Pain relievers. Brand names: Advil, Motrin, Aleve
- 2) Tylenol
- 3) Human muscle relaxers
- 4) Antidiarrheal medicines, i.e., Imodium, Kaopectate, and Pepto-Bismol. Although Pepto-Bismol has been used safely and effectively for dogs, there are too many possible adverse interactions when other symptoms, illnesses, medicines and allergies exist. NEVER give a cat Pepto-Bismol.
- 5) Any and all human prescription drugs.
Items specifically for your pet that should be included in your Pet First Aid kit:
- 1) Dog first Aid book
- 2) Muzzles may be needed even for your normally sweet, mild-mannered pet.
- 3) Tick remover
- 4) Nylon slip lead
- 5) Elizabethan collar or Cone
- 6) Rectal thermometer
- 7) Dog and/or cat Antidiarrheal medicine
- 8) Pet carrier
- 9) List of emergency numbers: Your Vet, Poison Control Center, Veterinary Emergency Clinic. (The ASPCA Poison Control Center number is 1-888-426-4435)
Other helpful pet first-aid tips:
- 1) Pedialyte (or other hydrating liquid) is helpful if your dog or cat has lost a lot of fluid due to vomiting or diarrhea.
- 2) Karo syrup (or other high sugar source) may be needed to quickly raise a pet’s blood sugar level, particularly if you have a diabetic pet, or a very small, active dog, as their blood sugar can drop unexpectedly.
- 3) First Aid Container. Portability is a good idea, especially if an injury to your pet takes place outside of the home or while traveling. Something sturdy and waterproof is recommended.
- 4) Syringe, no needles, to dispense medicines.
- 5) Skunk Shampoo
- 5) A copy of your pet’s current medical history just in case you need to make a trip to the nearest clinic.
We hope that you never have to use your pet first aid kit, but it’s a good feeling to know you are prepared to care for your pet during an emergency, a natural disaster, or simply when you are away from home and your vet is not available.
Have you ever had an emergency when a Pet First Aid Kit came in handy? We’d love to hear from you!