Since I went through the rigmarole of getting a degree in public health, it may not be surprising that I am sort of an emergency preparedness fanatic. So I have read at least a dozen reputable websites’ recommendations for first aid kits for pets – which were great resources, but in practice, perhaps a little over-zealous. So here is an unpremeditated look into my pet first aid kit:
- Rolled gauze/gauze pads: always a staple for broken toe nails and minor scratches and scrapes.
- Sports tape: not excessively useful on account of its tendency to pull out fur, but good for securing gauze in a pinch.
- Quadritop ointment: I was got this from a vet when Luna had an inflamed/impacted anal gland to alleviate her massive skin irritation due to the inflamed anal gland. I didn’t use the entire tube after that incident so I kept it – which is turned out to be rather useful, as she’s had similar two additional times.
- Thermometer: pretty self-explanatory!
- Bismuth subsalicylate tablets and chewable tabs: These are great for upset dog tummies!* Have you ever tried to deliver 30ml of Pepto to an unwell dog? I don’t recommend it. Tablets and chewable tabs are far easier to administer!
- Providone-iodine solution: great for cleansing minor wounds to prevent infection, and the only recommended cleaning agent I found for cat chin acne. Poor Sophie!
- Alcohol swabs: I have never actually used these. They’re probably expired and should be thrown away.
- Rubber gloves: Did I mention the anal glad-related skin irritation? You’re gonna want to wear gloves to apply that sort of thing.
Other items that I usually have in or around my pet’s first aid kit include:
- Antibacterial gel: again, for preventing infection in minor wounds
- Old t-shirt: a great option to keep minor injuries on the torso clean and prevent the doggo from irritating the wound.
- Comfy Cone: if you have spent any amount of time with a dog in one of those plastic Elizabethan cones that vets give you after surgery, the back of your legs will thank you for investing in a Comfy Cone. I got this initially for Luna following the surgery to repair the congenital defects in her urogenital track and have since gotten one for every pet in our home. It’s so handy to be able to prevent a pet from worrying an injury, even if it’s just for the car trip to the vet.
- Muzzle: even a dog who isn’t reactive and defensive can become so in the event of an injury or illness. Teaching your dog to tolerate a well-fitted muzzle can save you, your dog, and any veterinary professionals caring for you dog a lot of stress!
- Diphenhydramine*: Allie is a very smart dog by many criteria. Her ability to recognize that she is allergic to bee stings and should not try to eat bees, however, is lacking. Diphenhydramine, or brand-name Benadryl, can be given to dogs for the same histamine-blocking action that humans use it for!
- Socks/booties: Oh, if I had a nickel for every toenail break and paw pad cut that Luna has sustained in her life thus far…I’d probably be able to buy her a new pair of boots!
- Hydrogen peroxide*: over my 5+ years owning a lab, I have gotten very comfortable with the concept of making my dog throw up. Hydrogen peroxide is a sure way to induce vomiting if a dog has eaten something she shouldn’t have – given the substance isn’t caustic or otherwise requiring veterinary attention.
- Needless syringe: for administering the hydrogen peroxide and other liquid medications
- Stretchy self-adhering bandage: these non-sticky bandages are super useful for securing gauze in relatively immobile areas on a pet. I even found some veterinary-purpose wrap that was imbued with nasty tasting stuff to discourage the pet from messing with the bandage…sadly, this did not deter Luna.
*PLEASE DO NOT SUBSTITUTE THE INTERNET FOR VETERINARY ATTENTION.
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