Creating your Own Pet First Aid Kit

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Filed in Cats, Dogs, Safety

You want to be prepared in case of a pet emergency, but what things do you need to be ready for an emergency?

Seeing your pet in pain or in distress of some kind is a difficult thing to handle. By being prepared for anything, you can help your pet in a timely and accurate fashion. Realize that you should ALWAYS check with a Vet before you begin any course of treatment for your pet. Here are a few items that should be kept in a handy place and in a waterproof container in case you should ever need them in a hurry.

  • A towel or blanket. Depending on the size of the pet, this can be used to combat shock and, more importantly to help you transport your pet to the Vet's office or emergency clinic.
  • A muzzle. To protect you and any strangers who might be helping you as you transport the dog, a muzzle is a must have. The Vet on call at an emergency clinic is probably a stranger to your pet, and although they will have plenty of muzzles on hand, why not beat them to the punch and come prepared? A muzzle should keep a dog or cat from biting, but should not interfere with breathing or regurgitation.
  • Gauze pads. These make a great all-purpose addition to your pet first aid box. They are ideal for putting pressure on a bleeding wound. Clean washcloths will also work in a pinch.
  • Common medications. A few general first aid products like buffered aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, Neosporin, chewable pepto-bismal, hydrogen peroxide, etc. are very good things to have on hand. You should never administer any of these possibly toxic products without a Vet's advice on dosages as it is easy to overdose/poison your dog. Just in case, in your emergency phone call to your Vet, she tells your to give your pet some common remedy, then at least you have some on hand.
  • CPR directions. You may want to laminate a copy of the directions for animal CPR and slip those into your first aid kit, just in case you should ever need them. Your Vet should be able to give you a copy. If not check out American Red Cross.
  • A pen light. This might come in handy to check your pet's pupils and gums. Your Vet may need this information over the phone to help make a diagnosis. Press on your pet's gums. Do they turn pink right away again or are they pale? Are his pupils dilated (opened wide) or constricted? Toss a spare battery in your kit too, just in case you need it.
  • A Vet information card. A laminated card with your Vet's regular hours and phone numbers, the national animal poison control center number and the numbers of local emergency clinics (and their hours) can come in very handy. Those numbers should be by the phone anyway, but it's good to have a back up in your kit.
  • Health records. If you have to take your pet to an emergency clinic, they will not know his history. Having this information available will come in very handy. Also, remember to take these records with you when traveling with your dog or cat . It could save some time.
  • Pet medications. Similarly, if your pet is on any medications, keep an extra bottle with three days worth of medication in your kit. If your area of the country is prone to evacuations due to storms, flooding, etc, this will keep you from running out of medication. Remember to keep your first aid kits (human and animal) together and in a safe place so that they are there when you need them.
  • A bottle of clean drinking water. Your Vet may ask you to clean a wound, flush out the eyes or to try to get your pet to drink something. Having water in your kit, preferably in a squirt bottle since an animal who is laying down can't usually drink effectively, will save you from having to leave your hurt pet to go get water.
  • Splint materials. Depending on the size of your pet, tongue depressors might make great splint material. If you've got a Great Dane, then you may need two-by-fours! Either way, some kind of splint materials can really come in handy. Consult with your Vet on how to splint your pet before you have to.
  • A bandage. Bandage tape and/or a medical "cling" wrap can both come in handy when trying to apply even pressure to a wound.
     

With these items stored together in a safe, dry place, you are well on your way to helping your pet if any emergency does come up.

Remember though that the best way to treat accidents is by preventing them from happening in the first place. Keep your animal leashed or contained. Keep harmful products out of his reach. And finally, provide your pet with an enriched environment so that he is less likely to go looking for fun elsewhere.

Deirdre Kelly is freelance writer and dog owner who lives in Florida.

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