First Aid Kit for Dogs

The doctors at North Kenilworth Veterinary Care are often asked what first-aid items should be kept around the house or taken on trips. Such a kit can be simple, or more fully supplied, depending on your needs and where you might travel with your pet. Here is a list of the most basic first-aid items that we feel all pet owners should keep on hand.

  1. Lightweight leash or “slip-leash.” Good for backup leash, emergency muzzle, or any time you need a few extra feet of cord.
  2. Muzzle. Nylon muzzles can be found at most pet stores. You should always place a muzzle on your dog when cleaning wounds, pulling cactus spines, or doing any other painful procedure. This is for your protection. The last thing you need is another emergency to complicate the situation.
  3. Needle Nose Pliers. This is for pulling out cactus spines or other thorns. A stout set of hemostats is a good alternative.
  4. Lightweight Blanket. A blanket insulates from cold or hot ground, and can also be used as a hammock-like sling to carry an injured dog.
  5. Bandage Material. You should have a pile of gauze squares, roll gauze, Telfa (non-stick) pads, Vetwrap or Coban wrap (available at drugstores or pet stores), white tape, Ace bandage, Q-tips, cotton balls.Use the gauze squares for cleaning wounds and for a dressing under the bandage or tape. Remember to wrap snuggly but not tightly. Also bring bandage scissors for cutting or removing tape.
  6. Antibacterial Soap. For cleaning open wounds, scratches and abrasions, and your own hands before and after touching your dog’s wounds.
  7. Neosporin (Triple Antibiotic Ointment). Can be applied in a thin coat on any open wound.
  8. Hydrocortisone Cream. Apply to red welts or itchy areas twice a day.
  9. Artificial Tears. Can be purchased at any drug store. Use to irrigate eyes that are red, itchy, or contain dirt or other foreign material. You may use as much as you need and repeat as often as needed.
  10. Rubbing Alcohol. You can carry a small bottle or a baggie full of alcohol wipes. Alcohol is a great antiseptic, and will cut through the oils of greasy hair.
  11. Benadryl. For allergic reactions to bug bites, stings or plant and pollen allergy. Benadryl comes in 25mg tablets or capsules, and the dose is one (1) mg per pound of body weight every eight (8) hours. So a 50-pound dog would take two (2) capsules every eight (8) hours. A 15-pound dog would take about half a tablet every eight (8) hours.
  12. Ice Packs. Instant cold packs can be purchased at drug stores. For wounds or swellings, the pack can be placed on the affected area. For bloody noses, the ice pack can be placed over the bridge of the nose as an aid to decrease bleeding.
  13. Thermometer. A dog’s normal resting body temperature range (rectal temperature) is 100.5 to 102.5 degrees. Any temperature over 104 degrees is of concern. An overheated dog with a temperature of 106 degrees or higher is in serious trouble and needs to be cooled down immediately!
  14. Ziplock Bags. For keeping the bug or plant material that caused a problem for your dog. Bring it back to your veterinarian for identification.
  15. Phone Numbers. Your veterinarian’s number, the veterinary emergency clinic number, and the closest local veterinarian’s number.