What to Put in a Dog First Aid Kit

Dog first aid kit, Pet first aid, First aid kit for pets

Every pet parent hopes they’ll never have to use it — but if you assemble a well-stocked dog first aid kit, you can be prepared for nearly any contingency and take good care of your pup on the day they need you most. Remember, the effort you invest now to put together a dog first aid kit may save your best pal’s life later!

Please bear in mind that while the following suggestions are good tips to follow, this blog is no substitute for genuine medical advice. Always confer with your trusted veterinarian if you have questions about pet first aid or what to do for your dog in any given scenario.

Canine-Specific Supplies

  • Your Dog’s VIP (Very Important Paperwork):

    • Pet First Aid Kit Checklist

    • Canine First Aid Manual

    • Medical and Vaccination Records

    • Important Phone Numbers and Addresses

    • Microchip and Registration Information

  • Food and Treats

  • Comfort Item

  • Travel Bowl and Bottled Water

  • Soft Muzzle

  • Extra Leash and Collar

  • Elizabethan Collar

  • Poop Bags

Your pup’s paperwork should always include a Pet First Aid Kit Checklist (such as this post!) and a Canine First Aid Manual, which is available from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Your dog’s medical and vaccination records, as well as their microchip number and county registration information, should be included and up to date. You’ll also want a record of important phone numbers and addresses, such as your veterinarian, local animal hospitals, pet emergency clinics, and any of your dog’s trusted caregivers, sitters or walkers.

In addition to all the lifesaving supplies, don’t forget about what would help your dog emotionally get through a ruff time! Your dog first aid kit should always include one of your dog’s old toys, plushies or blankies to comfort your best pal. Pack a stash of your dog’s freeze-dried food and treats as well. You never know when you’ll need them, and an unopened bag of Nature’s Advantage lasts for over a year in a cool, dry place.

It’s good practice to also pack a breathable muzzle. Even the calmest and most mild-mannered dog may bite if hurting and scared; a soft and comfortable muzzle may be a necessary precaution for everyone’s safety, including your pet’s. Last but not least, consider including a foldable Elizabethan collar — also known as “The Cone of Shame” — to prevent your dog from undoing all your good work as soon as you’ve finished wrapping a wound!

Wound Treatment Supplies

  • Gauze Bandage Rolls

  • Non-Stick Bandages

  • Self-Adherent Wrap Tape

  • No-Chew Tape or Bandages

  • Cotton “Undercast” Padding Roll

  • Splints

  • Cotton Balls

  • Cotton-Tipped Swabs

Of course, the primary components of any first aid kit are the supplies for treating a potential wound! Bandages, bandage rolls and wrap tape are all critical items for your dog first aid kit. Cotton padding helps make a cast or wrapping more comfortable and secure, while splints provide needed stability.

Note that unlike in a human first aid kit, your dog first aid kit should also include a bitter-tasting tape that discourages your (possibly frantic) pup from chewing at or pulling off the bandages that you so carefully applied! Petflex No Chew is a reliable brand commonly used by vets.

Useful Chemicals

  • Saline Wound Flush

  • Antibiotic Spray or Ointment

  • Milk of Magnesia, 3% Hydrogen Peroxide or Activated Charcoal

  • Liquid Dishwashing Detergent

  • Alcohol Wipes or Wet Wipes

  • Styptic Powder or Blood Clotting Powder

  • Saline Eye Solution

  • Artificial Tear Gel

  • Benadryl or Antihistamines

Chemicals can be dangerous, but they can also be incredibly helpful in an emergency situation if used correctly.

Note that 3% hydrogen peroxide is included on this list in order to induce vomiting if your pet is poisoned — not for disinfecting a wound. Applying hydrogen peroxide to a wound can actually delay the healing process. It’s recommended to use a saline wound flush to clean a wound out instead, followed by antibiotic spray.

Milk of magnesia or activated charcoal can also be used in place of hydrogen peroxide to initiate vomiting. However, these chemicals can be very dangerous to your dog if you don’t know what you’re doing; don’t administer these compounds unless you have a veterinary professional on hand or on the phone guiding you through it.

Finally, a gentle dishwashing detergent is a good choice for bathing or cleaning your dog if needed, and benadryl or another antihistamine medicine (approved by your veterinarian in advance) should be on hand in case of allergies.

Medical Tools

  • Digital Thermometer and Lube

  • Blunt-Tip Bandage Scissors

  • Magnifying Glass

  • Syringes

  • Tweezers

  • Tick Remover Tool

  • Old Credit Card

  • Disposable Gloves

  • Battery-Powered Beard Trimmer

There are a few medical tools you may not immediately think of to pack in a dog first aid kit, but can be extremely useful. For example, lube is helpful anytime you have to take your dog’s rectal temperature. It reduces the chance of tearing delicate skin, as well as making the experience less uncomfortable for your pup.

Also, when you’re choosing scissors for your dog first aid kit, look for scissors that are specially designed to be easier to cut bandages with and less likely to poke your poor pup in the process.

When removing ticks or bee or wasp stingers, remember that tweezers are often not the best choice and may leave the stinger or jaws embedded in your dog’s skin! Use a tick remover tool for those stubborn bloodsuckers, and remove bee or wasp stingers by gently scraping them out with the edge of a credit card.

Finally, you may not think to pack a beard trimmer for your dog, but it’s actually a useful tool for trimming mats or sticky fur and clearing the area around wounds.

Survival Supplies

  • Flashlight

  • Emergency Warming Blanket

  • Ice Pack or Instant-Cold Packs

  • Towels and Rags

  • Medicine Pillbox

  • Secure Toolbox

You never know what circumstances you will find yourself in with your dog. Make sure to pack basic survival supplies, such as a flashlight (with extra batteries) and a way to keep warm. If your pet has any ongoing medication, store several doses in a secure medicine pillbox and make sure to keep them in date.

ALL of the supplies in your dog first aid kit should be kept in a sturdy toolbox or tacklebox — that you can access easily if needed! (As in, not buried under a car seat or under ten million things in the trunk).

It may take a bit of time to assemble the items on this list and pack them away securely; but once you do have a dog first aid kit ready to go, you’ll be infinitely more prepared in case something happens to you and Fido. And if you can’t realistically source all of these supplies, it’s still worth it to grab what you can and put a small kit together.

After all, you know your best pal has always got your back. Preparing for whatever life brings is one way to show your pup you’ve got theirs!

You have successfully subscribed!
$(document).on('change', '.swatch-element', function(){ BOLD.BsubWidget._renderPrices(); });