by Amy D’Andrea MEd, CVT-Founder of Pet Emergency Education, LLC
Medical emergencies that involve animals should have first aid administered immediately. These situations are considered a health crisis and many can become life threatening very quickly. Appropriate first aid measures can keep your animal alive until you are able to get to a veterinary hospital, can prevent a traumatic injury from getting worse and alleviate pain for your pet. Any pet owner, animal lover and animal business professional needs needs to have essential first aid supplies handy if and when an emergency occurs with an animal. A first aid kit for dogs, cats, horses and people is a vital component in an emergency disaster preparedness plan as well.
What should your first aid kit contain?
First aid kits need to have a variety of medical supplies in them so that no matter what the emergency you have what you need to manage it. There are a number of commercial first aid kits available for purchase at retail stores and online websites focused on animal care. Be knowledgeable on what supplies you need so you can find a kit that best suits you and your pet. People sometimes choose to build their own kit, but if you weigh the cost it is likely the same price or cheaper to purchase a ready made kit from a retailer. These retail kits often come in durable waterproof cases and include quite a few valuable items. If you intend to take your dog on a boat, fishing, camping, or anywhere that water may be a factor, having a water proof first aid kit is an important consideration. Here is a list of supplies that should be in your kit:
- Cotton balls and swabs
- Sterile gauze pads and bandages
- First aid tape
- Antibacterial ointment
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Rubbing alcohol
- Antiseptic wipes
- A muzzle
- Extra leash
- A splint
- Styptic powder to stop bleeding
- Sterile latex gloves
- Eye wash
- A book pet first aid
- A blanket
- A large bottle of water
- Self-activating hot pack
- Self-activating ice pack
You will notice that we do not list any medications. That is because prescribing and administering medications both over the counter and prescription by law needs to be done by a licensed veterinarian. We respect their authority and even in our pet CPR and First Aid Certification classes we refer all questions regarding medication to a licensed vet.
The size and species of the animal needs to be considered when purchasing a first aid kit. Larger animals will need larger rolls of bandage material and more liquids such as disinfectants and water to flush wounds. If you take your pet hiking, camping and any other outdoor activity, it is a very good idea to have a travel kit in your backpack or in the glove compartment of your car. Travel kits are smaller versions of the full kits with less supplies in them, however the supplies they carry focus on the outdoor injuries your pet could encounter. If you frequent dog shows then you should pack a first aid kit when you attend shows and events. Pet sitters, dog walkers and doggie daycare may have a number of animals in their care at one time so a larger volume of supplies are necessary. It is very important to check your first aid kit often for expired items and restock any supplies that are low.
Having a fully packed pet first aid kit can make the difference between life and death for your pet, so it’s important to be prepared. You should always have the name and contact information for both your veterinarian and the local veterinary emergency facility. Some general practitioners do not offer emergency services and may not be able to help your pet with their emergency. Pet Emergency Education, LLC proudly sells high quality, AKC licensed 20 piece travel first aid kits and 50 piece deluxe first aid kits. But whether you buy your kit from us or elsewhere, we can’t stress enough just how crucial having a first aid kit is when an animal medical emergency arises!
To purchase an AKC licensed pet first aid kit please go to To purchase an AKC licensed pet first aid kit please go to: AKC Pet First Aid Kit