Pet First Aid Kits

A good first aid kit is a must to be prepared for emergencies. There should be a first aid kit in your car, at your job site, and in your home. The more complete your first aid kits are the better you can deal with emergencies as they come up. The best time to assemble those kits is now. If you wait until an emergency happens, you will be too late.

If you have animals, then supplies for them should be included in both your car and your home first aid kits.

The primary objectives of first aid are to relieve suffering, to save a life and to prevent further physical or psychological injuries until you can reach or be reached by qualified health care personnel. These goals will help you assemble your first aid kits. Consider all of the possible emergencies which can happen.

If you do not want to prepare your own kits, there are very good prepackaged kits on the market. Peruse their contents carefully so that you know whether or not the kit is appropriate as there are also kits which are nothing more than "band aids". You will need to know if the kit you are purchasing has perishables such as aspirin in it so that they can be replaced when they expire.

If you decide to prepare your own kits, you will find that many supplies will come packaged in larger quantities than you find in a single prepared kit. Divide the packages into the different kits you are making. Many supplies are appropriate for all kits.

First aid kits should be kept in containers that are labeled as such. Small containers which can be used for first aid kits can be found as cosmetic boxes, sewing boxes, tackle boxes, tool boxes, etc. If you purchase your supplies first, you will have a better idea what size box you will need to find to store them.

Keep the box in a single location in your house, car and work place. Everyone should know where it is. If you are the injured party and unconscious or if you are not present at the time of injury, the best first aid kit in the world will not help when no one can find it. It should be stored out of the reach of very young children and pets.

Here are some basic items that all first aid kits should contain.

  1. Rectal Thermometer - this can be the glass kind or the newer electronic kind. The electronic ones beep when they are finished registering a temperature. They are slightly smaller than the glass kind. They do not break as easily. They can be covered with thin sleeves to halt the spread of germs. They can also be used as oral thermometers. They do have a battery which will need replacing and they are more expensive then the glass ones. [normal canine temperature - 100.5 to 102.5F]
  2. Lubricating jelly to lubricate thermometer
  3. Instant hot and cold compresses
  4. Adhesive tape to secure bandages - both non-stick tape (ie. Dermicel or another brand of paper tape) and water proof tape
  5. Blunt tipped scissors (a must for animal first aid - used for cutting hair away from wounds)
  6. Bandage scissors
  7. Splints
  8. Alcohol swabs to sterilize instruments or small areas of skin
  9. Antibiotic ointment for wounds (not for eyes) (ie. Betadine ointment, Bacitracin, Neosporin (for non puncture type wounds))
  10. Contact lens solution for rinsing eyes, to clean wounds (water can be substituted)
  11. Cotton swabs (ie. Qtips)
  12. Green soap - a mild antibacterial soap for cleaning skin, wounds
  13. Sterile cotton or cotton balls
  14. Sterile Gauze Pads (the larger 4" size is better since it can easily be cut smaller if necessary)
  15. Rolls of gauze or cling gauze bandage(1-2")
  16. Hydrogen Peroxide - 10 ml every 15 minutes to induce vomiting in animals that have ingested a non-caustic poison (syrup of ipecac is not always effective for animals but should be included for humans)
  17. Razor blade for snake bites
  18. Stockingette to protect bandage on leg or foot
  19. Rubber bulb ear syringe - used for flushing eyes, ears, wounds
  20. Forceps and/or tweezers
  21. Self-adhesive bandage (ie. Vetrap)
  22. Numbers for the Animal Poison Hotline & Poison Control for Pets (800/548-2423 or 900/680-0000 both numbers charge a fee). The National Poison Control Hotlines for humans should also be included.
Before you give anyone or any animal any medication, please consult your doctor or veterinarian about dosage and side effects. The medications and their dosages in the following list are only guidelines. Remember I am NOT a veterinarian. You should call your veterinarian for your animals dosages today. That way you can place a list in your first aid kit with specifics for your pets before an emergency happens. The dosages are for dogs only unless otherwise stated.

  1. Buffered (enteric coated) Aspirin - 5 mg. per pound every 12 hours for pain relief; antiflammatory. [Maximum dosage - one 325 mg tablet/33 lbs (max 2) every 12 hours - for small dogs you might want to use "Half Prin" which is an enteric coated aspirin with only 81mg.] [Note - acetomenophin is poisonous to most animals]
  2. Pepto Bismol - 1 tsp. per 5 pounds every 6 hours for relief of vomiting, stomach gas or diarrhea
  3. Di Gel Liquid - up to 4 tbs. every 8 hours for antacid and anti-gas (feline dosage - up to 2 tbs. every 8 hours)
  4. Kaopectate - 1 ml per pound every 2 hours for diarrhea (feline dosage - same as canine)
  5. Mineral Oil - up to 4 tbs. daily to eliminate constipation (feline dosage - up to 2 tsps. daily)
  6. Imodium AD 2mg - 1 caplet per 30 lbs every 8 hours to relive diarrhea
  7. Benadryl - up to mg per pound every 8 hours to treat allergies, itching, etc. Can also be used as a tranquilizer when the dosage is reduced. (feline dosage - same as canine dosage)
  8. Dramamine - up to 50 mg every 8 hours to reduce motion sickness (feline dosage - up to 10 mg every 8 hours)
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Susan Ann Tipton, Gainesville, Florida, USA / furrykids @t