When gathering together medical supplies for your family, don’t forget your cats, dogs, and other pets. While pre-assembled first aid kits for pets can be purchased from pet stores and online pet supply sites, it is easy enough to put together your own. In this way, you can tailor it to your pets’ specific needs. Below, you’ll find several practical suggestions. You may also want to talk with your veterinarian for additional ideas.
Contact Information and Other Important Paperwork
Always keep your veterinarian’s normal business number, as well as their 24/7 emergency number (which is often different), in your pet’s first aid kit. Since animals have a tendency to eat or drink substances they shouldn’t, it is also a good idea to have the ASPCA’s toll-free poison hotline number readily available in case you need them to instruct you on what to do. The number is: (800) 426-4435. Taping this information on the inside of the lid to your first aid kit is a good strategy.
If you will be traveling with your pet, it is always a wise idea to use internet tools like Google Map to locate emergency pet clinics closest to your destination and have their contact information on hand. You may also want to print out a map with directions. If your pet has a medical emergency in an area you are unfamiliar with, it can be difficult to quickly find emergency medical services for you pet unless you’ve planned ahead. You may also want to keep your pet’s rabies-vaccination certificate in your first aid kit when traveling in case your pet gets into a scuffle with another animal and you need proof. Placing it inside a ziplock bag will help prevent it from being damaged. You’ll also want to have a good photo of your pet along in case they get lost. If your pet has a HomeAgain pet microchip, be sure to include their ID number in the first aid kit too.
Bandages and Gauze
These are important medical supplies in case your pet receives a cut or puncture wound. You will want to stop the bleeding as quickly as possible. Since cats and dogs are covered in fur, it is best not to use tape if at all possible. To this end, self-clinging bandages come in very handy. This is the type of bandage that you can wrap around a wound to stop the bleeding and the end then self-adheres to the bandage with no tape necessary. You can also sometimes use this type of bandage material to secure a gauze if your pet has sustained a puncture wound. To this end, you may want to pre-cut a few strips of this to be extra prepared.
Other Essential Medical Supplies For Your Pet
If your pet is sick and you are communicating with your vet, they may ask to know your pet’s body temperature. Pets can not handle a thermometer in their mouth so a rectal thermometer with some vaseline to lubricate it is essential. The normal body temperature for both cats and dogs is about 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit +/- a degree. You may also want to keep some isopropyl alcohol wipes in your kit to clean the thermometer between uses.
You will want a good supply of sterile saline solution to clean injuries and a topical antiseptic to apply after you bandage your pet. It is best to buy one that is specifically made for pets because they will try to lick it off and some of the ingredients in over the counter human antiseptics are poisonous to cats and dogs. For example, tea tree oil is considered highly toxic and should always be kept away from pets.
A small bottle of hydrogen peroxide should be included in case a veterinarian or poison control expert wants you to induce immediate vomiting. However, never do this unless you are specifically instructed to do so by an expert. Ear cleaning solution should be kept in your medical supplies for animals who have problems with their ears. The same goes for eye cleaning solution.
It is also a good idea to have a foil emergency blanket in which to wrap your pet should they go into shock.
Scissors, Nail Clippers, Tweezers, Magnifying Glass, and Flashlight
People often forget to include these essential items. Ingrown nails can become quickly infected so it is imperative to keep any problem nails trimmed at all times. Scissors are not only helpful for cutting bandages and gauze but also for cutting sticky stuff out of fur that can’t be washed out. With the unpredictable movements of pets, it is always a good idea to use blunt-ended scissors designed for small children. Tweezers are essential for removing splinters from paw pads. They can also come in handy for removing ticks. A magnifying glass can be a godsend in helping with this task. A small flashlight can come in handy if you need to look into your pet’s ears.
As you can see, it is quite easy to put together medical supplies for your pet and have them handy in case of an emergency. This is especially important if you don’t live in an urban area with ready access to a veterinarian or if you are traveling with you pet.