You never know what will happen and it’s good to be prepared. When you are camping, driving across the country, or a natural, manmade disaster hits, you need are going to want to be ready. Just like you have a first aid kit for the humans in your home, it’s important to keep a first aid kit handy for the canines in your life. It’s best to put all of your doggie first aid supplies in a bag, bin, backpack, shoulder bag or container that can travel with you on road trips, camping, on a hike and can easily be picked up and taken out to the yard or wherever your dog or another might need treatment.
1. Paperwork: Vaccination & Medical Records and Emergency Phone Numbers
If you are in the unfortunate circumstance of being in a critical emergency, you are going to want all of this information in one place. In the event of a disaster you may not have electricity, Internet or phone service. Keep a hard copy of all of this with your emergency kit. If you go out of town and leave your pup with a dogsitter or friend, be sure they know where the paperwork and contacts are in the event of an emergency.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide
If your dog does ingest something toxic, you may have to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide. Always check with a poison control professional or your veterinarian before inducing vomiting and be sure you are familiar with the proper instructions on how to do this. During a crisis is not the time you want to learn how to do this kind of thing. You should also print out the instructions. In the event of a natural disaster, you may not have electricity or internet service, so having a hard copy of something like this could be a lifesaver.
3. Antibiotic Ointment
If you and your pup are the outdoorsy type, it is advisable to keep this type of item on you at all times. If your pup gets a small cut or scratch, antibiotic ointments will help prevent infection, relieve pain, and act as a barrier from bacteria and germs.
4. Gauze, Scissors, Tape, Rubber Gloves
This may be more than one item, but they are a package deal in my opinion. In an emergency situation, gauze can control bleeding, act as a temporary brace for suspected fractures, and can even be a makeshift muzzle in a pinch. Tape can also act as a makeshift muzzle and scissors can cut an old shirt into strips to make a more solid bandage for larger wounds or to help if you run out of gauze. Rubber gloves are essential to any medical emergency. Always wear protective gloves and goggles or glasses if you have them.
5. Wet Or Grooming Wipes
These may not seem like “emergency” material, but when your dog has an emergency bathroom situation and decides to take care of his business in the back seat of your car, these will help. These and a few towels. These are great for wiping off muddy paws before getting in the car, messy bathroom situations, or for when your dog decides to roll around in some unknown patch of grass. You can also use them to clean dirt or blood off of a wound to get a better look, or to clean an eye or ear.
6. A Towel or Blanket
If your dog is injured or panicking, gently wrapping them up in a soft blanket can help calm them down and allow you to access their injury without being scratched or bitten. Microfiber is ultra absorbent and can help in sticky situations. Literally. A towel or blanket also offer a soft surface for you to rest your dog for an examination if the ground is too hot, hard or covered in sharp rocks and you need to get a better look at what’s going on.
7. Collapsible Travel Food and Water Bowls
These are great in emergency and non-emergency situations alike. Long hikes, cross-country road trips, anytime you are away from home you should have at least one collapsible bowl with you, or something to give your dog water. Hydration is vitally important for all living things. Be sure to offer your dog lots of water, even if you’re just out running errands for the afternoon.
8. Bottled Water and Small Packages of Food or Treats
It seems like these things should go without saying, but sometimes the most obvious things are the ones we forget. Be sure to keep a bottle of water for your dog in case you don’t have access to your normal supply, and keep an emergency stash of food in case of shortage or to help disctract your dog in an emergency or reward him for his bravery after he’s allowed you to remove a thorn or tick.
Talk to your vet about keeping a backup supply of any prescribed or useful medications in your first aid kit. If you are traveling and lose or can’t find the medication, you will always have a backup supply so you don’t have to panic or spend a day having your vet call in a prescription across the country. It’s never a bad idea to have a few diarrhea pills handy, especially if you are traveling. This includes flea/tick meds, any approved sedatives for traveling.
10. A Creature Comfort
If you are in a high stress situation with your dog, such as a nasty storm or a particularly traumatizing event, it is always nice to have a creature comfort to soothe them. Keep an old favorite toys or blanket that you were thinking of retiring and put it in the first aid kit. The sight and smells of a beloved object can help settle them down, soothe and comfort in particularly trying situations.
11. Extra Leash, Collar and Poop Bags
If your dog gets sick, he may go through more poop bags than you can imagine. Be sure to have an extra supply on hand. It’s never a bad idea to have an extra collar and leash around. I’ve seen dogs snap leashes in accidents and they are very useful if you happen upon a lost or stray animal out on the highway or in the mountains and want to get them to the local vet or nearest town. Those free ones the vet sends home with you sometimes are perfect for your emergency kit or just to keep in your car in the event of an emergency.
You always want to keep a flashlight around, not just for the night time but you may just need to get more light to pull out or splinter, or find a pill you dropped. Extra batteries are important too and you may want to consider solar powered flashlights. They are perfect for emergencies, just make sure you store it in a place where it will get plenty of light to stay charged up. I keep mine hanging in the kitchen window so they are always ready to go.
13. A First Aid Book
Answer quickly: how do you administer CPR to a small dog? If you panicked at the idea of even attempting First Aid on a dog, maybe you should brush up your skills. The Safe Dog Handbook or Dog First Aid from the American Red Cross is a great place to start.
What would you include in your doggy first aid kit? Let us know in the comments!