Dog Care

21 MUST-HAVE ITEMS IN EVERY DOG FIRST AID KIT

We can never tell what can happen. Our dogs can meet with some form of tragedy at any time. Road accidents, poisoning, injuries, heatstrokes, allergies, animal attacks, etc can happen to our dogs at any time. Needless to say, we should be ready for these circumstances.

A dog first aid kit is usually the first line of defense when our dogs encounter any problem. It might be in a container, backpack, bin, or any good container. The main thing is that it must contain the basic items to administer initial care to your dog before taking him or her to the animal clinic.

I have compiled for you a list of 20 must-have items in every dog first aid kit.

You may also like YOUR DOG ESSENTIAL LIST- 9 THINGS ALL DOGS NEED

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE:

Specially made for dogs, this should be a staple content of our dog’s first aid kit. The hydrogen peroxide for dogs is usually about 3% and most of the time diluted with water or saline mixture. The three main uses of hydrogen peroxide for our dogs are:

i. To help induce vomiting – if your dog for any reason has consumed some poisonous substance like macadamia nuts or chocolate. Hydrogen peroxide can be used to help induce vomiting in your dog and expel toxic substances. A recommended dosage is usually one teaspoon per ten lbs of body weight.

A word of warning, make sure to contact your vet doctor before trying to induce vomiting in any form.

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ii. To clean dog wounds – in the absence of soap and water. Hydrogen peroxide is a good alternative for cleaning dog wounds. The hydrogen peroxide should be diluted with water in a one to one ratio before application to the dog’s wound.

A word of warning, never pour hydrogen peroxide directly into a large open wound, apart from the burning effect on your dog and the physical harm to your dog, you may not be able to control your dog’s reaction to the pain being experienced.

iii. Skunk bath – Apart from tomato juice, hydrogen peroxide can be used in de-skunking your dog. A good mix ratio would be one quart of three percent hydrogen peroxide, one-third cup of baking soda, and one teaspoon of dishwashing liquid.

This mixture would be rubbed on your dog if necessary and after some minutes, rinse it off. Continue as much as you can till the smell of the skunk is gone then give your dog a good bath.

DOG WIPES:

These are very essential for our dogs. We should make sure to use wipes specifically made for dogs. Wipes made for dogs are different from baby wipes and animal wipes. The main difference being the absence of alcohol is dog wipes. As you already know, alcohol is very dangerous to dogs when consumed.

Basically, wipes for dogs are of two types. Grooming wipes and antibacterial wipes. The grooming wipes are for quickly cleaning surfaces,e.g wiping down your dog when he can’t have a quick bath, cleaning up a dirty dog before he or she enters your car, cleaning up the potty mess, etc. The antibacterial wipes are used to disinfect e.g clean up wounds, treating skin conditions, etc.

ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT:

This should be another staple in your dog’s first aid kit. The most common reason for having antibiotic ointments in your dog’s first aid kit is to quickly deal with skin issues.

Skin issues like abscesses, bacterial, and fungal infections on your dog’s skin can easily be attended to before calling on a veterinary doctor. It can also be good for abrasions, cracked pads open wounds, and burns (including sunburn). This will help to prevent further infections on your dog’s skin while you wait to receive further instructions from your veterinary doctor.

DOG BLANKET:

Dogs that are panicking, feeling cold, or injured need to be calmed down. This more so is important especially if the dog is in a strange/unfamiliar environment. 

Gently wrapping your dog in a blanket goes a long way to help them calm down while they are being examined. The best blankets for this situation should be the ones made with microfiber. They are comfortable for our dogs and helps them to relax.

LATEX GLOVES:

You wouldn’t want your hands messed up while attending to your dog’s potty business or dealing with a wound problem. Latex gloves come in very handy in these situations.

SCISSORS:

These are important, whether the blunt type or round edge type, scissors helps remove excess furs while cleaning dog wounds, they are also helpful in cutting gauzes and tapes while applying them to dog wounds.

GAUZE AND TAPES:

These are used to dress dog wounds, the gauze to wrap around the wound after cleaning, and the tape to hold them steadfast in place. The tapes can also be used as temporary braces where the dog has fractured its leg.

TWEEZERS:

This is a tick removal tool and one of the best options if you are concerned about keeping your dog tick-free. In addition to this tweezers also come in very handy in situations like bee stings and splinters.

As stated above, a tweezer is a tick removal tool and should be used properly while removing the ticks. Here is some guideline below for you while removing ticks from your dog:

i.  Using your fingers, part your dog’s hair around where the tick is lodged

ii. Now place the tweezer around the tick and close to the dog’s body.

iii. Now make sure not to twist or jerk the tick.

iv. Gently pull upwards holding firmly on the tick with the tweezer until the tick dislodges.

v.  Clean affected area with dog wipe or soap and water.

vi. Dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet.

If for any reason, you feel your dog has contracted a disease, you can save the tick in alcohol for further testing.

NB: There is something called the tick key which can also be used to remove ticks, they can double up as key holders which makes them more readily accessible to remove ticks from our dogs.

DOG THERMOMETER:

There are two main types of thermometers built for our dogs. These are the rectal dog thermometer and the ear thermometer. Depending on your preference, using one of these is ok. There might be a time when getting your dog immediately to a veterinary doctor is not feasible and you may be asked to get basic information on your dog’s condition, his or her temperature being one of them.

Let’s look at the two types of thermometers mentioned above and allow you to make an informed choice based on their descriptions.

 i. Rectal thermometer with petroleum jelly. This looks like the old fashioned thermometer with mercury inside a glass cylinder, but the length and width are specially designed for our dog’s rectum.

    To use the rectal thermometer, first, shake it down and apply the petroleum jelly to it. This helps to ease the discomfort your dog will feel while passing it through its anus. For small dogs advance slowly into them by approximately an inch. For larger dogs, go deeper slowly between 2 to 3 inches.

    Leave the thermometer inside the dog for about two minutes, then remove and wipe with a tissue to read. As a rule of thumb do not force the thermometer into your dog’s anus if he or she tightens it, rather go in gently and also make sure to use your latex gloves during this process.

ii. Ear thermometer. The second type of dog thermometer is less invasive to our dogs and much slimmer. The ear thermometer work by measuring the infrared heat waves emitted through our dog’s eardrum area. To get the best reading here, try to maintain a horizontal position when inserting it into your dog’s ear.

The main challenge with ear thermometers is that they are more expensive and require careful handling more than the rectal thermometer.

A quick note here. A normal dog’s temperature is usually between 100.5 degrees to 103 degrees. Anything above or below this should be immediately reported to a veterinary doctor for proper actions to be taken.

TOWELS:

These are also essential to have in your dog’s first aid kit. Sometimes, you find that some dog wounds cannot be handled properly with dog wipes and cotton balls. In these scenarios, a towel comes in handy. Also, there are situations where a towel can be used as a makeshift stretcher for your dog.

In addition to keeping them dry when they get wet, the towel serves well as part of the dog’s first aid kit.

EXTRA LEASH:

This comes in handy for bigger heavier dogs. When you have to lead your dog to a place of safety before he or she can receive their first aid treatment, or leading them to the car so that they can be transported to their veterinary doctor for treatment.

MUZZLE:

Severe wounds like wounds from animal traps can cause severe elongated pain to our dogs. This kind of pain can make your dog lash out at you when being treated. In this type of situation, a muzzle is completely necessary.

When you notice that the wound is severe, first calm your dog gently and fix the muzzle before even trying to attend to the injury. This, of course, is for your own safety. After fixing the muzzle, you can then gently start the process of treating your dog or even getting him or her to the animal clinic without them becoming a danger to the people around.

FLASHLIGHTS AND PENLIGHTS:

At night, flashlights and penlights can provide an immediate source of lighting. This comes in very handy when there seems to be a problem at night with our dogs. Whether it’s a power grid shutdown or areas of low lighting, flashlights, and penlights can illuminate the place.

In Summary, just keep flashlights and penlights handy for doggy emergencies at night or in dark places.

EYEDROPPER:

Also referred to as turkey baster is another important must-have in your dog’s first aid kit. Whether it is cleaning our dog’s eyes and ears, or flushing out deep wounds, you need an instrument to adequately administer some form of liquid precisely to solve the problem.

The best instrument to use for the above is the eyedropper or turkey baster.

STERILE SALINE EYEWASH:

Most people are not aware of this but live with a dog long enough and you will notice how they are very prone to eye infections. Eye infections can be caused by viruses, bacterial contamination, allergies, glaucoma, or even foreign objects.

When you take into consideration how dogs like to roll in the dirt, it should not be a big surprise how they are easily infected with viruses, bacterias, etc.

When you notice your dog pawing incessantly at his or her eye, they are likely trying to relieve themselves of the itchiness and discomfort that comes with an eye infection. Also looking at the state of the dog’s paw (which is likely to be dirty and might contain other bacteria). This action is not helpful at all.

Enter the Sterile saline eyewash. This solution is the best to handle your dog’s eye infection problem before a visit to the veterinary doctor. Apart from the itchiness, you might note that your dog’s eye is swollen and even developed some change in color.

Applying the sterile saline eyewash in this situation should not be complicated. Just follow the steps below and you will be ok.

i. Make sure to have all things needed to clean your dog’s eye in his or her first aid kit. Eyedroppers, dog wipes, towel, sterile saline eyewash, and your latex gloves.

ii. Using the eyedropper, drop the sterile saline eyewash at the corner of his or her eye in such a way that it flows into your dog’s eye.

iii. Using the dog wipes, clean any discharge that comes out from your dog’s eye.

iv. Wipe the area with a towel dipped in lukewarm water, and repeat steps ii and iii. several times.

v.  If necessary, carefully trim the area around the dog’s eye to allow the discharge from the dog’s eye to flow easily.

vi. Finally, use a towel dipped in warm water to hold down the affected area (for about five minutes). This will help soothe the affected area.

vii. You can now repeat steps i. to vi. for the other eye if infected too.

ICE PACK:

Traditionally, ice packs wouldn’t stay long outside a cool region, but if you are going for something like camping. Having an ice pack in your dog’s kit is so so important. Ice packs will help to keep the swelling of fractured bone down while you make your way to the vet. They can also be crucial in preventing heatstrokes in the summer.

You can also have hot packs, these one help when your dog has stiff joints or muscle pains

DIPHENHYDRAMINE:

Also known as Benadryl. If you have a dog who is prone to allergies or has been stung by a bee, the first thing to administer is diphenhydramine(Benadryl). But what is diphenhydramine(Benadryl)?

Diphenhydramine(Benadryl) is a medication (used mainly by veterinary doctors) used to relieve our dogs from allergic reactions, bee stings, bites, motion sickness and to give our dogs a more relaxed, stress-free life.

So how come it should be part of our dog’s first aid kit? Good question, the answer is basically that it should be something recommended first by your vet doctor for your dog. Based on your dog’s medical history or general discussion with the vet doctor. You should find out if actually, Diphenhydramine(Benadryl) is good for your dog.

After this, you should know the required dosage to be given to your dog, more importantly, is to watch your dog carefully after the medication. You don’t want a situation where your dog would react adversely to the treatment.

Bear in mind, this is just a first aid approach mainly to allergies and bee stings. Make sure to be in communication with your veterinary doctor before, while, and immediately after administering the medication, for further professional advice on what to do for your dog.

COLLAPSIBLE FOOD AND WATER BOWLS:

For both emergency periods and non-emergency periods. Having a food and water bowl that can be easily accessible especially when out of the house is very essential. You never know when the thirst bug might hit you.

Even as human beings we need constant hydration. Whether we are going on long walks, hikes, road trips, etc. Be sure to have these bowls at hand to feed and offer water to your dog.

PACKAGED DOG FOOD/TREATS AND WATER:

This goes hand in hand with the collapsible food and water bowl. There should be some food and bottled water to take care of your dog in the interim, especially when you are out of the house.

PAPERWORK:

This is mainly comprised of Vaccination, medical records, and emergency numbers (Veterinary doctors number, Animal Poison control center number, etc)

Anything can happen at any time. When emergencies arise, it is usually not the best time to start googling for information on where you can get the nearest help. Having your paperwork and these phone numbers at hand will go a long way in getting a response faster.

Double thumbs up to you if you have already saved these numbers on your cell phone. It just goes a long way to show how seriously you take your doggy companion.

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