Dogs love to run and play outdoors. But warm summer days can sometimes lead to bug bites, minor cuts, or contact with hazards in and around your home and yard. If you can’t remember when you last replenished your pet first aid kit, now may be the perfect time to do so. It’s quick, easy, and inexpensive. And in the event of an emergency, these simple measures and basic products could help stabilize your dog or cat until professional veterinary care can be reached.

Pet First Aid Kit Essentials

A quick trip to the pharmacy, grocery, or big box retailer will be called for when creating or replenishing your pet first aid kit. Tote bags, small plastic containers, or even a pet carrier make excellent pet first aid kits or cubbies. Be sure to include the following pet first aid items:

  • A roll of gauze
  • Absorbent gauze pads
  • Cotton balls
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic spray or wipes
  • A small blanket, towel, and/or pillowcase (for cats)
  • Blunt-end scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Sterile saline solution
  • OTC antibiotic ointment (Neosporin, etc.)
  • Splints and/or tongue depressors
  • Instant cold packs
  • Plastic eyedropper or syringe
  • Benadryl
  • An expired credit and/or store card (excellent stinger scrapers!)

Important Pet First Aid Tips

Accidents happen. Be prepared for outdoor ouches with the following pet first aid tips:

  • For cuts or bite wounds: Clean the wound with cool water and apply absorbent pads to slow the bleeding. Wrap gently with gauze. If the wound is deeper than a surface scrape or if the bleeding does not stop, call your veterinarian to see if treatment may be needed. For severe bleeding, apply pressure to the wound and seek immediate medical attention.
  • For stings: Using tweezers or the edge of a plastic card, carefully remove the insect’s stinger. Apply an instant cold pack and keep watch. If swelling increases or your pet has an adverse reaction (difficulty breathing or vomiting), call your veterinarian.
  • For burns: Flush the affected area with water and/or saline solution. If possible, apply an ice water compress. Seek veterinary care immediately.
  • For heatstroke: Make certain your pet is not confined in space that is in direct sunlight without access to shade or water. Excessive panting is the most common symptom of heat exhaustion in dogs. Reddened gums, drooling, and even collapse can also be signs. If you believe your dog is suffering from heatstroke, move him to a cooler, shaded area. Place cold, wet towels on your dog’s body and/or rinse with cool water to lower body temperature. Allow him to drink small amounts of water until his breathing regulates. Remember: Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle on a hot day – even if you leave the window open. Temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly rise.
  • If you believe your pet has been ingested poison: Immediately call pet poison control (ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, 888-426-4435) or your emergency veterinary hospital. If you know what the animal ingested, keep the item/container/label on hand so you can provide medical professionals with as much information as possible.

In addition to poison control, always keep the following phone numbers in or near your pet first aid kit.

  • Veterinarian and veterinary practice
  • Emergency hospital/pet clinic

Understanding proper pet first aid is an important part of being a pet owner – and a pet resort owner. Green Acres Pet resort is a veterinarian-owned and operated pet care facility, staffed by a highly trained team that regularly provides your dog or cat with the best care, including nutritious meals and plenty of TLC in a safe, secure environment. To learn more, call 608-465-4156, or request additional information online.