Our four-legged companions are family, and pet owners are responsible for ensuring they receive the care and attention necessary to remain healthy through their grey muzzle years. However, although you watch your pet carefully, most pets will still need emergency care at some point, and your quick response will ensure a more paw-sitive outcome. Our Mill Creek Animal Hospital team wants to ensure that pet owners are prepared for any unfortunate pet event, so we are providing four tips for creating a pet first aid kit.
#1: Purchase first aid supplies and keep an updated inventory
Most people have a first aid kit in their homes to handle the occasional cut while chopping vegetables for dinner, or a minor injury during a home improvement project. Many of the same supplies can help a pet who gets into unexpected trouble. However, assembling a separate pet-specific kit is vital, to ensure you are always prepared. Purchase a watertight bin or box to ensure all supplies stay clean and dry, and include the following in your pet’s first aid kit:
- Clean towels
- Rubber gloves
- Gauze roll to wrap wounds, or to muzzle an injured pet
- Non-stick bandages or strips of clean cloth to cover wounds
- Self-adhering, non-stick tape
- Lubrication for thermometer, wounds, or eye protection
- Saline solution
- 3% hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting—used only if directed by your veterinarian
- Blunt tip scissors
- Dawn soap or generic equivalent
- Antibiotic ointment
- Eye dropper or syringes without needles to give oral medication, or flush wounds
- Digital thermometer
- Leash and collar
- Elizabethan collar
Forgetting to refill a first aid kit is easy, but do not be tempted to share supplies between your human and pet kits. Also, pet emergencies are stressful to pet owners, so keep an inventory and restock your kit regularly to ensure you are always prepared to act quickly.
#2: Include copies of your pet’s paperwork
Whether you are traveling with your pet, or addressing a home pet emergency, you must be prepared with your pet’s paperwork, especially when they need veterinary care. This information is also helpful when a pet sitter or boarding facility cares for your pet. When possible, laminate or print copies of important records on waterproof paper. Important records to place in your kit include:
- Number and address of your family veterinarian, and the closest veterinary emergency hospital
- Copy of your pet’s vaccination records and any significant medical history
- Your pet’s microchip number and registration information
- A current photo of your pet
- ASPCA Animal Poison Control number
- Your pet health insurance policy number
- A list of current medications and dosing instructions
#3: Refill your pet’s medications
Whether you have to relocate your pet quickly because of a home emergency, or if they are accompanying you on a family vacation, ensure their medications are always available. Include a one-month supply of any medication your pet needs for chronic illnesses, such as thyroid conditions, seizures, and arthritis. Additionally, include your pet’s monthly heartworm, flea, and tick preventive. Our online pharmacy and autoship program will ensure you never forget to refill your pet’s medications.
#4: Learn basic pet first aid
Time is precious when responding to a pet emergency, and including a pet first aid book in your kit will ensure you are armed with information for a quick response. Additionally, consider registering for a pet first aid certification course to learn more comprehensive skills and training. Tissue wounds or injuries are painful, so ensure you first muzzle your pet before applying first aid. Every pet owner should know how to apply first aid for these common pet emergencies:
- Poison or toxin exposure — Many household items can be toxic to pets. If your pet’s skin or eyes are exposed to a chemical, check the label for instructions, thoroughly rinse the affected area with cool water, and immediately call your veterinarian. For toxin ingestion, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.
- Burns—chemical or heat — Immediately flush the area with cool water, apply a cold water compress with a soft towel, and immediately call your veterinarian.
- Bleeding — Press a clean, dry gauze pad over the wound for at least three minutes to allow the blood to clot. If the wound is bleeding through the gauze pads, add towels on top of the gauze so that the clotting process is not disrupted, and then seek immediate veterinary care.
- Seizures — Do not handle or restrain your pet during an active seizure. Remove nearby objects or furniture that could injure your pet, and place pillows or blankets close, to protect them from further injury. Following a seizure, keep them warm and calm, and call your veterinarian.
- Trauma or broken bones — If your pet is hit by a car or has another traumatic injury, they could also have less obvious injuries such as internal bleeding. Gently put your pet on a flat surface, such as a board, and wrap them in a blanket to keep them warm and minimize movement. Do not splint or manipulate an injured limb, and seek immediate veterinary care.
Pet first aid is never a substitute for veterinary care, but a quick response to care for your injured or sick pet until they receive veterinary treatment may save their life. Call our Mill Creek Animal Hospital office if you have any questions about assembling your pet’s first aid kit, or if your pet needs urgent veterinary care.