What to keep in a doggy first aid kit
You never know what little (or big) accidents are around the corner. Just as we have first aid kits in our homes and cars for use, it is good to have some items specific for dog first aid as well.
Bandages and Wound Dressings
Bandages are a staple of any first aid box. If you are using traditional bandages you will also need some medical/microporous tape. Alternatively, adhesive (self-adherent) bandages are incredibly useful and definitely worth buying. Gauze is also useful to help protect wounds, injuries and stitches.
Cotton wool is useful for cleaning wounds. If you need something to use between a wound and the bandage, use gauze instead because cotton wool can be fluffy and stick to the healing area.
When your dog seems down in the dumps or off their food for no apparent reason you could start by taking their temperature. It would probably be the first thing your vet would do. So a digital thermometer is a great piece of kit to have in your dog’s first aid box. Feeling their body, ears and nose will not tell you anything useful.
While dog’s sharing some of our first aid items, it would not be hygienic to share a thermometer, especially as, to take a dog’s temperature, you need to put it in their bottom, (ear thermometers are available but they can be expensive and less accurate).
Clean the thermometer with an antiseptic wipe and lubricate it with a little petroleum jelly, insert the thermometer gently inside your dog’s bottom about 1-3 inches. Wait the 1-2 minutes until it beeps and gently remove it. The normal temperature for a dog is not the same as for humans. Anything from37.9-39.9 degrees Celsius is normal for a dog (100.2-103.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
As mentioned above, Vaseline is a useful lubricant.
Tick Removal Tool
If your dog gets a tick, you want to get it off as quickly as possible and in one piece. It is important not to put any substance on the tick or to squash it or leave any parts of it in your dog. Please see ‘The Best Way to Remove a Dog Tick’ (see details at end of article). The recommended tool is a Tick Twister. It is a good idea to keep one in your dog’s first aid kit and one on the car or walkies bag too.
Not for removing ticks but useful for removing any fiddly bits objects, stings, splinters etc…
A Recovery Collar or Vest
If your dog has a wound, stitches or any area you don’t want them to bother, you will need something like a recovery cone (lampshade) or medical vest. These items are specially designed to stop your dog reaching or bothering parts of their body.
There are various types of cone or lampshade. Your vet can probably provide you with a traditional hard plastic cone. Alternatively, the Trimeline Recovery collar is a cone shape but is made of a softer material, meaning less bumps and inconvenience.
There is also a blow-up version of a recovery collar, which sits around the dog’s neck, but beware what parts of their body your dog can still reach.
There is also Medical Full & Half Pet Shirts for after neutering, for torso injuries, allergies. They are comfortable, breathable and have many uses.
Whatever you choose, don’t leave it too late to make this purchase. People tend to buy one when they need one, but then you have the bother of measuring, ordering and waiting when you really need it now. So make your purchase and put it in your dog’s first aid kit so it is there if/when you need it.
Antiseptic wipes, lotions or sprays are useful for cleaning wounds, instruments etc…
This useful for insect stings and allergies, but make sure that the brand you use is safe for dogs. Many human antihistamines are combination products. Avoid these for dogs, especially those that contain decongestant. If unsure, ask your vet for advice and carefully read the label to make sure nothing else is included.
Great for eye care, eyewash etc…
Disposable Surgical Gloves
This item is pretty obvious and cheap too. They are useful for emptying anal glands and also treating injuries, especially when your hands may not be 100% clean or you don’t want to infect yourself with anything.
Syringe (without the needle)
This is handy for a number of things. Good for flushing wounds, getting soft recovery food into a dog’s mouth and administering water too. If your dog is sick and not drinking and you need to keep them hydrated.
If your dog is dehydrated getting water into them is essential but they may also need some extra electrolytes. They often come in powder form and you add it to the water, as directed on the packet.
Paw injuries can be more annoying than anything else. Each time your dog stands or walks, the wound can open again, seems to never heal and the dog can worry it and leave little blood stains round your home. A paw cover can be used to temporarily protect paw injuries.
These are safer than normal scissors and can be used for cutting away from an injury, removing bandages safely etc…