Published on January 9th, 2015 | by Debbie Martin0
What to include in your Pet First Aid Kit – No Vet Substitute
More and more, pet owners are preparing a pet first aid kit for their beloved furry friends. A first aid box designed specifically for pets will enable you to help them as best you can in the immediate aftermath of a mishap. It should ideally contain everything required to ensure that your pet is comfortable and stable before you take them to a vet.
Before proceeding, it is worth adding a short disclaimer: no first-aid-kit, no matter how well-stocked, can ever take the place of a qualified veterinarian. If you view a first-aid kit as a substitute, or an investment which might cut down your pet’s medical bills, then you need to re-evaluate that view. Similarly, if your pet should fall sick, then you should take it to a vet – who will be able to provide you will detailed advice and information about the condition of your pet, something which no first-aid kit has, as yet, been able to do.
Now that we’ve established that, let’s explore the contents of the ideal first-aid box for your pet. Some of the items on this list are essential, others may be dispensed with, depending on your pet. If you would like more bespoke advice about what to include in your first aid kit then do not hesitate to talk to your vet about it.
Sterile Saline Wash
If your pet has gotten something in its eyes, then you will need to wash it out. This stuff does the trick; simply pour it into your pet’s eyes until the offending material is gone.
We all know what water is. In a first aid context, it can be used to clean wounds, soothe burns and provide hydration to pets that need it. If you are taking the first-aid kit out and about, then make sure you also pack a dish – you will not be able to bottle-feed a cat or dog.
In certain situations it may be necessary to keep your pet’s body temperature stable, in order to prevent them from going into shock. Either a blanket or a towel might also double as a stretcher, if necessary – you will need to ensure that both stretcher-bearers have a secure grip on the stretcher, though; the last thing you want is to drop your stricken pet!
If your pet has suffered a particularly severe wound and is bleeding, then you will need to control the bleeding as your transport them to the vet. This can be done using bandages, which will come in the form of gauze or a clean rag. If you need to cover the wound before applying the bandage, then nappies or sanitary pads will serve, but a proper dressing like Melolin is best. Vet wrap is an ideal means of wrapping the bandage together, as it will secure the bandage without sticking to your pet’s fur.
You will need scissors to cut the bandage. The former will be of very limited use without the latter! Scissors will also come in handy if you need to cut away fur, perhaps to better inspect a wound.
Tweezers are invaluable when it comes to extracting foreign objects from your pet. A typical example would be a thorn which might become trapped in a pet’s paw. The last thing you want to do is try to remove such an object with your fingers and have it break apart and ultimately become worse.
If your pet should require bandages on its feet, then it would be best to wrap the affected foot in a plastic bag, to prevent them from bleeding everywhere as you transport them to the vet. Be sure to fasten them to your pet with tape.
Tape is an easily-forgotten item, which is unfortunate, as it is incredibly handy to have and it is important when bandaging wounds and attaching plastic bags to your pet’s feet (as seen above). Micropore tape is ideal for dressings, as it can be torn, but duct tape will suffice in a pinch.
Some pets require medication. If your pet is one such, then make sure that some medication is readily available in their first-aid box. You might also consider adding styptic powder, which can be used to stop bleeding and sugar pills in the case of diabetic pets.
Disposable rubber gloves are incredibly cheap and will go a long way toward limiting the infection of a wound. Once you are done with them, you should throw them away – they have been contaminated and are of no use to anyone.
Pets have sharp teeth and some can bite down on thermometers, thereby flooding their mouths with mercury. You will therefore need to take your pet’s temperature rectally – and you’ll need to use a suitable lubricant to do so. Body temperature for a cat or a dog should be around 38°C – though a few degrees either side will be fine. If your pet’s temperature is severely outside that range, it is time to take it to a vet.
Do you know your local vet’s number of the top of your head? If not, it might be wise to include a sheet full of helpful contact details on the inside of your first-aid kit. That way, you (or anyone else who might conceivably use the kit) will be able to contact the vet, all the while avoiding any unnecessary delay. You might also consider storing such numbers in your phone, to be on the safe side.
Similarly, if your pet has recently been treated for an illness, or has undergone surgery, then it is well worth keeping a copy of their medical records handy. There will scarcely be time to search for them if you are leaving in a hurry with a sick pet.
If you need to visit the vet outside of normal hours, then your usual vet may not be there; whoever treats your pet will need to know exactly what’s wrong with them. Err on the side of safety, therefore and print off a spare copy. You’ll thank yourself later.