With September being Disaster Preparedness Month, pet owners may want to consider putting together a first aid kit for their dog, cat or other animal. These kits are great to have around this time of year with the holidays fast approaching and travel picking up.
The first thing to consider is that your kit should be easily transportable, rugged and weather proof. Clear plastic rubbermaid containers or tackleboxes work well and are readily available. Label your box clearly in large lettering with permanent marker in a place that is easy to see. Be sure to keep a list of your animal’s pertinent information and/or medical needs inside either laminated or in a ziploc bag. It is a good idea to include the numbers of your vet(s) and the local animal emergency center, police and/or fire department and a pet first aid book. Here in Green Bay, our animal emergency center’s number is (920)-494-9400 http://www.gbaec.com . Although a pet first aid book should have most necessary info, it may be a good idea to also jot down a quick reference guide on the inside cover. These should be things that you may find handy but hard to remember like your pet’s body temperature (dogs are 100 degrees F and cats are 102 degrees F).
Once your container’s information is ready, fill it with some bandaging basics. Nonstick tapes and bandages, Flexi/Vet Wrap (self adhering compression wraps very handy for getting a bandage to stay put in an awkward area), clean rags, cotton pads/balls and toddler q-tips that have more cotton on the tips are all good all-purpose choices.
Next, choose your tools or hardware. Tweezers, scissors, eyedroppers/syringes, nail trimmers, rectal thermometer, some type of muzzle (even the best pets may bite if hurt and scared or confused) and large empty plastic bottles. These tools should cover nearly every situation and the bottles can be filled with hot or cold water for compresses.
Finally, choose the chemical components. Include bottles (maybe 8-10 oz. each) of alcohol, saline and hydrogen peroxide to help flush and cleanse wounds. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to induce vomiting in cases of accidental ingestion but you may need more than the amount above to be effective in large animals. Benadryl can be added for an antihistamine in case of allergic response and some type of antibiotic ointment or spray. Corn starch or styptic powder can also be included to stop or slow bleeding from small wounds or broken nails.
Once you’ve assembled your kit you should decide on a very easily accessible place to store it. Somewhere next to your pet carriers, a blanket and a board cut to your pet’s size that can act as a stretcher to safely move your pet is best. Many people also choose to assemble a smaller version of this kit to keep in the car but a kit like this is essential to every pet owner, covers all the basics and may even save your pet’s life.