As professional dog walkers, and pet sitters, we at CCLA know the importance of preventing and handling pet medical emergencies. They can be quite scary and as pet owners, no mom or dad likes to see their kiddo in distress or in pain. As April is the official month for Pet First Aid Awareness, we want to discuss the important tools every pet owner should have in their first aid kit, so you can properly prevent and treat a pet emergency like their own personal hero!
Not all medical emergencies happen in the comfort of your own home. They can occur in a car, on a new hiking adventure, near the ocean, or on a camping trip. And sometimes, a vet is not close by. This is when having a first-aid kit comes in handy! A first-aid kit should be in a travel bag—like a small backpack—so you can take it with you wherever you go!
Essential First-Aid Items
Your Pet’s Medical Records – it’s important to have these handy as you may be far from your local vets office when an accident occurs. If you’d like to go a step further, you can even save these important documents on a flash drive so there’s more room for other important stuff!
Hydrogen Peroxide (3%) — think Hydrogen P is just for cleaning wounds? Think again! Hydrogen P can also be used orally (with Veterinarian approval) if your dog has ingested something poisonous and must throw it up. In short, Hydrogen P can clean minor wounds and can induce vomiting, but please check with your vet as you must have proper guidance on how much to administer. Check out PetMD’s proper instructions on how to induce vomiting. You may want to print these out in case you do not have internet access when an emergency occurs. Furthermore, it’s best to educate oneself when you are not overwhelmed by an emergency with time sensitivity.
Antibiotic Ointment, Saline Solution & Gauze—a small cut or scrape may lead to some pesky infections. To avoid this, antibiotic cream is a good tool for preventing bad bacteria from rolling in! It does not clean the wound however, so it’s also crucial to carry a sterile saline solution to clean the abrasion without it stinging. In case of larger wounds, gauze is a good tool for limiting the amount of bleeding, keeping the wound away from other bacteria, and can act as a brace if your companion has suffered from a minor fracture!
Scissors, Tape, Gloves—Scissors are a great universal tool for just about anything. Don’t have gauze? Use scissors to cut up a t-shirt to wrap the wound. Tape will help keep things held in place, and rubber gloves are essential for keeping hands and wounds clean.
Medications—When traveling, it may be important to ask your vet for backup medications. Perhaps your pet sitter may need more if they run out, or perhaps you misplaced or forgot to bring them. Backup meds in your First-aid kit may be exceptionally important so you never have to worry about waiting for prescriptions to be called in by your vet when you’re away. Some over the counter meds such as tick and flea medications are also important to keep handy!
Rectal Thermometer—Does your pooch have less energy and a loss of appetite but don’t know why? This can become concerning especially if you’re away from home. Try carrying a rectal thermometer in your kit to detect if your pup needs to see a vet right away. Your dog’s internal temperature should be between 100-103 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ice Packs—If you’ve gone on a vigorous hike with your canine and want to soothe their joints and hard-working muscles, ice packs are a great tool to lessen pain, swelling, and inflammation.
Tweezers—These guys are not just used for your eyebrows! They can carefully remove little twigs, foxtails, or pebbles from harming your pup any further. Foxtails are notoriously dangerous to dogs as their shape allows them to burrow deep into any part of your pet. Check out our blog, “The Dangers of Foxtails” to learn more.
Other Important Items
Wet Wipes and Towels—Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re about to put your pup in your car only to find they still have a butt full of poop? Wet wipes are handy for this occasion as well as for muddy paws to keep things clean! What’s more, your pooch may have stepped on another animal’s feces while frolicking in the great outdoors. Bacteria, diseases, and parasites are all found in fecal matter and it’s very important to clean your pets’ paws after any adventure outside. Remember, it’s very common for pets to lick their paws and they don’t care where their paws have been!
Collapsible Water Bowls & Water—When choosing a water bowl, it’s a good idea to stick to silicone instead of plastic. When plastic heats up, the chemicals that make up your plastic bowl or water bottle can leak into the water. That’s why silicone bowls are a safer option as well as glass or stainless steel water bottles so your pet can drink the cleanest H2O possible!
Extra Leash and Collar—Why, you ask? Because leashes and collars can snap in unwanted situations. Perhaps your pup lunges at something or even falls while hiking treacherous routes. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Extra leashes and collars can also become useful if you happen to come across a stray animal in need of shelter. Don’t want to buy an extra leash or collar? Just use the ones your vet supplies you!
Flashlights—It can get scary when the sun goes down! Flashlights are important for any dark situation as they allow you to see where you’re going, what your pup may be getting in to, and most importantly, keeps others aware of where you are so as not to injure you or your pup.
If you’re planning on gifting your pet with a memorable adventure, we hope you remember these essentials on your next outing! Know any other useful tools to have in your pets’ first-aid kit? Comment below!