What to include in your pet first aid kit
Unfortunately in many cases of accident or injury, your pet will need to be seen by a veterinary surgeon. However there are steps you can take to provide first aid to your pet and enable you to transport them in as comfortable manner as possible.
This advice is NOT a substitute for a proper consultation with a vet and is only intended as a guide, if you are concerned about your pet, always speak to your vet.
Suggested contents for your pet first aid box
- Sterile Saline Wash. Sterile saline wash is useful if your pet has debris or smoke in their eyes. Apply liberally and try to flush the eyes until all debris is removed. You can also use sterile saline to flush out minor wounds. (link to bleeding wounds article)
- Water. Water can also be used to flush out minor wounds. It is useful for rehydrating a pet, soothing burns, washing off toxins, soaking a paw, or cooling an overheated pet. Don’t forget a dish for your pet to drink from if you are away from home.
- Bandages. Gauze, clean rags, even a sock can be used as bandage material to help control bleeding and keep wounds clean until they can be treated by your veterinary surgeon. Melolin, nappies or sanitary pads can be used to cover wounds before applying a bandage. Non-adhesive vet wrap is also great to have in a pet first aid kit, as it does not stick to animal fur and is easier to remove.
- Tape. Micropore tape is useful for securing dressings (and is easy to tear). Alternatively, duct tape can be useful for holding temporary bandages in place.
- Blanket/towel. A blanket or towel can be used to help keep your pet warm and combat shock. You can use a blanket or towel to wrap your pet in on the journey to the vet, or if your pet is immobile you can use it as a stretcher to lift your pet on.
- Gloves. If you can wear gloves when dealing with an injury it helps to reduce any further contamination of the injury. Discard after use.
- Plastic pouches/bags. Used to cover foot injuries and help keep them clean, fasten with tape. This will help minimise blood spillages on to carpets, furniture and your car.
- Scissors. For cutting tape, gauze, splints, or fur.
- Tweezers. Tweezers can be useful for removing objects like thorns from a paw. Tweezers are more likely to remove the entire object, where as fingers can break an object and leave part remaining.
- Medications. If your pet is on regular medication, it is wise to keep a small amount in the first aid box. In addition, consider styptic powder, which is used to stop bleeding in cases of minor cuts or torn nails and sugar tablets for diabetic pets or a small pet with low blood sugar.
- Washing up liquid. Washing up liquid, is very effective in removing toxins from the skin and fur. Just remember to rinse thoroughly with water afterwards.
- Contact details. It is worth making a note of phone numbers for your local vet and the emergency service.
- Medical records. If your pet has had any recent treatment or illness, or is on medication, it is worth keeping a copy of their medical records to hand. If your pet needs to visit a veterinary clinic after-hours, your regular vet may not be available and the vet at the emergency service may not have immediate access to your pet’s previous medical history.
Vets Now assumes no liability for the content of this page. This advice is not
a substitute for a proper consultation with a vet and is only intended as a
guide. Please contact your local veterinary practice for advice or treatment
immediately if you are worried about your pet’s health - even if they are
closed, they will always have an out of hours service available. Find out more
about what to do in an emergency.