Our pets can experience medical emergencies or accidents that require immediate attention, just like we do. Accidents and injuries can happen anytime and whether you are home, hiking, or traveling, the two most important things you can do in a pet emergency are 1. Remain Calm and 2. Be Prepared. Having an up-to-date first-aid kit on hand and ready to use is a critical first step in preparing for a possible pet emergency. A well-equipped, easily accessible, first-aid kit can help you provide prompt care and comfort to your furry friends in times of need and set them up for a successful recovery, no matter the injury.

April is National Pet First-Aid Awareness Month, a paw-fect opportunity to put together or review the items in your pet first-aid kit. You can house your kit in just about any container, from plastic boxes made specifically for this purpose, to a backpack, fanny pack, or even an old shoe box. You may even wish to create more than one kit for convenience — a small one for hiking, a larger one for the car (especially useful in an evacuation), and one containing all the bells and whistles for use at home.

To get you started weve compiled a checklist of all the items youll want to include in your pets kit:


  • Antiseptic wipes or spray, for wound cleaning and infection prevention.
  • Sterile Saline Solution (Eye Wash), to clean wounds or flush debris or irritants from your pets eyes.
  • Fresh 3% Hydrogen Peroxide, to induce vomiting in case of accidental ingestion of toxins. Contact your vet or pet poison control for specific instructions before administering and be sure to keep an eye on the expiration date, as hydrogen peroxide ages it loses its efficacy.

Basic Wound Dressing:

  • Absorbent Gauze Pads and Gauze Rolls, are useful for wrapping wounds and applying pressure to stop bleeding.
  • Adhesive Tape (hypoallergenic), for securing bandages.
  • Cotton Balls or Swabs, for wound cleaning and fluid absorption.
  • Pressure and Self Adhesive (or Crepe) Bandages, for wrapping wounds, supporting sprained or strained muscles, and even creating a makeshift muzzle, if needed. Note that bandaging your pet too tightly could cause issues with circulation.

Technical Equipment:

  • Scissors (with blunt tips), for cutting tape and trimming gauze and bandages to size.
  • Tweezers, will allow you to remove splinters, ticks, or debris from your pets fur or skin. An expired credit card is also a great tool in a pinch for removing stingers from your cat or dog.
  • Oral Syringe or Kitchen Baster, can be useful for applying saline solution to clean wounds or to administer hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting.
  • Disposable Gloves, will protect your hands from bodily fluids and contaminants, simultaneously reducing the spread of germs and contaminants from your hands to any open wounds on your pet.
  • Hot/Cold Packs, can help reduce swelling and inflammation in the event of bruising or sprains or help increase circulation and give warm support to a dog recovering from shock or injury.
  • Rectal Thermometer, to monitor your pets temperature in case of fever or hypothermia. Normal pet temp is between 101° — 102.5° F.

Additional Equipment/Supplies:

  • Vaseline, keep a small jar on hand to lubricate the rectal thermometer.
  • Styptic Powder or Pencil, will stop bleeding from minor cuts or broken nails.
  • Leash, will enable you to contain or restrict the movement of your dog in an emergency situation. A leash can also be fashioned into a makeshift muzzle or sling, should the need arise.
  • Nail and Grooming Clippers, can be used to trim any broken nails and remove fur around potential wounds
  • Soft Muzzle or Cloth Strips, to prevent your pet from biting or licking the affected areas or possibly acting out toward you in pain.
  • Towel or Blanket, can be used for blood or fluid absorption; wrapped around an injured or panicking animal to soothe, calm, and keep warm; and can protect an injured dog or cat lying on a hot, cold, hard, or rocky surface.


  • Antihistamine or Dyphenhydramine (Benadryl), administered for allergic reactions. Be sure to consult your vet for dosing.
  • Antibiotic Ointment, can be applied to treat minor cuts or scrapes.

Contacts & Instructions:

  • Contact Info, include the phone number and address for your veterinarian, for easy access, as well as the contact information for a local emergency vet clinic or animal hospital in the event the injury occurs during your vets off hours.
  • Phone Number for Poison Control Hotline, keep the phone numbers of 24/7 poison control services in the kit to use if you know or suspect your pet has swallowed something toxic.
    • ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888)426-4435 (consulting fee may apply)
    • Pet Poison Helpline (855)764-7661 (consulting fee may apply)
  • Pet First-Aid Guidebook, a first-aid reference book can help you make the best decisions in unexpected and high-stress situations. There are plenty of excellent books on the market. When choosing one, keep in mind that the most useful guide will be one you are familiar and comfortable with. Choose a layout you find easy to digest, and content you think most likely applicable to your pet, and be sure to familiarize yourself with the guide before placing it in your pets first-aid kit.
  • List of Medications and Doses Taken by Your Pet, when treating an animal in the field or taking them to an emergency vet there may be some treatments, such as inducing vomiting with hydrogen peroxide, that are contraindicated to certain medications. Carrying a list of meds and doses with you will make your life easier, the emergency vet’s life easier, and just might help save your pets life.

A well-prepared pet first-aid kit is an essential resource for pet owners, providing peace of mind and enabling you to respond efficiently and effectively to medical emergencies. Regularly check and replenish the contents of your kit to ensure that it remains up-to-date and ready for use. You may also want to familiarize yourself with basic first-aid procedures and reach out to your veterinarian for guidance on the techniques and doses for administering emergency care to your pet. By taking proactive steps to prepare for emergencies, you can help ensure the health and well-being of your four-legged friend, no matter the circumstances.

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