A dog first aid kit is important for those moments when your pooch gets hurt. Not only is it convenient when you are out for days with your furry friend, but it could also be a matter of life and death for him. Here is what you need to know about building the best dog first aid kit.
Watching your pup suffer from an accident is the most harrowing of experiences ever. It can be a ghastly fall down a cliff while hiking through a canyon. You could be strolling your normal evening stroll then out of nowhere this cyclist loses control and comes crashing onto your pooch. Maybe you left a pack of pesticide pellets unattended and your pooch though it’s a tasty treat.
Accidents, whether knowingly or unknowingly, can happen to our dogs anytime and anywhere. What you do in the next 10 to 30 minutes determines if your pup lives to see another day or what you are left with is memories of him. What makes a big difference in these defining moments is having a dog first aid kit by your side.
In addition, having a first aid kit for dogs is not enough. You also need to know how to use it whenever an accident happens. This means going over your dog first aid kit regularly and familiarizing yourself with each item in it.
Tips for Buying a Dog First Aid Kit
Pet first aid kits are readily available for purchase in online merchant stores. You can also walk into a pet store and buy your first pet first aid kit over the counter. The following tips should guide you on what to look for when selecting first aid kits for dogs.
Size of Dog First Aid Kit
Pet first aid kits come in either small or large sizes depending on the number of items inside. The small kit contains around 20 first aid items and is lightweight for portability. Its compact size allows you to squeeze it conveniently in your travel suitcase or use the provided belt-loop to strap it around your waist.
The larger kits are the kind you throw in your trunk next to your spare tire and car toolbox. It comes in handy in case of a road accident that involves your pet or anyone else’s pet. A large dog first aid kit can contain up to 50 items organized in compartments for easy reach. This kit provides the best value for money because the number of items inside will last you for a while. You could even divide the items to make up a portable and also car first aid kit.
Alternatively, you could buy both kits so they come in handy when you need them. The choice is yours.
Approval Dog First Aid Kit
There are various brands of pet first aid kits online or at a pet store. As you compare between brands, you have to ensure that all the first aid kits displayed are approved by necessary authorities. The best dog first aid kit is approved and licensed for use by the American Kennel Club. Their seal of approval is a guarantee that every item inside the first aid kit is safe for use on your dog.
Updated Pet First-aid manual
An outdated pet first-aid manual can cause you to err at the most critical point of your dog’s life. Therefore, ensure your dog first aid kit comes with the latest pet first aid manual. It will have more options on performing specific first aid procedures on dogs. This manual will also include more accident situations your pup is likely to face today and how to manage those situations to save your pooch’s life.
A good first aid kit for dogs has a list of emergency numbers you can call when your dog or any other dog is in danger. Take note that pet organizations like the Animal Poison Control Center or the Emergency Disaster Hotline may, once a while, update their helpline numbers. Such changes should be captured on your pet first aid kit.
This includes information about the safety of your pet while performing first aid on them and your safety while handling the kit. If you are a rookie in first aid, you should always read this information to know your way around the first aid kit. This will help you make decisions faster during emergency situations.
Your Free Dog First-aid Kit Checklist
There are always those items that should never miss in your dog first aid kit whether you buy it expensive or cheap, large or smaller options. They include;
Bandages are great for stopping bleeding and covering a wound to prevent further infection. Bandages are sold in bulk rolls which is great for applying enough pressure to the injured area. A roll of bandages could be used to apply pressure on your dog’s leg when broken to minimize movement around the fracture.
Sterile Absorbent Gauze
Sterile absorbent gauze is used to prep or clean small wounds before performing further first aid. Just like bandages, sterile gauze also protects wounds from getting infections. Also, sterile gauze are absorbent to absorb liquids and keep wounds dry.
Cotton wool is used for cleaning and padding wounds. It can also be used to protect small wounds,like a bruise or tiny cut, from being infected. Cotton wool must not be used in open wounds as its fibers can irritate or stick on the wound when it dries causing more distress when removed.
Non-adhesive absorbent dressings
Non-adhesive absorbent dressings are more versatile than sterile gauze. They can be used on both moderate or heavily oozing wounds. These dressings have minimized friction on the wound and are perforated for minimized contact with the wound.
Surgical sticky tape
Surgical or medical sticky tape is used to hold a dressing or bandage over a wound. It reinforces the bandage/dressing further to protect wounds from infection. It also comes in handy when securing a broken leg in position.
Thick towels can be placed on the ground to provide an ample surface for your dog to lie down when performing first aid. Towels can also be used for covering up a dog while getting them out of a burning building or if the poor thing suffered multiple wounds all over its body.
Curved scissors with blunt ends
Curved scissors are ideal for cutting the hairs around a wound before cleaning and patching your dog. The curved tip ensures you do not jab at the affected area while trimming hairs and cause more pain. If you have surgical experience, a pair of blunt-end scissors can be used to cut through thick layers of skin or muscle.
A pet cone,Elizabethan collar or ‘the cone of shame’ Elizabethan collar is ideal for preventing your pup from scratching himself especially around a healing wound.This gives the wound time to heal faster undisturbed. Most first aid pet cones are foldable to take less space in the kit.
Disposable gloves are a must while attending to an injured dog. It minimizes contamination on wounds and also protects your hands from contamination the first aid kit. In case your pup is covered in a poisonous substance that seeps through the skin, disposable gloves keep your hands protected.
10) Antibiotic Ointment
Antibiotic ointment is useful in treating wounds, burns, boils, or skin grafts that are infected.It is often applied generously before closing up a wound to keep it disinfected while it heals.
A flashlight helps you see through dark or dimly lit environments. If your pooch fell inside a crave or got hurt in the wee hours the flashlight comes in handy. A headband flashlight or headlamp is the best because it frees both your hands to work faster.
12) Alcohol Wipes/ Swabs
Alcohol wipes or swabs are used for disinfecting a fresh wound. They are also used to wipe away fluids before redressing a wound. Alcohol wipes are also handy in disinfecting first-aid tools like scissors or surgical needles before using them.
13) Styptic Powder
Styptic powder is a coagulant used to stop bleeding on wounds. This powder also contains antiseptic properties for disinfecting wounds.
14) Saline Eye Solution/ Artificial Tear Gel
Saline eye solution is used to rinse your dog’s eyes to clean discharge or remove impurity from the eye. On the other hand, artificial tear gel is used to reduce irritation in dry eyes.
15) Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has two uses in a dog first aid kit. It can be used for cleaning and disinfecting wounds in the ears or skin. Peroxide is also used to induce vomiting if your dog swallowed a poisonous substance.
First Aid Tips for Dogs
A lot of dog owners panic when their dog gets into an emergency situation. It is normal, who wouldn’t freak out when their pooch is bleeding profusely or laying on the floor lifeless? However, your dog needs you then more than ever so it is important that you calm yourself down.
Ensure that your dog, and anyone around is safe first before proceeding to examine the dog. Note that an injured dog can get frantic and want to attack anyone who tries to touch it. If you are the dog owner, approach the hurt animal slowly and with affirmation. If it is a stray, you need to call the vets or local pet care agencies to handle the situation.
If you are far from emergency help, like say in the forest, find a place with a good cellular network and call for help. Check the emergency numbers on the dog first aid kit and call the most relevant one. Have a pen and paper or a smartphone ready to write down any reference number you are given.
If you suspect your pup will get violent when injured, put a muzzle or pet cone on him. Other people, even strangers, will be willing to help if they see the animal is contained. Thick towels can be handy in restraining the dog in case a collar/muzzle is not present.
Examine your dog to determine what kind of emergency care it needs. Is the dog having difficulties in breathing, is breathing rapidly or wheezing while breathing? Continuous coughing is also a sign of choking or breathing difficulty. Does the dog appear weak, dull, or having problems standing up? Is the animal experiencing pain or severe discomfort?
Once you assess the situation, you will be able to determine the steps to follow when administering first aid. For example, a dog that broke its leg needs a painkiller to numb the pain before securing the leg with surgical adhesive tape. If the fracture is too fatal, do not attempt to wrap a splint around the leg as this will cause more pain on the animal.
If you suspect poisoning in your dog, use the peroxide to induce vomiting. If the dog swallowed a poisonous plant in the woods, a sample of its vomit can help identify the plant. If your dog swallowed a poisonous substance, inducing vomiting then carry a sample when rushing your dog to a vet clinic. Inducing vomiting should only be done after getting a go-ahead from a professional vet.
In case of heavy diarrhea from poisoning your dog needs to be constantly hydrated. If the pup is too weak to drink, you may have to him through sub q fluids.
When your dog gets a contaminant on its coat, use the pet cone to prevent it from licking itself. Use the blunted scissors to clip part of its hair to obtain a sample of the toxic chemical. Take this sample with you to a vet for further diagnosis.
Never offer human medication to an injured or sickly dog. Aspirin may help with your inflammation but it may contain an ingredient that will harm your dog. Only use vet approved medication on your dogs. Most pet first aid kits should have an adequate supply of dog medication. If not, consider it when building your own dog first aid kit.
A pack of ice and antihistamine ointment can help soothe a sting. Ensure the ointment is pet approved to prevent further complications.