Preparing a First Aid Kit for Your Pet

Planning a last minute vacation? Taking your pet on a day trip? In addition to packing food and water, it’s important to have a first aid kit on hand in case your pet sustains an injury while away from home. While your family veterinarian should always examine your pet following any injury to make sure it didn’t sustain any permanent damage, here is some advice from the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association on how to help stabilize your pet until you can get veterinary care.

Recommended Supplies for Your Pet’s First Aid Kit
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • table salt (or prepared saline for contact lenses)
    • homemade saline may be made using approximately ½ tsp salt and 8 oz. water; although it will not be sterile
  • bottled water
  • grease-cutting dish detergent (such as Dawn)
  • waterless hand sanitizer
  • instant ice pack
  • liquid Pepto Bismol
  • liquid Benadryl
  • triple antibiotic ointment (ex. Neosporin)
  • artificial tears ointment (or a tube of petroleum jelly)
  • leash/carrier
  • muzzle (or length of cotton rope or cloth belt)
  • sterile gauze squares (or individually wrapped sanitary napkins)
  • tape (adhesive or masking)
  • vaccination records
  • poison control number
  • dose syringe or turkey baster
Suspected Ingestion of Poison
  • Call Poison Control FIRST
  • If recommended, induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide. Do not attempt this without professional advice. Some poisons should not be vomited. Doing so may cause additional damage to the pet’s mouth and esophagus as the poison passes through these areas again.
Greasy Substance on Feet or Hair Coat
  • Apply liberal amounts of dish detergent, wash off thoroughly
Heat Exhaustion
  • Cool dog with water and ice packs
  • Get veterinary attention immediately
Vomiting/Diarrhea
  • Give liquid Pepto Bismol
  • Be sure to ask your veterinarian for the dosage appropriate for your pet in advance.
Allergic Reactions (hives, swollen/itchy eyelids)
  • Administer Benadryl
  • Be sure to ask your veterinarian for the dosage appropriate for your pet in advance.
Convulsions
  • Cool off your dog with an ice pack placed inside/between its thighs
  • Call your veterinarian if the convulsion lasts for more than 5-10 minutes
  • Follow up with a veterinarian immediately
Injuries
If your pet is in pain or frightened, it is in the best interest of both you and your pet to use a muzzle before administering treatment.
  • For eye injuries – rinse with saline and seek veterinary care
  • For abrasions – wash gently with detergent and apply antibiotic ointment
  • For lacerations/puncture wounds – rinse well with saline. Wash around the wound with detergent. Cover with gauze or sanitary napkin.
  • Fractured/Broken Bone – minimize movement. If bones are visible through a break in the skin, rinse with saline and cover wound with a bandage. Seek veterinary care immediately.
In all of these cases, it is important to seek veterinary care immediately as infections can develop if a wound is not thoroughly cleaned and treated. If you need a veterinarian, please visit the Find a Veterinarian page for a list of member veterinarians in your area.