Knowing basic first aid and having a first aid kit for your dog, is an important thing to have to hand as a dog owner, just in case your dog receives any injuries. A lot of the items in our own first aid kit can be used but it’s always good to have one specifically for your dog, so that you know the items in it are safe to use for your dog. I am going to go through how to make a dog first aid kit and what items you should include, so that you will be prepared for any eventuality.
It’s always better to be prepared than to be caught off guard and not know what to do so having a first aid kit and the phone number of your vet to hand when needed are the first things you should have prepared. In an emergency you may not be able to move your dog or your might have to care for your dog until they can get to see the vet, so having some basic first aid knowledge and essential items is always useful, just in case an accident should happen.
Knowing First Aid
Knowing some basic first aid could save your dogs life. Just like us, dogs have accidents which will sometimes need medical attention. And there may not be enough time to get them to the vets without some kind of treatment, this is why some knowledge of first aid as a dog owner is important to have. It can also be used if needed for more minor treatments, until you can get your dog to a vet for a check over.
What Should You Have In A First Aid Kit?
Knowing what should go into your dogs first aid kit could be the key to keeping them alive and well no matter what the situation. You should always have one in your home and If you do a lot of traveling and walking in places like parks or on trails away from the home, then you should also have a kit in your car for emergencies that you can take with you on your adventures.
As I mentioned before most of the items in your dogs first aid kit will be similar to those that you have in your own first aid kit that you will have at home for your family. But there are also some things that need to be specialised for your dog.
Here are some basic items that you should always have in your dogs first aid kit:
Saline Solution – a saline solution is great to use to clean out wounds, it can also be used to clean around the eyes and ears. So is an essential item for a first aid pack. If your dog gets a cut use saline solution to flush out the wound making sure there is no dirt or debris in the cut to prevent infections. You can buy ready-made sachets perfect for a travel first aid kit, or bottles of saline solution to keep in your pack, but you can also make up a batch yourself to use for bathing a wound or cleaning a specific area.
Making a home-made saline solution
1 cup (250ml) distilled water or if you use tap water make sure it has been boiled.
½ teaspoon (2.5ml) salt.
Stir the mixture until the salt has completely dissolved then leave to cool, store in the fridge.
Roll of absorbent cotton, cotton balls, gauze pads, Micropore tape – For dressing wounds.
Pair of small scissors – Make sure they have rounded ends for safety.
Tweezers – For removing debris from wounds, splinters etc.
Bulb syringe – For suction to remove mucus from the mouth or nose.
Injection syringe – Make sure it is without the needle, this can be used to give liquid medication, or for flushing out a wound with saline solution.
Clean sock – It’s always handy to keep a sock in the first aid kit as they are perfect to put on your dog to cover a wounded paw, or leg injury.
Ice pack – Keep an ice pack in your freezer, and add it to the first aid kit when you are traveling, if your dog is injured they are great to prevent swelling, and cool down tissue temperature to prevent tissue damage (never put an ice pack directly on the skin wrap first in a towel or piece of clothing).
Small flashlight – It is always good to keep a flashlight in a first aid kit in case an accident occurs and there is no other source of light or extra light is needed.
Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) – Is a good medication to use for your dog to treat allergies, bites and bee stings, be careful of the dosage that you give which should be 1 mg to every pound of dogs body weight, twice a day, contact your veterinary to check dosage for your dog to make sure you are giving correct amount.
Styptic powder – Is generally used to stop bleeding of the dogs nails when they have been cut too short, it can also be used on superficial cuts to stem the bleeding.
Muzzle – It is always good to keep a muzzle handy in a first aid kit, even the most laid back friendly dogs when injured and in pain may bite out of fear, it is also good if you have to ask for help with your dog and a stranger is helping you. It helps keep humans and dogs safe.
Mylar Blanket – Exactly the same as with a human when a dog is injured it is important to maintain their body heat, Mylar blankets are compact and lightweight so perfect to keep in the first aid kit. Wrap your dog in it if hurt to keep them warm and they are also good to lie them on if they have a wound rather than on the dirt.
Foldable bowl – Perfect to keep in the kit to give your dog fresh water or food, especially if you are not near a water source or you are concerned that the water source available could be contaminated.
Take a class
To be completely confident that you know what to do for your dog if they have an accident or reaction etc, you can take a dog first aid course, there are courses you can take online and also physical ones too.
Ready and Confident
When you have all of these items together they should fit neatly into a container that has a seal-able lid. This will help to keep everything clean and sterile as it is not something you will need every day, and will probably just sit in a cupboard or your car. It is also a good idea to keep the name and contact details of your vet inside the first aid kit taped onto the lid is a good place, so even in a panic you will know what to do. I would also put the number of your local emergency animal hospital as well in case something happens at a time when your normal vets are closed, if you contact your own vet they will be able to give you the details of where to go when they are not open.
Hopefully you will never need to use your dogs first aid kit, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry, so having a first aid kit available and some basic first aid knowledge you will always be well-prepared to take care of your dog in any situation.