We all are aware of the important things to have in our first aid kit for ourselves, but what about for our dogs? They are a part of the family and oftentimes go on adventures with us. Whether you’re going hiking, camping, the beach, or even just taking a trip to the dog park, injuries can happen anywhere at any time. We’re going to help you create a dog first aid kit to keep in your car, backpack, home, or wherever it is easily accessible for you and your dog. All of these items can be found at your local pharmacy. 

  1. Bottled Water: Often overlooked, but definitely one of the most important things to keep handy. Useful in situations of dehydration, heat exhaustion, wound care and cleaning, and more. It is imperative that you have access to clean water in an emergency. Don’t forget to pack a water bowl as well!
  2. Absorbent gauze pads: Used to cover and or clean wounds.
  3. Gauze Roll: To bandage an injury or wound.
  4. Vet Wrap or Self Adhesive Wrap: This is a great outer bandage layer. You do need to be careful when applying this, since if applied too tightly, it can cut off circulation and cause more damage. Just wrap lightly. 
  5. Adhesive medical tape: Used to hold a bandage on and make makeshift band-aids. 
  6. Cotton balls or swabs: Used to clean wounds and apply medications. Cotton balls can also be used as ear plugs in a pinch.
  7. Fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide: This can be used to induce vomiting (always check with veterinarian or animal poison control expert before giving to your pet) and cleaning wounds. 
  8. Emergency Ice pack: To reduce swelling/pain.
  9. Disposable gloves: To keep your hands clean and keep any bacteria on your hands from getting into your pet’s wound.
  10. Scissors with blunt end (bandage scissors): A great all purpose tool! They can cut tape and bandage material safely as well as cut rope/twine/etc. if your pet happens to get tangled in it.
  11. Tweezers: To remove small bits of debris (sticks/glass/grass/etc.) from a wound when cleaning. If your pet is choking on something and you can see it in his or her throat, tweezers can also be carefully used to remove the object.
  12. Over the Counter Antibiotic ointment: Examples include Neosporin or Triple Antibiotic Cream. It can be applied to any cuts or wounds before covering them with a bandage. 
  13. Oral syringe or turkey baster: To give medications, water, peroxide to induce vomiting, and/or to flush wounds.
  14. Liquid dishwashing detergent (preferably non-concentrated Dawn): To wash your hands and bathe your pet if they happen to get into something they shouldn’t, i.e., motor oil, mud, or feces of wild animals.
  15. Towels: To dry your hands and/or your pet. Can help keep your pet warm if his or her body temperature drops. Can also be used to put pressure on a wound to stop bleeding. You can also use towels as a sling if your dog has any mobility issues. 
  16. Small flashlight: Useful when in the dark, but also to allow you to see in a more direct and focused light when checking your pet for injuries or tending to an injury.
  17. Alcohol wipes: To keep tools/hands clean and sanitary.
  18. Styptic powder (ClotIt powder): To stop bleeding, especially used with broken toenails.  You can use flour or cornstarch in a pinch!
  19. Saline eye solution: To flush your dog’s eyes if they are ever exposed to a toxin or get debris in their eyes, i.e., sand, dirt, sprayed by a skunk, etc. Can also be used to flush wounds.
  20. Artificial tear gel: Also to protect your pets eyes, especially in dry climates. 
  21. Chlorhexidine/Iodine solution (Diluted): To clean and flush wounds to prevent infection.
  22. Dog food: Keeping some of your dog’s food on hand to make sure he or she doesn’t go hungry. It can also be used as a distraction if needed!
  23. Any medications your pet takes: It’s always a good idea to have some extra as a backup!
  24. Phone number, clinic name, address of your veterinarian as well as local veterinary emergency clinics: Keep this list handy and updated regularly depending on where you are.

Ideally, you should be able to keep all of these items in a first aid kit (bag or box). As with any first aid kit, remember to check expiration dates and quality of products regularly to keep fresh products in your kit.

For related discussions, check out our guides to summer and fall pup safety.

***Please remember that in any instance where your pet loses consciousness, stops breathing, ingests a toxin or poison, or you believe he or she is having a life-threatening emergency, contact an emergency veterinary service right away and take your pet to the closest clinic.***