January 20, 2015
What You Should Have in Your Pet's First-Aid Kit
Learn what supplies you'll need to keep your cat, dog, or other pet safe and healthy
Everyone who shares a home with a pet should have a basic pet first-aid kit on hand.
Keep your pet's first-aid kit in your home and take it with you if you are traveling with your pet.
One way to start your kit is to buy a first-aid kit designed for people and add pet-specific items to it. You can also purchase a pet first-aid kit from a pet-supply store or catalog. But you can easily assemble your own kit by gathering the items on our lists below.
- Pet first-aid book
- Phone numbers: your veterinarian, the nearest emergency-veterinary clinic (along with directions!) and a poison-control center or hotline (such as the ASPCA poison-control center, which can be reached at 1-800-426-4435)
- Paperwork for your pet (in a waterproof container or bag): proof of rabies-vaccination status, copies of other important medical records and a current photo of your pet (in case he gets lost)
- Nylon leash
- Self-cling bandage (bandage that stretches and sticks to itself but not to fur—available at pet stores and from pet-supply catalogs)
- Muzzle or strips of cloth to prevent biting (don't use this if your pet is vomiting, choking, coughing or otherwise having difficulty breathing)
Basic first-aid supplies
- Absorbent gauze pads
- Adhesive tape
- Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray
- Blanket (a foil emergency blanket)
- Cotton balls or swabs
- Gauze rolls
- Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
- Ice pack
- Non-latex disposable gloves
- Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)
- Rectal thermometer (your pet's temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
- Scissors (with blunt ends)
- Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
- Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies)
- A pillowcase to confine your cat for treatment
- A pet carrier
Other useful items
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), if approved by a veterinarian for allergic reactions. A veterinarian must tell you the correct dosage for your pet's size.
- Ear-cleaning solution
- Expired credit card or sample credit card (from direct-mail credit-card offers) to scrape away insect stingers
- Glucose paste or corn syrup (for diabetic dogs or those with low blood sugar)
- Nail clippers
- Non-prescription antibiotic ointment
- Penlight or flashlight
- Plastic eyedropper or syringe
- Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) to clean the thermometer
- Splints and tongue depressors
- Styptic powder or pencil (sold at veterinary hospitals, pet-supply stores, and your local pharmacy)
- Temporary identification tag (to put your local contact information on your pet's collar when you travel)
- Needle-nosed pliers
In addition to the items listed above, include anything your veterinarian has recommended specifically for your pet.
Check the supplies in your pet's first-aid kit occasionally and replace any items that have expired.
For your family's safety, keep all medical supplies and medications out of the reach of children and pets.