Eight Things Not To Forget When You Build Your Dog's First Aid Kit

Posted on: 10 August 2016

Having a first aid kit for your dog is as smart as having one for the humans in your household. You can ask your veterinarian about what to include, such as emergency pet meds and dressings for wounds. But here are eight more things you should add that you might not think about right away.

1. Something to Make Pills Easier to Take

You may have all the right medications to administer to your pet at your vet's advice, but getting a dog to take a pill is another story. Throw a jar of peanut butter in your kit, as a dollop can disguise any tablets or capsules. You can also buy ready-made pill pockets at the pet supply store or even make your own (although the latter type have to be refrigerated).

2. Syringes

If you have to give your pup liquid medication, it can be even more challenging than giving pills. An oral syringe makes it easy to give your dog a quick dose of a drug, and you won't be guessing on the measurement either. Put a couple of syringes in different sizes in your first aid kit.

3. Turkey Baster

It can be difficult to wash a wound on a dog, but not all injuries of this nature require a trip to the vet. If you add a turkey baster to your kit, you can perform the same type of lavage that would be done at the clinic, using water or hydrogen peroxide, for example, for cleansing and debridement.

4. Tweezers

If your dog steps on a sharp object or gets stuck with a burr, you don't want to waste time getting it out. Instead of running around the house looking for your eyebrow tweezers, put a dedicated pair in your pet's first aid box. You can get super small, extremely sharp tweezers that are especially made for removing foreign bodies from animals.

5. Blue Dawn Dish Soap

Good old original blue Dawn dish soap is a working dog owner's emergency staple, and it's also used to de-grease water animals after oil spills. It's essential to have on hand if your dog might be exposed to any nasty petroleum-based chemicals, like motor oil or gasoline, which your dog could encounter simply swimming in a busy boat harbor. 

6. Vinegar and Water Douche

There's another type of chemical encounter that many dogs experience, and that's with skunks. Because skunk spray falls under the chemical category of mercaptans (aka thiols), it needs something acidic to undo its effect. You can use the old solution of tomato juice, but vinegar and water douche is so much less messy, and it comes in bottles ready to spray on your dog.

Yeah, you are going to get an odd look at the drugstore, though, when you buy an entire case of douche, which is about what you need for a post-Pepé Le Pew decon. Tip: if the odor is overwhelming to you, use acetaminophen (Tylenol), which is also acidic (but cannot ever be administered to dogs), to counteract its effects.

7. An Old Towel

Old towels are always great to have on hand with dogs, but they come in particularly handy should your dog have any kind of injury affecting the hind legs, from a torn ACL to a stroke. You can use the towel under the dog's belly to help it walk both before and after a visit to the vet--great if you own a large breed dog that can't be carried.

8. A Muzzle or a Bandana

Finally, if your dog is injured, it can bite reflexively and injure even people it knows well, like you or your vet. Keep a muzzle in your kit to protect yourself, or learn how to make an impromptu one from a bandana or piece of fabric.  

For more information, contact Foothills Animal Hospital or a similar location.