Tweezers are a must-have for anyone who spends a lot of time outside. Splinters and other foreign materials can be removed from wounds with them, and they’re also an effective initial line of protection against ticks.
A tick removal tool can also be beneficial, particularly for families that spend a lot of time hiking or camping—or if you live near the woods.
Both human and canine first-aid kits benefit from scissors. They can be used for everything from cutting out an object stuck in your dog’s fur to liberating them from something knotted in their fur to cutting gauze or putting together a splint.
- Packs of ice or hot water
The ability to administer cold and/or heat therapy to your dog in the event of an injury is critical. You can start with ice and then switch to heat if your dog appears to have sustained an acute injury or is sore after hard exercise. Always place a cloth between the pack and your dog’s skin, and check for redness or irritation frequently.
Cold therapy can help your dog feel better by reducing edoema and inflammation while also alleviating discomfort (as it helps reduce the damage to muscles). It can also help to reduce muscle spasms and speed up the healing process.
If your dog is suffering from a condition like arthritis, your hot pack will come in helpful, since heat therapy can shorten the time it takes for your dog to recover owing to the increased blood flow induced by the heat.
- Contact Info
You’ll want to keep a list of phone numbers on hand at all times, and your first aid kit is a wonderful place to store them. Make a list that contains the phone numbers for your normal veterinarian, an emergency veterinarian, animal control, and animal poison control. It’s also a good idea to save these phone numbers in your phone.
Splint rolls that are moldable and foam-covered are ideal for dogs. A splint can assist reduce movement and keep your dog as comfortable as possible while you seek emergency care if you fear your dog has fractured a bone in his or her lower limb (or torn a ligament).
- Powder for clotting blood
It’s all too tempting to panic if your dog is bleeding from an injury. The good news is that there is something that can help halt the flow of blood until the wound can be treated, whether it’s from an animal bite, a gash from playing a little too rough outside, or a ripped toenail.
Dog-specific blood clotting powder can help keep bandages from being soaked in blood (and of course protect the interior of your car on the way to the vet or animal hospital). But, more crucially, if your dog has suffered major blood vessel damage, it can help avoid serious and even life-threatening blood loss.
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Because it can be used to induce vomiting in some instances, hydrogen peroxide might be a useful tool in your dog’s first aid kit (provided you have the OK from your veterinarian). Even better, if your dog has a run-in with one of the nasty critters while wandering in the woods, it can be used as part of a pet deskunking recipe (or playing in the backyard). If you’re going to use it to disinfect wounds, don’t be too cautious—it’ll have to be diluted (your vet can help).
- Gauze (or Vet Wrap)
A roll of gauze can be used as bandages, a tool to stop bleeding, and padding for splints in both human and canine first aid kits. Because it sticks to itself and is water resistant, Vet Wrap is an excellent choice for your four-legged pet.
- Antibiotic Ointment
Minor wounds in your dog can be treated with antibiotic ointment. Most over-the-counter medications are safe for pets, but you should avoid allowing your dog to lick it (and be sure to keep it away from their eyes).
Even better, there are pet-friendly fast-acting ointments that may be used to treat minor ailments such as rashes and wounds, sores, dry skin, and even allergies—and they won’t hurt your pet if consumed unintentionally.
Nobody enjoys having to muzzle their four-legged buddy, but many dogs become anxious and even aggressive after an injury. A breathable mesh muzzle that can be adjusted to any size is a useful item to have on hand in case your dog needs emergency medical attention and isn’t cooperating with the vet.