Did you know that April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month? It’s an initiative of the American Red Cross aiming at educating pet owners about animal first aid.
Familiarizing ourselves with life-saving procedures for our pets BEFORE an emergency occurs will enable us to feel more confident and knowledgeable in time of crisis.
We all hope to never encounter an emergency situation with our pooch, but it’s good to be prepared just in case something DOES happen and we’re able to act quickly!
Take A Hands-On Pet First Aid Class!
I did just that on a weekend in May of 2015. I took a 4 hour pet first aid class instructed by holistic veterinarian Dr. Brian Lapham, DVM, Instructor Southpoint Animal Hospital in Durham, NC, that consisted of a theoretical and a hands-on portion on a K9 dummy.
We got to practice CPR on him and had to breathe into his mouth/nostrils – only when doing it correctly would he start to “breathe” again. Pretty cool experience!
This class was taught for pet sitters from the Triangle Area in NC (Raleigh, Cary, Durham), but the Red Cross offers pet first aid classes for pet owners on a regular basis. Just check their website for workshops in your area. You can also check with your veterinarian – they might hold classes or be able to point you in the right direction of where the next one will be held.
Contents Of My Dog First Aid Kits
I currently have 2 dog first aid kits: One at home, and one in my car. They both contain the following items:
- An ASPCA Animal Poison Control Sticker with their phone number on the outside
- Large print out of our vet’s information on the outside, to include their emergency phone number
- A Brochure regarding what to do in a pet emergency
- A Soft Muzzle (dogs who are in pain may bite and may therefore make it impossible to help them without wearing one)
Did you know? Gauze wrap makes an excellent makeshift muzzle!
- Sterile Gauze Pads in different sizes (1,5″ x 2″, 2″ x 2″, 3″ x 3″)
- Self-Adhering Flexible Bandages (i.e. wrap) in different widths
- Fragrance-Free Wipes
- First Aid Antibiotic/Pain Relieving Ointment (I use Neosporin)
I came across PawFlex Bandages at the Global Pet Expo last month and knew I had to add them to my pet first aid kit inventory! They are non-adhesive, disposable bandages with an attached wound pad for pets (even available for horses).
…by the way…the bandage can also be used on us humans as was demonstrated on my arm at the Global Pet Expo!
Definitely something I now carry on hikes as well.
- Dr. Harvey’s Organic Healing Cream (first aid cream for skin irritations, hot spots, rashes, cuts, sunburn and itching)
- A Digital Rectal Thermometer & lubricant for easy use of thermometer ~ ChasingDogTales.com wrote a great article on How To Take Your Dog’s Temperature!
- An Oral Syringe (to orally administer meds)
- A pair of Tweezers & a Tick Twister
- An Antihistamine (Benadryl, also the benadryl dosage information for dogs: 1 mg per lb of dog weight)
- Disposable (latex) gloves
- Nail Trimmers
- Styptic Powder (stops minor bleeding of clipped nails, docked tails, and superficial cuts)
- 3% Hydrogen Peroxide for Poisoning
- Sterile Saline Contact Lens Solution to flush out wounds
A word of advice regarding the subject of inducing vomiting in your dog: DO NOT induce vomiting if your dog is unconscious or very weak, if it has been more than 2 hours since he’s ingested something poisenous (at this point in time, vomiting won’t help the body rid itself of the substance any longer), or if he ingested bleach, a drain cleaner, or petroleum distillate, as you want to avoid additional burning of the throat when coming back up.
I also keep a sleeping bag in my car as it would make an excellent stretcher to transport a medium to large size injured dog!
I found a great book covering various aspects of dog (& cat) emergencies:
It describes over 150 everyday accidents and emergencies from A -Z, contains an “At-a-glance symptom finder”, and illustrates techniques such as CPR. Also lists human medicines that work for pets.
Where To Get A Dog First Aid Kit
I’ve found several places that sell pet first aid kits online:
1) Dog First Aid Kits ~ Outdoor Safety (variety of kits available from $29.95 – $139.95)
2) AKC Pet First Aid Kit (found on Amazon for $29.42)
3) Pet First Aid Kit (found on nomorerack.com on sale for $13.00, usually $24.99)
Of course you can always put together your very own kit, which is what I did! It’s fun & rewarding all at once 🙂
While it is great to be knowledgeable in dog first aid care, it doesn’t replace a vet’s visit. It may buy some time while getting to your vet, or it may get you through the weekend, but please take your dog in for a follow-up visit, he’s worth it!
What’s in your pet first aid kit? Have you experienced an emergency where you were able to rely on a doggie first aid kit? As always, we’d love to hear from you in our comment section!