The first aid supplies every dog ​​owner needs

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Photo: Liudmyla Guniavaia (Shutterstock)

Like human children, your canine children are not immune to cuts, burns, sprains and other injuries, ranging from very minor to life-threatening. Because the dogs can’t really tell us what hurts and how much, it’s up to us to be on the lookout for problems and know how to deal with them. This includes having first aid supplies on hand to slow bleeding, cleaning and dressing wounds, and administering other basic care until you can get professional help.

Note that first aid should not replace veterinary care, it simply saves time in an emergency. If you’re wondering if you should go to the vet, it doesn’t hurt to call. They can often help you assess the severity of an injury and whether further care is recommended.

Pet First Aid Kit Checklist

There are a few essentials to gather for your first aid kit, depending on the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMA):

  • Gauze
  • Non-stick and self-adhesive dressings
  • Tape
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Antibiotic spray
  • Milk of Magnesia (only used under the direction of a veterinarian or poison control!)
  • digital thermometer
  • Dropper or syringe
  • Flash light
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • soft muzzle
  • microfiber towel
  • Extra leash and collar
  • Collapsible bowl
  • Immunization records

You can find most of these items, used for basic wound cleaning and bandaging, at a regular pharmacy. A dropper can be used to rinse wounds or administer liquid medication, while tweezers are essential for removing splinters or ticks. A soft muzzle can be helpful if your dog is in pain or not used to being handled, which makes him more prone to biting.

Finally, get a dopp kit or small gear box for storage.

If you don’t want to put together a kit yourself, you can actually buy pet-specific first aid kits in different sizes and price points. Kurgo and Adventure Medical Kits are two brands that market pet first aid kits, including smaller versions for travel or outdoor activities.

Take a Pet First Aid Course

Although basic human first aid training is better than nothing, a little pet-specific knowledge can be helpful when working with an injured dog. The Red Cross has a 35-minute online introductory lesson in first aid for cats and dogs, or you can contact shelters, rescue organizations or boarding houses for dogs, daycare centers and training centers in your area to see what courses are offered in person.

At the very least, carefully read the Basic AMVA Procedures for pet first aid. Then make sure you know the phone number and location of your nearest emergency vet as well as your regular healthcare provider. The ASPCA also runs a 24-hour service poison control hotline for pets at 888-426-4435 – note that they may charge you for a phone consultation.

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