So most of us would have some sort of first aid kit in the house for ourselves, but how many of us have thought about having a first aid kit for our pets? Personally, owning three spaniels(!), I always carry a first aid kit around, you never know when they’re going to get into trouble!
So what do we need in a first aid kit?
Right so if we are making our own first aid kit we need either a small box, or bag , just something ideal to carry a first aid kit around in. That’s the easy part… so let’s go through what we need to put into our kit.
If your pet has a wound, we want as little contamination as possible so wearing gloves to clean the wound is a must.
Antiseptic skin cleaner
You will need some sort of antimicrobial skin cleaner. We commonly use chlorhexidine (often sold as “Hibiscrub”) – it is used as a surgical scrub in a veterinary practice. It’s great to use when diluted to clean any cuts or abrasions. If this is put into a first aid kit it is important that it is never used around eyes. And it must always be diluted with saline/water to a ratio of 1 part hibiscrub to 10 parts water.
Human first aid kits have saline water pods, if you can get some of these to put in your kit that would be great to dilute the hibiscrub or to just clean a wound with. Sterile saline wipes are also ideal to use if these are easier to use/purchase. Water pods are also to use for any eye injuries that need flushing out.
A kidney dish
You can purchase these online, these are great to use to dilute hibiscrub in. You don’t have to have one of these, this would make the ultimate first aid kit. But I think they are a great idea. They also make somewhere clean that you can put dressings etc while you’re sorting out a wound.
This is used, wetted with antiseptic or saline, to help clean any wounds or abrasions.
These can also be used to clean a wound, often brought sterile, they’ll help prevent more contamination.
Sterile dressing pad
If we have a wound that needs covering, ideally we need a sterile dressing pad, this will cover the wound without sticking to it, so will be easy to remove and with it being sterile, it will minimize contamination. Make sure you get several, ideally of different sizes, for different sized wounds.
This bandage is soft, almost like cotton wool, this is used to pad the area that you’re bandaging.
This type of bandage is stretchy, it is used on top of a padding bandage, to help hold it in place.
This is also known as “vet wrap”. This is the final part of a dressing. This type of bandage constricts when it settles on the affected area. When applying this it is so important it isn’t applied tight. This bandage does stick to itself.
It is always handy to have some scissors!
Ticks should always be removed with care so having a proper tick remover is a must.
Great for pulling out any things like thorns out of a dog’s foot.
This is just really the basics of a first aid kit if your dog or cat has a wound. You could also add into there things like a thick towel, foil blanket. A foil blanket can be used if there has been a major accident and the patient has gone into shock, they often drop in body temperature, a blanket can be used to dry off a patient or help move a patient. Thermometers can also be added, make sure you know what a normal temperature is though. A muzzle, if you have a dog, it is worth buying a muzzle, even though we wouldn’t want to think of our pets biting us, in a painful or stressful situation you never know. It’s always handy to have your vets’ contact details written down too so if there was an emergency you don’t have to go hunting around finding the number.
Do I really need to carry a first aid kit around with me?
No, of course not – it is entirely up to the individual. I personally always have it in the house, but if I go on a good long walk I will take some supplies in the car with me, just in case. Some people may choose not to have one which is fine.
Can I learn basic first aid for my pet?
There are often several local talks/courses that owners can go on to learn about basic pet first aid, your vet practice may even put on a talk. It is always handy to attend one, just to learn about how to use the dressings etc and what to look out for in various situations.
In fact, we’d always recommend learning the proper way to manage wounds and emergencies, and how to put on a bandage safely, before you need to do it.
Having your own first aid kit is great to have. It’s always handy to buy more than one supply of bandages and a few dressings, though, as you never know what you would need. This is for basic first aid, remember: for patching up until you can get to a vet. Never try and just treat a wound yourself, always seek veterinary help as soon as you can, we don’t want any infections brewing.
Instead of making your own you can also buy a kit online, they are all about the same, some may contain bits that others don’t so it’s worth looking around and seeing what you want it to include.