The Importance of a Dog First Aid Kit
Part of living life and having fun with your dog also means your dog might have an accident. Whether they cut their paw from walking through your neighbourhood, become injured on a hike through the woods, or something more serious, you want to be prepared.
Ideally, you should have a dog first aid kit in both your vehicle and home so there's always one nearby in case you need it. While we hope you'll never need it, the best practice is to have one around because it's better to be prepared than to have something happen to your dog and wish you had a first aid kit.
There are plenty of readymade pet first aid kits on the market such as this one.
It's usually easiest to purchase a readymade pet first aid kit like the one above and add additional items to it to make your kit complete.
Here is a full list of suggested items that your pet first aid kit should contain
Hand crank flashlight or a regular flashlight and batteries
Sterile gauze pads
Vet wrap (also known as self-adherent wrap)
First aid tape
Latex or nitrile gloves
Kwik-Stop styptic powder (stops a broken nail from bleeding)
A muzzle that properly fits your dog(s)
An extra leash (nothing fancy, just a 4 to 6ft long flat leash)
Self-activated hot pack
Self-activated cold pack
Most of the above list is fairly self-explanatory, especially if you're already familiar with human first aid. Some of the items that are more dog-specific shouldn't be overlooked as they can be particularly useful in an unforeseen emergency situation whether you're helping your own dog or someone else's.
Many people think "my dog is so nice! I don't need a muzzle". While your dog might be very friendly under normal circumstances their demeanor can completely change when in pain from an injury. Dogs will do what they can to protect themself from pain and in many cases, this means snapping and/or biting at the person who is trying to help them. Having a muzzle that properly fits your dog ensures you can keep yourself safe while treating their injury.
An extra leash can be an invaluable part of your pet first aid kit. From securing a lost dog you may come across on a trail or on the side of a road to helping you make a splint for a dog's injured leg and more!
Benadryl is a dog-safe antihistamine used to help with the sudden and unexpected onset of an allergic reaction. You never know if your dog has an allergy to something as simple as a bee sting or bug bite until it happens, so it's best to be prepared. Call your vet to find out the correct dosage for your dog (you will need to know your dog's weight).
Emergency Dog Rescue Sling
An emergency dog rescue sling is particularly important if you're hiking with your dog. If your dog is small enough that you feel confident carrying them from the furthest point of your hike all the way back to your vehicle, you may not need this. But if you have a larger dog that you know you couldn't carry alone or would struggle to carry, a rescue sling is highly recommended to safely and quickly get your dog back to a place they can be transported for treatment. Many people find rescue slings extremely helpful for their dog in the event of an injured paw, leg, or something more serious.
The Fido Airlift Pro Emergency Dog Rescue Sling is a great design for a dog rescue sling. It's a lightweight, packable sling that secures your dog in a comfortable position evenly distributing your dog's weight allowing you to carry them like a backpack. Note: The dog's legs are hanging free, not tucked in, and pressed against your body. This is an important feature in case of a paw or leg injury.
Other Important Information
We can't stress enough the importance of taking a pet first aid course. These courses contain important information that could save a dog's life in an emergency situation and contain information that is not covered in human first aid courses. Click here for an online Red Cross pet first aid course.
If your dog takes regular medication or has known allergies, remember to bring any necessary medication(s) with you.
Don't forget to keep a copy of your dog's medical records in cloud-based storage so you can access it quickly from any smartphone with an internet connection. Doing this can be very helpful for an emergency vet, especially if it's after hours and they can't reach your regular vet.