pet first aidAdd to First Aid Kits to Accommodate Pets

You probably have a first aid kit in your home and vehicle. Adhesive bandages and antibiotic ointment are useful in many human situations, but furry animals don’t fare well with a Band-Aid®.

Most pre-made kits found in stores are a good start. But here are a few things you might add to a traditional kit.

1. Digital thermometer and sterile lubricant. Remember an animal’s temperature is taken anally. With the pet sitting or lying, gently lift the tail and ease the thermometer in just enough to measure the temperature. The quicker the thermometer reads, the sooner you can be done.
2. Blunt end scissors.
3. Self-adhesive first aid bandages for securing gauze without using tape. Occasionally you can find these, especially for pets. They are treated with bittering agents to deter biting.
4. Anti-diarrheal tablets. Check with a veterinarian and verify dosage before administering.
5. Antihistamine (Benedryl) gel caps and a safety pin to prick the capsule. Then the capsule can be squeezed into the pet’s mouth. Always check with a vet before giving your pet a medicine designed for humans. Not all human drugs metabolize the same way in humans and animals and can cause illness or death.
6. Zip-top bags for collecting specimens and a permanent marker to label with substance and time, in cases of suspicious stool or vomit.

Pet’s weight
Most medications are dosed for different weights. So weigh your pet periodically to know an accurate weight. You can weight yourself alone and then hold a small pet to weigh and deduce their weight. Or you can take them to a vet or pet store to weigh. Many pet stores have scales for pets.

Many other items are necessary to complete a first aid kit. Mine has 30 different items. Here is a terrific resource for building a pet first aid kit:

Pet First Aid
And a pet first aid course is critical. My black lab died in my arms after a stroke, as I sat helplessly. Soon after that, I learned pet CPR! I took a full-day class, where we learned health and emergency protocols, and most of the class was hands-on and practiced. This was far more comprehensive than the half-day class the Red Cross offered. Any training is good, but learn what is available and be sure your instructor uses audio/visual training and that you practice one-on-one with an instructor until you are comfortable. I was trained to teach pet first aid, but other instructors don’t follow the methods and use the aids available. You can also go online to book your first aid course. There are companies such as Coast2Coast mississauga based in Canada that can train you in pet first aid. It goes to show you that no matter where you are, you can get the right training and help to be there for your pet.

Carry a Photo
In the event of an accident, you might become separated from your pet. Always keep with you a picture of you and your pet together, whether on your phone or printed and kept in the car.

Emergency Kit
An emergency kit is for long-range emergencies beyond first aid. You can check back here for a later post for what to include for an emergency kit.

Check out our prior post at

By Beth Crosby