A veterinary emergency can occur at any time, and you want to be prepared in case your pet needs urgent care. Basic first aid supplies are important to have on hand, and our team at Livingston Veterinary Hospital wants to help by explaining what supplies are necessary to assemble a well provisioned pet first aid kit.
#1: Waterproof containers to assemble your pet’s supplies
Sturdy waterproof containers are the best way to protect your pet first aid kit supplies. You should have at least two, one to keep in a convenient location in your home, and another, smaller container for your car.
#2: Your pet’s medical history
Ensure you have a copy of your pet’s medical records, especially if they suffer from an illness. If your pet suffers a veterinary emergency, the emergency veterinarian will need to know about your pet’s condition and any medications they are taking, to ensure a treatment doesn’t harm them.
#3: Disposable gloves to use when handling your pet
Your hands are covered in bacteria, and washing your hands may not be possible when dealing with a veterinary emergency. Wearing disposable gloves ensures you don’t transmit these dangerous pathogens to your pet’s wound or eye. Disposable gloves also protect you if you need to remove a toxic substance from your pet’s coat.
#4: Saline solution to irrigate your pet’s wounds and eyes
Sterile saline is important to have on hand if your pet is wounded. Irrigating the wound can help remove debris and may help prevent infection. Never use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol in your pet’s wound, since these products can damage tissue and cause slow healing. Sterile saline is also useful should your pet get a foreign object or a toxin in their eye, because irrigating the eye may help prevent further damage to their cornea and conjunctiva.
#5: Cotton balls and swabs to clean your pet’s wound
Cotton balls and swabs, which can be used to irrigate your pet’s wound to help remove debris, can also be used to gently apply medication to wounds and cuts.
#6: Bandaging material to bind your pet’s wounds
Bandaging material, such as non-stick bandage pads, gauze pads, roll gauze, and self-adhering bandages, are necessary to cover your pet’s wound until you can get them to the closest veterinarian. Use non-stick bandage pads as the first layer to cover burns, cuts, and other wounds, and gauze pads to clean your pet’s wound, and to add absorbent padding on a bleeding wound.
#7: Bandage scissors to cut your pet’s bandage material
Appropriate scissors are necessary to cut the bandage material to the proper length, and to remove bandages safely. Ensure you acquire blunt-tip bandage scissors, so you do not risk cutting your pet when removing a bandage. These scissors can also be used to remove hair around a wound and matted fur in your pet’s coat.
#8: Flashlight to help you better evaluate your pet
Veterinary emergencies don’t happen only during the light of day, and a flashlight can help you determine the extent of your pet’s injury, and to assess your pet’s mucous membrane color to help determine if they are shocky. Their mucous membranes should be pale pink and glisten, and muddy brown, white, or blue mucous membranes indicate they are in significant danger, and should be taken to a veterinary hospital as soon as possible.
#9: Thermometer to evaluate your pet’s temperature
You should have a rectal thermometer to take your pet’s temperature if they are acting lethargic or not eating. A pet’s normal temperature should be 101 to 102.5 degrees. You will need a fever thermometer, since regular thermometers don’t go high enough to evaluate a pet’s temperature. Use a petroleum based lubrication to more easily take your pet’s temperature. Any temperature higher than 103 degrees is concerning, but temperatures higher than 106 could be associated with heatstroke, and potentially lead to multiple organ failure.
#10: Diphenhydramine in case your pet is stung
Allergy tablets can be useful if your pet is stung by a bee or other stinging insect. Always consult with a veterinary professional before administering any medication. Pre-calculate your pet’s medication dose and write their dose on the box, so you won’t have to stop to calculate their correct dose during an emergency situation.
#11: Muzzle in case your pet gets aggressive
When your pet is in pain, they may become aggressive, especially when you are trying to clean and bandage a painful wound. Muzzling them before addressing their wound will ensure they don’t accidentally bite you. Use roll gauze if you need a makeshift muzzle.
#12: Pet treats
Ensure you keep a good supply of your pet’s favorite treats on hand. Treats will help them cooperate during a stressful situation, and may make them less afraid when they are painful.
You should always have Livingston Veterinary Hospital’s contact information on speed dial, as well as Animal Poison Control, in case your pet experiences a veterinary emergency. Our team is always here to ensure your pet receives any care they need urgently.