Pet injuries can happen at any time, and it helps to be prepared. If you plan to travel with your pet, putting together a travel pet emergency kit is practical. Having a kit at the ready also keeps you prepared for any minor injuries close to home, like going for a hike or playing in the dog park.
We spoke to two experts to learn what to include in a first aid kit for pets. Dr. Debra Eldredge (DVM) is a veterinarian at Cat World and author of the Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, and Janelle Leeson is a cat travel expert at Cat World.
Where should you keep a pet first aid kit?
Dr. Eldredge and Leeson agree that carrying a first aid kit for dogs and cats in your car is very important. Dr. Eldredge points out that many of the recommended items for a DIY dog first aid kit can even double up for humans. Leeson says it’s also a good idea to pack the kit in a backpack whenever you’re out on an adventure with your dog or cat. With some preparation, you can travel with your dog or cat anywhere and know you can care for them no matter what happens. Learn more safety tips for driving with pets.
If you travel with your pet in an RV, learn more about RVing with pets, to keep your pet safe on the road.
What to include in a pet first aid kit
You’ll want to customize specific pet first aid supplies to your pet’s needs. This includes prescription medications or an EpiPen if your pet has severe allergic reactions to insect bites or stings. In addition, there are several necessities that our experts recommend when you make a dog or cat first aid kit that will help keep your pet safe in an emergency.
Eye and wound washing solution
A solution such as artificial tears can flush out debris that gets into your pet’s eyes.
Saline or chlorhexidine are both good options. You can also use alcohol cleansing pads to clean a wound.
3% hydrogen peroxide
This is handy if your pet eats something they shouldn’t, and you must induce vomiting. Dr. Eldredge notes that you should always check with your vet before giving your pet the correct amount. To prevent your pet from consuming something harmful, steer clear of foods that are harmful to pets.
Antibiotic and Corticosteroid ointment
An ointment will prevent a wound from getting infected. Neosporin is safe for pets if it’s covered or in a spot where your pet can’t lick it. Several over-the-counter antibiotic ointments are safe for dogs and cats and won’t make your furry friend sick if consumed.
This will calm irritated or mildly inflamed skin following a bug bite, sunburn, or minor allergic reaction.
Include gauze rolls, telfa pads to cover wounds, scissors to cut the bandage materials, and some tape to hold everything in place.
Use tweezers to remove small foreign objects that get stuck in your pet’s skin, such as splinters, thorns, or ticks.
If your pet gets hurt, you can wrap them in a towel for easier carrying. A towel is also useful if your pet gets dirty while out exploring.
You can use duct tape for different purposes, such as temporarily mending a broken harness. You can also use it to close or keep a wound dry in an emergency.
When to seek medical attention
Minor cuts and scrapes are easy to mend on your own, but if your pet suffers a more severe injury, don’t hesitate to contact your vet or a local animal hospital. Dr. Eldredge advises that you seek immediate medical attention for an animal bite, an eye injury, a broken bone, a cut that won’t stop bleeding, bloat or if your pet collapses or has a seizure.
If you regularly take your pet everywhere with you, a pet insurance policy might be a good idea. It can help you pay for emergency vet expenses and keep your pet healthy and ready for the next adventure.