As any pet parent knows, the unexpected can happen anytime. Whether at home or on an adventure together, having a well-stocked dog first-aid kit tailored to your dog’s age, health and lifestyle is essential and can make a difference in an emergency. Working dogs and dogs who accompany hikers, campers, and hunters will especially need more targeted first-aid kits as it may not be easy to access a veterinarian.
A basic canine first-aid kit includes:
- Documentation: Your dog’s medical information, your vet’s phone number and numbers for a local emergency vet and pet poison helpline.
- Bandages: Gauze dressing, elastic bandages, first-aid tape
- Tools: Tweezers and blunt scissors
- Antiseptics and antibiotics: Saline solution and vet-approved and dog-safe medications
- Nonalcoholic wet wipes and sterile gloves
First-aid kits tailored to a specific activity, such as hiking or camping, will not only contain the basics, but additional supplies you might need for an extended time outside. Traci Bisson, owner and founder of Golden Dog Adventure Co., advises dog owners to pack based on the hike, conditions, trail and their dog’s, as well as their own, experience with hiking.
When building a dog first-aid kit for an outdoor activity like hiking or camping, include:
- ointment for insect bites
- water to rinse out cuts and bites and for dehydration
- cold compress or ice pack
- bandage wraps and splints for sprains and breaks
- paw booties
- sling backpack to carry your dog out of the woods if necessary
- Benadryl to treat allergic reactions
Alice Whitelaw, Founder & Director of Programs at Working Dogs for Conservation, advises that no matter the activity or location make sure you’ve identified the closest vet with emergency services. She also highly recommends Dr. Randy Acker’s Field Guide To Do First Aid book. It’s been around since 1999, so only available in Kindle version on Amazon.
Preparation can be the key to preventing an emergency from turning into a crisis. Keep well-stocked dog first-aid kits in easy-to-grab locations and regularly check them to replace expired supplies.