April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month, a perfect time for you to start or replenish your dog’s home first aid kit. For real emergencies, there is no substitute for veterinarians or pet clinics, but for day-to-day occurrences, a well-stocked first aid kit for your dog can work wonders. Here are five components every pet first aid kit should have in stock:
A breathable gauze is the number one element of your dog’s first aid kit as it has multiple uses. Be sure to get the kind that’s non-stick or doesn’t require tape as these types can stick to your dog’s fur, causing irritation and making them difficult to remove. Most pet stores carry a dog-friendly gauze.
Gauze can cover and protect a wound, be bound together as a makeshift splint or wrapped around their snout as an emergency muzzle.
First aid or anti-bacterial ointment made for humans can also be the perfect medication for your dog’s minor scrapes and cuts. Applying a thin coat 3 or 4 times a day can protect the wound, clean out any bacteria and provide itch relief.
Some dogs may try to lick off this ointment, so cover the wound with non-stick gauze or put your dog in a neck collar to prevent them from being able to access the wound or the topical ointment.
- Saline Solution
If your dog likes to dig around in the dirt or run around the beach, they may get sand or grit in their eyes causing a slight irritation. Your pup’s reaction will be to try and wipe their eyes with their paws which can actually be worse, especially if they already have that same dirt on their paws. The basic saline solution for humans that is bought over-the-counter can be used to help clear out your dog’s eyes.
When you don’t have any saline solution on hand, the homemade version is a mix of ¼ teaspoon of salt with 1 cup of lukewarm water.
- Hydrogen Peroxide
Unlike for humans, hydrogen peroxide is not recommended to clean out your dog’s wounds. The reason to add this to your dog’s first aid kit is as an emergency vomit inducer. Under the direction of a vet or the poison control center, use a small turkey baster or syringe to squirt a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to the back of your dog’s throat.
The recommended amount of hydrogen peroxide is approximately 1 milliliter (ml) of the liquid for every pound your dog weighs. A simpler ratio is 1 teaspoon for every five pounds your dog weighs. If your dog weighs more than 45 pounds, the amount they should be given in order to vomit should not exceed a maximum of 45 milliliters or 9 teaspoons.
- Puppy Paperwork
A first aid kit is the perfect place to keep all your dog’s important health information. Your file should include details of when they got their needles, their regular veterinarian’s contact info, a list of local emergency pet clinics, regular medicines, allergies and the phone number for the pet poison center.
Talk to your dog’s veterinarian to find out any other necessary items for your pup’s first aid kit based their age, breed and medical history. A properly-stocked first aid kit can never replace a canine medical professional but it can make a big difference for the health and welfare of your dog.