8 Dog First Aid Items You’ve Probably Left Out of Your Kit

These items are often overlooked for pet first-aid kits, but they're essential. Are you prepared?


March is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month, and now is the time to prepare your dog’s first aid kit for emergencies. Keeping dogs safe from harm and having a well-stocked first aid kit is critical. Here are some products and areas of concern that many people forget to consider:

1. Pads to stop bleeding

I hope I never have to use this, but I’m glad I have it with me. This single-use mesh pouch stops bleeding. Should an emergency occur, remove the PetClot from the package, apply pressure to the wound, and the bleeding stops. I’ve actually been on a walk with my dog, Dexter, at the park where we gave this product to someone whose dog was bleeding profusely from the paw, having just stepped on something. She used it, stopped the bleeding, and headed to the vet.

2. Tools for “ticking off”

Stop “tick taxis” in their tracks. Ticks can cling onto dogs and then hitch a ride into your home. Closely examine dogs before allowing them inside after a walk. Areas of interest include ears, face, eyelids, muzzle, and paws. One time, before I went the natural route, a tick adhered to my dog’s head and I thought it was a growth. That nasty thing was removed before he could infect. Two products I have in my dog’s first aid kit are TickSR and a Tick Key, which I have on my key ring as well. You use leverage to remove the entire tick; this is the kind of product that pays for itself the first time you use it.

3. Wax for paw protection

Musher’s Secret is one of my favorite “must haves,” to the point I carry it around in my purse! It is a barrier, food-grade wax for dog paws/pads that acts as an invisible boot. It was developed in Canada for sledding dogs. Apply a thin coat on pads and between toes, weekly. It dries in seconds and does not stain, is nontoxic, non-allergenic, and ranges from $12 to $20, depending on size. Works well on hot pavement, sand, snow, ice, salt, and chemicals.

4. Eye flush

To deal with dirt and debris in the eye post grooming, during allergy season, and even in the winter, an eye flush is a good first aid product to have on hand. Check with your vet on what to use, but I use a sterile buffered solution with purified water as its active ingredient.

5. Syringe

Ever have a sick dog while on vacation? Ugh. I have Mylanta on hand with a syringe anytime we travel, just in case. A syringe is helpful in administering liquid medications and accurately dosing cc’s. Just be sure your dog can take the medicine, how much to dose, and start getting him accustomed to the syringe with water alone. You don’t want to freak the pooch out the first time approaching him with a syringe filled with “boo boo” stuff. Bonus: We also used this with water when my last Cocker Spaniel was ill and wasn’t drinking. We’d give her a few cc’s every hour or so to prevent dehydration.

6. Calming formula

If you have a dog who fears lightning, fireworks, or loud noises and the anxiety wrap shirts have failed, Rescue Remedy is a handy product to have in stock. A few droplets in your dog’s water (note: syringe with water), takes the edge off an otherwise panicky situation. Again, check with your veterinarian before administering anything new.

7. Vet wrap

Way too many people have a first aid kit with bandage material and everything, but sadly no vet wrap. Believe me, you’ll be grateful for vet wrap the first time you need to use it. Some folks also keep a set of dog booties in their canine first aid kit, to protect cut or burned pads on the go (because carrying my dog out on a hiking trail isn’t my idea of fun).

8. Emergency contact information

When I had to evacuate my house within two hours of a potential flood, I thanked my lucky stars I had emergency info intact. Many friends and family members with pets were left scrambling for a place to go. Pet-friendly hotels within three hours of our home were booked solid. So now what?

Be sure to have somewhere to go for backup, a place to crash temporarily, and one that allows dogs. I’d have slept in my car in a vacant parking lot if I had to, but I didn’t. Dog-welcoming friends made our emergency escape feel more like a needed retreat. Happily, the majority of local emergency makeshift shelters allow pets –- as long as you have kennel and vaccine records. If you titer your dog, keep copies of those as well.

Finally, here are some other items that belong in your bag:

  • Hydrogen peroxide, in case you have to induce vomiting
  • Soft, comfy inflatable collar for injuries, rashes or post surgery
  • Sterile water-based lubricant (such as KY Jelly) to help hold fur away from a wound
  • Blanket to cover or carry pet
  • Antibiotic creme

Did I miss any off-the-beaten path items? Bark at me in the comments below!

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