Be prepared… what you need to know for pet first aid kit and how to build one!

pet first aidMost of us have a first aid kit for humans either in our car or our home…or both. But have you ever considered having a first aid kit handy for treating your pets?  If you don’t have a first aid kit for your pets in your household, now is a good time to get one, or you can easily build one.  You can start with a first aid kit built for humans and then consider adding the following items:

  • A fresh, unexpired bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide. This isn’t for cleaning wounds necessarily, but rather for inducing vomiting if your dog gets into something poisonous! Accidental poisonings in our pets occur thousands of times a day across the world, so you always want to be prepared to induce vomiting if necessary. That said, never induce vomiting without consulting your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680, an animal poison control first), as it may make your pet worse.
  • A bottle of liquid dish soap (e.g., Dawn, Joy, etc.). Most households already have a bottle of liquid dish soap handy but ensuring you have enough for emergencies is critical. For example, if your cat accidentally had a dog flea and tick medication put on it, you’ll need to bath off this chemical immediately to prevent tremors and seizures. Likewise, if your pet rolled in something poisonous (like motor oil, etc.), you can safely administer a bath with liquid dish soap.
  • A can of canned tuna (in water) or a can of chicken broth. You’re probably wondering why this needs to be in a first aid kit. Well, several plants (e.g., Dieffenbachia, Poinsettias, etc.), household products (e.g., glow sticks) and household cleaners can cause severe foaming and drooling of the mouth due to irritation. By simply diluting the taste or chemical out of your pet’s mouth with something tasty (like the water from the tuna), it can safely flush out the mouth and esophagus. This is much safer than using a spray or hose to flush out the taste from your pet’s mouth, as there is a chance your pet could aspirate that fluid into their lungs.
  • A few cans of dog or cat food and bottles of water. As the nightly news tells us, disasters can strike anywhere so you need a “pet bag to go” in case of emergency. Making sure that you have pop-off lid canned food is important in case you need to feed your pet during a disaster. Don’t use dry kibble (which can go rancid after years) or cans that require a can opener (since you’re unlikely to remember to grab your can opener on the run!).
  • A quart size bag full of kitty litter. Again, you never know when you have to evacuate quickly with your pet. Keeping a bag of kitty litter in your first aid kit or in your cat carrier is imperative in case you’re on the run.

As time and circumstances have taught us, we can’t predict when disaster or tragedy strikes but attempting to be prepared (and keep the first aid materials in a box with a copy of the notes above so you know what to do in instances of illness or injury) will do much to help treat your pet at home, prevent costly veterinary treatments and possibly save your pet’s life.

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