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What to Put in a Pet First Aid Kit

dog and cat getting a check up
dog getting a check up

Every pet owner should have a pet first aid kit on hand. Being prepared for an emergency means you can quickly address most problems. Here are some essentials to include in your pet’s first aid kit:

Pet Emergency Kit Antihistamines

Antihistamines can be used for a variety of problems, including vaccine reactions, post-vaccine lethargy, and bee sting reactions. They are effective for resolving reactions quickly. Keep Benadryl (diphenhydramine) liquid in your kit at a dosage of 1 mg per pound, which can be repeated after 30 minutes if needed. For larger dogs, capsules are available. Injectable antihistamines work faster and more effectively. Epinephrine is the drug of choice for life-threatening reactions and should be administered by a veterinarian.

What Antibiotics to Include in Your Cat or Dog Emergency Kit

Antibiotics are useful for treating diarrhea and respiratory issues in dogs and cats.

  • Sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim: Effective for Coccidia, diarrhea, and respiratory issues. It needs to be given once daily, making medication easier. The dose is 25 mg per pound, with a double dose on the first day to load the antibiotic.

  • Doxycycline: Helpful for respiratory problems at a dosage of 5 mg per kg.

  • Amoxicillin/Clavamox: Safe for nursing puppies until they are over four weeks old, as their kidneys and liver are not fully developed to handle other antibiotics.

Electrolytes for Pet First Aid

Electrolytes in water are essential for various needs. In cases of diarrhea, electrolytes can prevent dehydration in puppies. They also contain enough sugar to prevent hypoglycemia. Electrolytes are beneficial for weaning puppies and can be life-saving on hot days.

How to Clean Wounds on Dogs and Cats

Vetericyn is excellent for cleaning wounds and as a topical treatment. It can also disinfect umbilical cords on newborns. Chlorhexidine is an effective antibacterial scrub for wounds but should be kept away from the eyes.

Wraps & Bandages for Dogs and Cats

Wraps and bandages are crucial for managing bleeding cuts. Use wraps that stick only to themselves, like Co-flex bandages. Ensure the wrap is not too tight by checking if you can easily fit a finger underneath. Use gauze pads (2 x 2 inches for small breeds and 4 x 4 inches for large breeds) on wounds. When wrapping a leg, start from the toes up and go beyond the wound to prevent swelling. Store bandages in Ziploc bags to keep them clean and accessible.

How to Use Tissue Adhesives on Dogs and Cats

Tissue adhesives like Vetbond are useful for cut ears, dewclaws, tail docks, and other wounds. Apply a tourniquet with hemostat forceps and a rubber band to stop bleeding, dry the tissue with gauze, and apply the tissue glue in small amounts. Wait a few seconds before removing the tourniquet.

Suture/Needle Combos for Dogs and Cats

Suture/needle combos are great for tying off arteries, umbilicals, or stitching a gaping wound. Consult your veterinarian to ensure you have the skills to use them properly.

Pet First Aid Instruments

Essential instruments include two hemostats and bandage scissors. Hemostats can clamp a bleeding artery or remove dewclaws, while bandage scissors can safely cut under wraps without harming the skin.

Cat and Dog Eye Injury Treatment

Terramycin or Vetericyn eye solutions are helpful for treating eye injuries. First, flush the eye with saline, then apply the solution. Terramycin is good for minor infections and preventing irritation during baths. For severe eye issues like puncture wounds, foreign bodies, squinting, color changes, or bulging eyes, seek immediate veterinary intervention.

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