While cats have a reputation for being curious, it’s often dogs who seem to nose around and get into places where they shouldn’t. Bee stings, getting skunked, getting hit by a car – accidents like these and many others can and do regularly occur. If you own a dog it’s best to be prepared with a first aid kit that contains the essentials. You should be able to take care of some minor problems at home and, if something major happens, you can tend to your dog before he gets to the vet. Having the right first aid supplies might save his life.

Your first aid kit
You can buy a ready-made first aid kit online from pet supply retailers or from a good pet store in your area. Or, if you prefer, you can put together your own first aid kit by choosing the individual items you want to include. If you put together your own kit you’ll need a backpack or carryall box, like a tackle box, so you can carry everything. Some people like to keep their first aid kit in the house while others keep it in their vehicle so they’ll have it with them when they travel with their dog. If you travel with your dog a lot – to dog shows, obedience classes, as a therapy dog, and so on – this is a good idea so you’ll have the kit handy when you’re away from home.
first aid kit
What you need in your first aid kit
Here’s a list of some of the things you might need in your first aid kit. If you’re putting your kit together yourself you can start with the most basic items (listed first) and then add more things later.

• 1 – Backpack or case to carry your supplies
• 1 – First aid book
• 1 – Tick remover
• 1 – Skunk odor remover
• 4 – Benadryl (2 packs of 2)
• 1 – Scissors
• 1 – Blanket
• 4 – Towels
• 1 – Thermometer w/case
• 1 – EMT Gel (1oz. tube)
• 3 – Dog Rehydration Drink Mix (electrolytes)
• 1 – Slip Lead
• 6 – Wooden Splints
• 1 – Sterile Trauma/Wound Pad
• 1 – Instant Cold Pack
• 1 – Ipecac
• 1 – PVP Iodine (3 oz.)
• 1 – Hydrogen Peroxide (4 oz.)
• 2 – Alcohol Wipes
• 2 – PVP Iodine Wipes
• 2 – Hydrocortisone Cream
• 2 – Antibiotic Ointment
• 8 – Sterile Gauze Pads (4″x4″)
• 8 – Sterile Gauze Pads (3″x3″)
• 1 – Gauze Bandage (2″)
• 1 – Gauze Bandage (3″)
• 1 – Tape (1″x2.5 yds)
• 1 – Cohesive Bandage (4″)
• 1 – Pen light
• 1 – Locking Hemostat (Surgical quality)
• 1 – Thumb Forceps
• 1 – Styptic Pencil
• 1 – SAM Splint
• 1 – Saline Solution
• 1 – Silver Mylar Emergency Blanket
• 1 – Nail Trimmer
• 6 – Non-Latex Gloves (3 pair)
• 1 – Skin Stapler, (Sterile, Disposable – 35 count)
• 1 – Staple Remover
• 1 – Pre-Surgical Scrub Brush
• 1 – Pill Gun
• 1 – 10 c.c. Oral Applicator
• 1 – Eye wash (4 oz.)
• 1 – Non-Latex Tourniquet
• 6 – Cotton Balls
• 5 – Cotton Swabs

The items near the top of the list will probably be used more frequently and/or are more important. Some of the other items are more specialized and you probably won’t need them unless there is a serious emergency. Be sure to read through your first aid book so you have some idea of what you should do in case of various emergencies.

Some emergencies are more serious than others. For instance, if your dog is sprayed by a skunk it’s definitely unpleasant for you and your dog but it’s not life-threatening. If you use the skunk odor remover (or two or three bottles of the skunk odor remover), it will make the odor go away. Likewise, if your dog is stung by a bee, he may have a reaction but the Benadryl will usually take care of the probably as long as you give it right away. However, if your dog is stung multiple times or if he has a serious reaction, you should take him to the vet right away, along with giving him the Benadryl.

For other emergencies it’s almost always advisable to take your dog to the veterinarian immediately, even if you provide some first aid at home.