Animal First Aid Kit

This is the full length of the items recommended to keep in your pet-specific first aid kit, as per the American Red Cross.

Keep in mind this list is for in your home, so many items may be left behind, reduced, or improvised on the trail. For instance, you can leave your needlenose pliers at home if you have a multitool with pliers (my multitool is the Leatherman Juice S2). Splint material is usually plentiful in a forest.

Remember that ibuprofin and acetomitaphin are toxic to pets, so use coated aspirin or baby aspirin.

  • Latex gloves
  • Gauze sponges (available at most pharmacies). A variety of sizes, both large and small, are best to keep on hand.
  • Roll gauze–2″ width
  • Roll bandages (they describe vet wrap, but don’t name it specifically). Available at pharmacies, pet/animal stores, and through pet catalogs.
  • Material to make a splint– ie. sticks, wood, or newspaper
  • Adhesive tape
  • Non-adherant sterile pads. These can be purchased in most pharmacies.
  • small scissors
  • grooming clippers (available in pet stores and through pet catalogues) or a safety razor.
  • nylon leash (at least one)
  • towel
  • Muzzle (cage muzzle is ideal, but a collapsing nylon one will do if needed, or know how to make a muzzle from gauze rolls or a leash)
  • compact thermal blanket (mylar “space” blankets are good)
  • pediatric rectal thermometer (may be digital)
  • water based sterile lubricant (washes off easily)
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide*
  • rubbing alcohol
  • over the counter antibiotic ointment
  • epsom salts
  • baby dose syringe or eye dropper (non-glass)
  • sterile eye lubircant
  • sterile saline eye wash
  • Diphenhyramine dosage for your pet’s size if approved by your veterinarian (an antihistamine)*
  • glucose paste or corn syrup
  • styptic powder or pencil. Pharmacies carry styptic pencils for use when people cut themselves shaving. Veterinary styptic products are sold at veterinary hospitals, pet supply stores, and through catalogues
  • expired phone card to scrape away stingers (or a “loaded” phone card for calls home).
  • petroleum jelly
  • pen light
  • clean cloth
  • needle-nose pliers
  • a list of emergency numbers– veterinarian (including after hours/emergency number) and National Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435)

*has an expiration date and so needs to be replaced periodically.

I recently discovered a product called EMT gel. It’s collagen based and is designed to be used on wounds that are not easily stitched. The label claims it speeds healing because the gel seals off the wound to allow it to heal from the inside. It purports to seal off the wound to debris, seal the nerve endings to reduce pain and itching (which is why pets lick at wounds) and seals blood vessels to help control bleeding. I have used this product on a serious wound Ranger suffered to his shoulder (a patch of skin about 1 cm x 1.5 cm missing down to the muscle). It made a noticable difference on the healing time. It is expensive ($10-15 US per 1 oz tube as of September 2009), but it has found a permanent place in my first aid kit. It also comes in a spray if the tube isn’t handy for you.