In case of emergency, most people have a well-stocked first aid kit available for their family but sometimes forget to have an emergency dog first aid kit for their pet. Regardless of how careful you are, there is always the possibility of an accident or injury to your dog or ending up in a situation where you need to assist someone else with his or her injured pet, so you should always be ready and prepared. Having a first aid dog emergency kit on hand could make the difference in a serious or life threatening situation.
You can purchase ready-made dog first aid kits or buy the items and make your own. It is best to keep a fully stocked dog first aid emergency kit at home and one or more portable dog first aid kits for traveling. Some of the places you should always take an emergency portable first aid kit with you [include:
Hiking and backpacking
Making a basic first aid dog kit is easy. Use a plastic, waterproof container with a tight fitting lid for your kit and always include a copy of your pet's medications, health record, both your regular and emergency veterinary clinic telephone numbers, hours, location, and both national and local poison-control phone numbers. You should include these basic supplies in your dog first aid kit:
A good selection of sterile gauze pads in different sizes
Gauze or Vet Wrap bandage rolls
Both small and large non-adhesive sterile cotton bandages
Adhesive and paper tape
Hydrogen peroxide or a saline solution to clean cuts and scrapes
Tweezers and magnifying glass for finding and removing ticks, splinters, and foreign objects Antibacterial ointment, cream or spray and cotton swabs
Bottled water for cooling your pet if in shock, heatstroke, or for flushing out cuts and wounds
Tourniquet to stop heavy bleeding
Cold pack for injuries requiring ice, such as sprains
Antihistamine tablets for allergic reactions
Eyedropper and eyewash
Rectal thermometer or digital thermometer for humans
It is also handy to carry a dog first aid book that addresses specific injuries or illnesses.
Many of the basic or general first aid tips are similar for both humans and dogs. Remember that if your pet is injured, he will probably be scared and in pain or great discomfort so always move your dog carefully and gently, so you do not aggravate or worsen the injury. Some dogs, regardless of how friendly they normally are, could snap or grab at you when they are in a lot of pain, so be cautious for your safely as well as your pets. Use stockings, soft cloth strips or gauze to muzzle the dog if necessary. Never try to drag or lift an injured dog that is large. Instead, find something to use as a stretcher such as a throw rug or board.
If your dog has an accident and you think his leg may be broken, some signs to check for include swelling, signs of misshaping of the leg, cannot support the dogs body weight, or the leg hangs limply. After restraining or muzzling your dog if necessary, check his leg to find out if it is a closed fracture with no skin breakage, or an open fracture with the bone showing, or a wound near the break. If there is no break in the skin, try to splint the dog's leg but if he appears in severe pain when you try or the leg is grossly misshapen, support the injured leg with a large towel and get your dog to the vet or emergency clinic immediately. If the wound is open, use clean water to thoroughly flush the wound and then cover with a clean cloth or sterile bandage. Do not splint an open fracture, instead support the leg with a large towel and get medical treatment as soon as possible.
Normally if the cut on your pet is approximately a half-inch or less in diameter, you can usually treat your dog without taking him to your veterinarian. Start by carefully removing the fur around the cut using electric clippers. Mix one teaspoon of salt into approximately two cups of warm water and use this to flush your pets wound. Warm water works fine if you have no salt available. Use tweezers and a magnifying glass if necessary, to remove any pieces of debris and then continue rinsing until you have completely removed all the debris and dirt from your dogs wound. Apply a topical antibiotic spray, cream, or use an antimicrobial wound cream, following the directions. Use a bandage for protection if the wound is on his foot or on a part of your dog's body that is likely to get bumped or rubbed. Keep a close eye and if the cut does not show improvement after several days, looks inflamed, or becomes larger, seek veterinary help. If your dog has an abrasion less than half an inch, follow the same first aid you use for cuts.
If you are trimming your pets nails, cut one too short and it starts bleeding and will not stop, use a wet bar of soap. Stick the dogs bleeding nail into the wet soap, covering the nail. You can also use baking soda or flour, add a little water making it into a paste, and then putting it on your dogs nail. Lay your dog on his side when you use the soap, flour, or baking soda as it removes pressure on your pet's foot. If your dogs foots continues to bleed, wrap a bandage very loosely around it until the bleeding stops. There is a powder available on the market made specifically for bleeding nails.
If your dog has a deep wound or cut with severe bleeding, apply direct pressure to the injury. Keep your pet as still and stable as you can to prevent further injury and get him to your veterinarian or emergency clinic as quickly as possible.