Pet Emergency: Creating the Essential Pet First Aid Kit

pet emergency kitAt Berks Animal Emergency and Referral Center, we believe every owner should have a pet first aid kit and know what to do during a pet emergency. While this doesn’t replace veterinary care, it can make a lifesaving difference.

As a pet guardian, you may already have some experience in this area. Although not all emergencies are life threatening, knowing the essentials of pet first is critical. To better equip yourself and be more prepared, we’ve compiled the following guide to assembling a proper pet first aid kit.

Determining What You Need

While there are a number of ready-made kits for purchase, these are typically standard kits for cats and dogs. It’s good to have the basics, but keep in mind that your pet may need other items. This is particularly true if you own an exotic pet or one with special needs.  

In cases where a pet has a medical condition that makes him or her more vulnerable (such as a severe allergy or diabetes), we recommend speaking to your veterinarian about creating a tailored emergency plan and kit.

Assembling a Pet First Aid Kit: The Basics

Below are a few items any first aid kit should contain:

  • Various sized bandages and gauze
  • Medical tape
  • Non-stick pads
  • Cotton balls or swabs
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Eye wash
  • Nail clippers
  • Styptic powder
  • Antiseptic wipes/wash
  • Pet-safe antibiotic ointment
  • Latex gloves
  • Thermometer
  • Cold/hot packs
  • Towels, blankets, and/or cloths
  • Syringe
  • Any medications recommended by your veterinarian (like Benadryl or activated charcoal)
  • Contact information for your vet clinic, emergency hospitals, and poison control center

Store these items in a sturdy metal or plastic case. Keep your pet first aid kit in an accessible place near your pet’s carrier. Consider making an extra kit for the car.

What Now?

Being prepared also includes knowing how to use your emergency kit and responding quickly. The American Red Cross Pet First Aid app is particularly useful, providing videos, step-by-step instructions, and pet first aid articles. Also check to see if pet first aid classes are available in your area.

When it comes to pet emergencies, the most important thing to remember is to act quickly. First aid kits are simply a way to slow down the progression of an emergency while you seek professional veterinary care. Once stable, your first stop should always be an emergency hospital or clinic.

Don’t delay whenever If you believe your pet is experiencing a serious health problem, don’t delay – contact us immediately.  

For more information on how to prepare for a pet emergency, please give us a call.