Dr. Hunthausen's Tips For Animal First Aid
The list below contains items that you will find helpful for addressing common emergency situations. Individual pets may need specialized first aid kits. Talk to your veterinarian if your pet has special needs or ongoing medical problems. You should also discuss dosages for the recommended oral medications. If you’re not inclined to build your own kit, there are commercial kits available from a variety of sources. Organizations in some cities have first aid classes for pets that you might also want to check out.
Remember that even the friendliest pet might bite when in pain. Be very careful, don’t get face to face when handling the pet and use a muzzle when necessary. Cats and some small dogs can be more safely managed when wrapped in a towel.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION (Enter phone numbers in your cell phone)
• Family veterinarian phone number
• Emergency clinic phone number and directions (Visit before you need to use it. Some are in obscure areas of strip malls.)
• List of plants and compounds poisonous to pets (ASPCA.org)
• Pet Poison Hotline (ASPCA - aspca.org, 1-800-426-4435)
• Pet first aid book, CPR instructions (Review these beforehand)
• Proof of recent vaccinations.
• Pertinent identification information, health information, chronic problems, ongoing medications and other information a pet sitter might need.
• Photos of pets in case they get lost
• Muzzle (can use roll gauze or long strips of cloth)
• Disposable exam gloves
• Towel (especially helpful to wrap a cat or small dog for examination and treatment)
• Paper towels
• Syringe or large eye dropper for flushing wounds or administering fluids by mouth
• Thermal blanket
• Needle-nose pliers
• Bandage material
• Sterile, absorbable gauze pads
• Cotton balls or swabs
• Non-stick, sterile gauze pads (e.g. Telfa Pads™)
• Gauze rolls
• Adhesive tape (1 and 2 inch width)
• Non-stick cling bandage material (e.g. Vet Wrap™)
• Petroleum jelly
• Rubbing alcohol (Don’t apply to open wounds)
• Rectal thermometer
• Normal temperatures for dogs and cats is 100 - 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit
• Lubricate with petroleum jelly. Change batteries periodically.
• Utility and bandage scissors
• Tweezers, magnifying glass
• Sterile needle to remove splinters
• Tick removal tool
• Tongue depressor
• Hydrogen peroxide 3%
• To clean wounds and to induce vomiting. Be sure to check with a veterinarian for dose and when to use
• Sterile saline eye wash to rinse wounds, eyes
• Betadyne™ solution: A stronger, iodine solution for disinfecting wounds.
• Antibiotic ointment (e.g. Neosporin™, triple antibiotic)
• Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder, or spray
• Benadryl® Antihistamine for allergic reactions. Discuss use and correct dose with your veterinarian.
• Ear cleaning solution
• Honey or corn syrup for low blood sugar and weakness
• Activated charcoal for absorbing certain types of swallowed poisons from the gut
• Styptic powder or similar anticoagulant powder to stop bleeding of torn toenails
• Milk of Magnesia™ or Pepto Bismol™ for diarrhea (Don’t give Pepto Bismol™ to cats)
• Aspirin for pain. Not for cats. Not for dogs on steroids. Avoid acetaminophen, ibuprofen, Tylenol™, Advil™ or other over-the-counter pain medications in both species.