Pets are prone to accidents, injuries, and other emergencies. While our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Groves team members are pet care experts, a veterinary first aid kit is handy when you travel with your pet, or must stabilize them before you transport them to our clinic. In some situations, performing first aid can be lifesaving, but having the necessary items is essential. Learn what to include in your pet’s first aid kit and how to provide basic first aid care before you get them to our office after an accident or because they are experiencing a health emergency.

Pet first aid kit uses

Pet first aid kits are helpful in many situations, from minor wound care to major injury stabilization. Some pet first aid kit uses include:

  • Cleaning wounds — Pets often sustain cuts, scrapes, or torn nails during outdoor adventures or rough play. Cleaning wounds right away decreases their infection risk.
  • Protecting wounds — Bandages and styptic powders can stop excessive bleeding and protect wounds until you reach a veterinary hospital.
  • Inducing vomiting — Use peroxide to induce vomiting after toxin ingestion, but only if our team or the Animal Poison Control Center advises you to do so. 
  • Removing irritants — Include items in your pet’s first aid kit to help flush their eyes and skin.
  • Transporting injured pets — Your pet’s first aid kit should contain supplies to help you quickly transport a large, injured pet who cannot walk.

Pet first aid kit supplies

Certain first aid kit supplies can help stabilize your pet’s condition before you transport them to a veterinary hospital. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), you should include the following materials in your pet’s first aid kit:

  • Emergency phone numbers — Keep emergency phone numbers handy in your kit, including our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Groves phone number, and those of a local emergency veterinary hospital and poison control centers such as the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and the Pet Poison Helpline. If you’re traveling or camping in an unfamiliar area, write down the phone numbers for clinics in the area before you leave, and ensure you pack the list in your pet’s first aid kit.
  • Gauze and tape — To create bandages as needed; you can also use rolled gauze to muzzle an injured animal for everyone’s safety
  • Clean towels or cloth strips — To stop bleeding and dress large wounds
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3%) — To induce vomiting when a veterinarian specifically directs you to do so; do not use hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds
  • Digital thermometer — To take your pet’s temperature rectally
  • Oral syringe — To administer peroxide or to flush wounds
  • Slip leash — To transport an injured pet who is still walking
  • Carry sling or stretcher — To help you get a large injured pet back to the vehicle if you’re hiking or camping; you may also use a blanket, towel, floor mat, or door as a stretcher
  • Ice pack — To address soft tissue swelling or soothe an insect bite or sting
  • Disposable gloves — To tend to large bleeding wounds
  • Blunt-end scissors — To cut cloth or bandage material and trim long pet hair
  • Tweezers — To remove plant awns, splinters, or debris from skin or wounds
  • Eyewash or saline solution — To rinse eyes and skin wounds of irritants or foreign debris
  • Artificial tear gel — To soothe and protect injured or irritated eyes after rinsing with eyewash
  • Mild dish soap — Diluted dish soap is gentler on skin and wounds than alcohol or peroxide
  • Over-the-counter (OTC) antibiotic cream or gel — Apply to minor or superficial wounds to help prevent infection
  • Styptic powder — To stop nail injury bleeding
  • Small flashlight — To illuminate wounds or injuries in difficult-to-see places, or for help seeing after dark

Learning about pet first aid

To learn more about pet first aid, ask our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Groves team to provide a basic demonstration. Never clean wounds with alcohol or peroxide, because they can irritate and damage broken skin. In a pinch, clean a wound using a mild soap, and flush the area with copious amounts of sterile saline, eyewash, or fresh water. To avoid cutting off circulation to an injury or your pet’s limbs, do not apply a bandage too tightly. 

Consider enrolling in a pet first aid and CPR class. You can take an online course through the Red Cross, Recover CPR, or Pet Emergency Education. These organizations’ websites may also provide information about local in-person classes or individual instructors in your area.

Building a first aid kit and learning basic pet lifesaving skills are necessary, especially if you enjoy traveling, camping, or hiking in lovely Southeast Texas with your four-legged friend. If you feel uncertain about putting together your pet’s first aid kit, you can purchase one online. If you have pet first aid questions, contact our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Groves team. To keep your pet healthy, helping ensure they remain resilient in an emergency, schedule their routine wellness visit.