Learn what supplies you’ll need to keep your cat, dog, or other pet safe and healthy
Everyone who shares a home with a pet should have a basic pet first-aid kit on hand.
Keep your pet’s first-aid kit in your home and take it with you in your car if you are traveling with your pet.
One way to start your kit is to buy a first-aid kit designed for people and add pet-specific items to it.
You can also purchase a pet first-aid kit from a pet-supply store or catalog. But you can easily assemble your own kit by gathering the items on our lists below.
– Pet first-aid book
– Phone numbers: your veterinarian, the nearest emergency-veterinary clinic (along with directions!), and a poison-control center or hotline (such as the ASPCA poison-control center, which can be reached at 1-800-426-4435)
– Paperwork for your pet (in a waterproof container or bag): proof of rabies-vaccination status, copies of other important medical records, and a current photo of your pet (in case he gets lost)
– Nylon leash
– Self-cling bandage (bandage that stretches and sticks to itself but not to fur—available at pet stores and from pet-supply catalogs)
– Muzzle or strips of cloth to prevent biting (don’t use this if your pet is vomiting, choking, coughing, or otherwise having difficulty breathing)
Basic first-aid supplies
– Absorbent gauze pads
– Adhesive tape
– Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder, or spray
– Blanket (a foil emergency blanket)
– Cotton balls or swabs
– Gauze rolls
– Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting—do this only when directed by a veterinarian or a poison-control expert)
– Ice pack
– Non-latex disposable gloves
– Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)
– Rectal thermometer (your pet’s temperature should not rise above 103°F or fall below 100°F)
– Scissors (with blunt ends)
– Sterile non-stick gauze pads for bandages
– Sterile saline solution (sold at pharmacies)
– A pillowcase to confine your cat for treatment
– A pet carrier
Other useful items
– Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®), if approved by a veterinarian for allergic reactions. A veterinarian must tell you the correct dosage for your pet’s size.
– Ear-cleaning solution
– Expired credit card or sample credit card (from direct-mail credit-card offers) to scrape away insect stingers
– Glucose paste or corn syrup (for diabetic dogs or those with low blood sugar)
– Nail clippers
– Non-prescription antibiotic ointment
– Penlight or flashlight
– Plastic eyedropper or syringe
– Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) to clean the thermometer
– Splints and tongue depressors
– Styptic powder or pencil (sold at veterinary hospitals, pet-supply stores, and your local pharmacy)
– Temporary identification tag (to put your local contact information on your pet’s collar when you travel)
– Needle-nosed pliers
In addition to the items listed above, include anything your veterinarian has recommended specifically for your pet.
Check the supplies in your pet’s first-aid kit occasionally and replace any items that have expired.
For your family’s safety, keep all medical supplies and medications out of the reach of children and pets.
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