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Basic First Aid

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Emergency treatment and first aid for pets should never be used as a substitute for veterinary care. But it may save your pet's life before you can get your pet to a veterinarian.

Pet specific supplies for your First Aid Kit:

Pet first aid book

Phone numbers: veterinarian, nearest emergency veterinary clinic (and know how to get there!), poison-control center or hotline (such as ASPCA poison control center at 1-800-426-4435)

Paperwork (in a waterproof container or bag): proof of rabies vaccination status, copies of other important medical records, current photo of your pet in case he gets lost

Nylon leash

Self-cling bandage (Stretches and sticks to itself but not to fur—available at pet stores and through pet supply catalogs)

Muzzle or strips of cloth to prevent biting (as long as pet is not vomiting, choking, coughing, or otherwise having difficulty breathing)

Basic supplies:

Absorbent gauze pads

Adhesive tape

Antiseptic wipes, lotion, powder or spray

Blanket (foil emergency blanket)

Cotton balls or swabs

Gauze rolls

Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting when directed by a veterinarian or poison control)

Ice pack

Non-latex disposable gloves

Petroleum jelly (to lubricate 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

Additional useful items

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl®) if approved by a veterinarian for allergic reactions. Vet must specify 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 those with low blood sugar) "Nutra-Cal" is available at Pet/Feed Stores.

Nail clippers

Over-the-counter antibiotic ointment

Penlight or flashlight

Plastic eyedropper or syringe

Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) to clean thermometer

Splints and tongue depressors

Styptic powder or pencil (sold at veterinary hospitals and pet supply stores and your local pharmacy)

Temporary identification tag (to put your local contact information on your dog's collar when you travel)


Needle-nosed pliers

In addition to the items listed above, include any items recommended by your veterinarian specifically for your pet. Check the supplies in your pet first aid kit occasionally. 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.