Prepare An Emergency First Aid Kit For Your Pet

bullet imagebullet imageIf a pet is hit by a car and is definitely hurt, there's no doubt that it's time to make a call and quick trip to the animal hospital. An animal emergency might not be that obvious. Being prepared can make all the difference when every minute matters.

Prepare a First Aid Kit for Pets

Many people will have most of these items already, but it's much easier in an emergency if they're assembled into a kit.

Important Phone Numbers

Have these important phone numbers on the fridge and in the first aid kit, including:

The name, phone number and animal hospital address of the animal emergency hospital. If the address isn't familiar, include driving directions and pre-program the GPS.

The name, address and phone number of the pet's veterinarian.

The name and phone number of the Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435. They charge a fee for the consultation.


Many pets are poisoned by everyday items, foods or plants. Symptoms of poisoning include difficulty walking, diarrhea or rapid heart beat, but any usual behavior can be an indication of a problem.

The most common causes of pet poisoning include:

Human or pet prescription and over-the-counter medications;

Overdose or allergic reaction to insecticides (flea treatment, etc.);

Chemicals, such as household cleaners or antifreeze;

Fire logs;

Chocolate, avocado, alcohol, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins and xylitol (an artificial sweetener in sugar-free candy and gum);

Plants, including azaleas, tulips, poinsettias and sago palms;

Rat poison;

Lawn and garden products.

Do not use these before talking to the Poison Control Center or the vet, but include in the first aid kit for suspected poisoning:

Activated charcoal;

Milk of magnesia;

Hydrogen peroxide 3% (to induce vomiting).

Wounds and Bleeding

Include these supplies for wounds and bleeding:

A roll of gauze; this can be used to muzzle an upset, snapping dog or to wrap wounds;

Gauze pads, a clean towel or strips of clean cloth to control bleeding;

Adhesive tape to secure gauze bandages (do not use human band aids);

For bleeding, press a gauze pad against the wound; it may take several minutes for the bleeding to stop.

A tourniquet may be necessary for severe bleeding; get instructions from the vet at the emergency hospital.

General supplies

A digital fever thermometer (a regular thermometer won't read high enough). A dog or cat's normal temperature is 100.5F. The thermometer must be used rectally. Warm ears can also indicate a fever. (Cold ears could be a sign of hypothermia.)

A muzzle; in an emergency, a rope or nylon stocking can substitute;

A leash;

A stretcher so keep the pet stable on route to the animal hospital (a door, board, blanket or anything that will let the pet be safely carried will work).

The Animal Emergency Clinic of Deerfield Beach, FL is open after hours and on holidays and weekends. Visit the website of AEC-D to find instructions on emergency first aid procedures. Just remember that first aid is not veterinary treatment; rush the animal to a vet.