Pet emergencies are critical health crises that need immediate medical intervention. A pet first aid kit is the first step in being prepared should an animal emergency happen. While there are many pre-made kits that may be purchased for pets, building your own kit, or adding to a pre-made one, may be the best way to have a kit customized for your pet's lifestyle and needs.
Some of the first aid items that a basic kit should include are:
Sterile eye wash
Tick remover tool
Sterile gauze pads, bandages, cotton balls
First aid tape
Antiseptic wash or wipes or rubbing alcohol
Vet-prescribed pain relief (NSAID)
Latex or plastic exam gloves
Water-based lubricating jelly
Cold and hot packs
Extra towels, washcloths, blanket
Diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl)
Syringe or large eye dropper
A list of phone numbers including Poison Control
A book on pet first aid
All of these items can be found at your local supermarket or drugstore, and sometimes can be found in the clearance/discontinued bin.
Kits should be customized based on your specific pet’s lifestyle and health. A kit for a pet on medication should include a small supply of medication (be sure to rotate meds so they do not expire). A kit for an active dog or dog-on-the-go should include a splint in the event of a broken leg. Your vet should be able to help you build a kit specific for your pets.
If you were to be thorough with your first aid kits, you should make not one, but two kits: one for your house and one you can keep in your car.
Also keep in mind, it would be a good idea to pre-program your cell phone with numbers for your vet, the nearest emergency vet hospital and a poison control center.
Purchasing or building a kit is a great first step, but won't be a lot of help in the event of an emergency if you are not familiar with how and when to use the items. Some pet hospitals offer courses in pet first aid, as do many branches of the Red Cross. Courses are usually fairly inexpensive and are typically only one or two days long, and many courses will include a pet first aid book that you can keep in your first aid kit.
Being prepared in the face of an emergency is calming and helps ensure the health and safety of your pets.