How to Create a Dog First Aid Kit: A Step by Step Guide

Using common-sense safety measures around your pets can go a long way toward preventing injuries. But even with lots of training and precautions, accidents happen: scrapes, upset stomachs, and runny noses are all part of dog life. Being prepared for them with a dog first-aid kit can take the panic out of accidents—and in some cases, having the right tools on hand can even save your dog’s life.

Why Do You Need a Dog First Aid Kit?

Accidents can happen when you least expect them, even in the safety of your own home. While we hope you never need it, a pet first aid kit can keep your pooch healthy and safe—while easing your own nerves, too. A pet-friendly first aid kit is a major asset in the following scenarios:

  • Accidental ingestion of toxic materials, such as plants, foods, or household chemicals

  • Treating scrapes, cuts, or bites from other animals

  • Treating a dog at risk of overheating or heatstroke

  • Camping and traveling—if you’re somewhere remote, a first aid kit can keep your dog comfortable until you can get veterinary help

  • Natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, floods, and storms

  • Emergency evacuations

Dog First Aid Kit Checklist

Step 1: Gather Your Dog’s Information

First, gather copies of important phone numbers, paperwork, and pet health records and put them in a safe place known to your household. These include things such as:

  • Your vet’s phone number and the number for your closest 24-hour emergency vet

  • Your pet’s vaccination history

  • A recent photo (in case your pet gets lost)

  • The ASPCA Poison Control hotline (888) 426-4435 for emergency poisoning information and support

While it’s great to have all of these contacts stored digitally on your phone, it’s also important to have a physical copy stored somewhere in your house (ideally collected in a waterproof envelope or sleeve like this). After all, you might not be with your dog when disaster strikes. This way, everyone in your household will have access to life-saving information.

Step 2: Consider Investing in a Pet First Aid Guidebook

The internet is undoubtedly a handy resource—but it’s also full of conflicting or non-expert advice. (Plus it can be problematic during emergencies or natural disasters when internet service is disconnected.)

A guidebook like the First Aid Companion has information that has been thoroughly vetted by veterinarians, so you know you can trust it. This particular book:

  • Is organized alphabetically by each injury/illness so you can quickly flip to the right section

  • Includes a helpful list of human medicines that are OK to administer to pets

  • Also contains charts for temperature, heart rate, and responsiveness to help you gauge your pet’s condition

There are also 24/7 telehealth services that offer an alternative to using questionable search engine results for pet care. While most of these services aren’t able to diagnose or prescribe meds, they can point you in the right direction for proper pet care. And even though they can’t take the place of an in-person vet visit, telehealth services can save you time and worry on issues that don’t require immediate veterinary care—and help you know which ones do.

Chewy’s telehealth service is available to subscribers of their autoship program. Once enrolled, you can speak with licensed veterinarians who will answer your general questions and pet-related concerns. Pawp is also worth checking out. For $24 per month, you’ll have access to trusted experts, as well as a $3000 emergency fund that covers unexpected vet bills. We’ve tried Pawp ourselves and been impressed with the results.

Step 3: Gather and Organize Your Dog First-Aid Kit Supplies

First you’ll want to find a place to store your first aid supplies. Keep everything organized and handy in a waterproof organizer such as this toolkit with a removable top tray, or this heavy-duty locking style case that keeps curious pets and children out.

According to trusted dog and animal welfare organizations such as the American Kennel Cluband the ASPCA, a well-stocked pet first aid kit will contain items such as:

  • Gauze

  • Vet wrap

  • Blunt-end scissors

  • Tweezers

  • An accurate digital thermometer like the iProven Pet Thermometer

  • An instant cold pack

  • Cotton balls and swabs