We live in beautiful Florida, so my mom and I spend most of our free time outside, especially on warm summer days. Believe me when I tell you my mom doesn’t take being a dog mom lightly. She always considers my needs and wants before we set out on an adventure, making sure I’m prepared for anything we may encounter. My trail bag is routinely packed with the essentials: a collapsible bowl, pet waste bags, healthy treats, my squeaky squirrel and, if disaster should strike, a canine first-aid kit.
Accidents can happen at any time, whether you’re at home, running errands around town, or traveling far and wide, so having a well-stocked ditty bag is a must for any responsible pet parent. I hope you’ll never need to use it. But you never know and, well, Murphy’s Law. So, here’s how to prepare.
BANDAGES Cotton gauze, clean rags, a T-shirt—even a sock can be used as bandage material to help control bleeding and keep wounds clean until they can be treated by a veterinarian. The tape can be useful for holding temporary wraps or splints in place.
HYDROGEN PEROXIDE This stuff isn’t just for cleaning minor wounds. If your dog ingests something toxic—which we sometimes do—you may have to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide. Always check with your vet before inducing vomiting and be sure you’re familiar with the proper methods on how to do this. During a crisis is not the time to learn a new life-or-death skill set.
ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT If your pup gets a small cut or scratch, antibiotic ointments will help prevent infection, relieve pain and act as a barrier from bacteria and germs.
WET WIPES These are good for cleaning off muddy paws before getting back in the car, for messy accidents, or for when your dog decides to roll around in an unknown patch of grass that can contain who-knows-what. You can also use them to clean eyes or ears or clean dirt or blood from a wound to get a better look.
TOWEL OR BLANKET If your dog is injured or panicking, gently wrapping him in a soft blanket can help calm him and let you access the injury. A towel or blanket is also a soft surface on which you can rest Phideaux for an examination if the ground’s too hot, too hard or just sharp rocks and you need to get a better look at what’s going on.
These are must-have items in any pet first-aid kit, but you don’t have to stop here. There is no one-size-fits-all for these kits. If your pet has unique medical needs, include whatever is necessary to help treat those.
Remember, keep your kit readily accessible—not stashed in the back of the closet behind a stack of boxes! You’ll be ready if anything happens. Be sure to check the pack every few months to be certain nothing has expired or needs replacement. Most important, know how to use all the items. Better to have the knowledge and not need to use it than not know what’s what when it’s needed.