Helpful Tips for a Pet First Aid Kit - The Trupanion Blog
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Helpful Tips for a Pet First Aid Kit

Last week, a great article was posted on CNN by author Morieka Johnson about pet first aid and how to be prepared in case of emergency. I think that all pet owners should skim over this list and make mental notes to get a good idea of how to prepare. This directly from the article:

Bandages, cotton balls and rubbing alcohol: All that fur gets in the way of cute cartoon-covered Band-Aids, so it’s best to have gauze, cotton swabs and adhesive tape on hand to cover up doggie boo-boos.

Latex-free gloves and tweezers: Dogs can get into some pretty precarious situations. Gloves help reduce the risk of spreading infection and just generally keep you from touching yuck, which is always a good thing.

Since ticks are a common problem, make sure you also have a pair of tweezers on hand to remove them. offers tips on effective tick removal. There are times when tweezers should not be used, so bookmark their site for quick reference if you live in an area where ticks are prevalent.

Muzzle and leash: While cloth will work in a pinch, consider investing in an inexpensive muzzle for emergency transport, along with a leash.

Digital thermometer: Invest in a separate thermometer for your pet. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends using a “fever” thermometer, which tracks higher temperatures than typical versions. Instant ear thermometers get the job done, but the AVMA advises getting a rectal reading for the best results. offers tips for taking a dog’s temperature using both methods. (By now, I’m sure you understand why that emergency muzzle is a must-have.)

Activated charcoal: Readily available in most drugstores, activated charcoal helps prevent poison from being absorbed and is often used to help induce vomiting. However, the AVMA warns that you should consult a professional before taking this route.

Benadryl: Bug bites happen. So do bee stings and other incidents that require a quick dose of diphenhydramine, otherwise known as good, old-fashioned Benadryl. I buy it in bulk because Lulu needs it for frequent allergy flare-ups, and I don’t get along with red ants.

Clean cloths: If you have a pet, there already should be plenty of old towels and T-shirts on hand for occasional accidents. Keep a stash near your kit in case you need to absorb bleeding or cover wounds. A thick blanket also makes it easier to pick up and move an injured pet.

Emergency phone list: Now that your little bruiser has seen an emergency vet, I’m sure the clinic name has been burned into your memory bank. Write that number down next to the contact info for your veterinarian.

I also suggest adding the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline, 1-888-426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied, but that is still cheaper than some emergency clinics, which charge twice that amount before they even look at the animal. Plus, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Remember that if your pet overdoses on the family’s Thanksgiving Day feast, or a new pair of shoes, the ASPCA also has great information about potentially dangerous household products. (I never knew avocados were a no-no.)

Cone of shame: If you’ve seen the hilarious film “Up” then you will understand my reference to Elizabethan collars (E-collars) as the ultimate torture device for pets. These collars do a great job preventing pets from licking or irritating wounds, but plastic E-collars also limit peripheral vision.

Have you ever been in a sticky situation with your pet in which you needed some of these supplies?

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