How to put together a first aid kit for your dog or cat

dog-and-cat-paws-on-hand-first-aid Noelle Rebekah

You probably have a medicine cabinet at home with medication and stuff for all sorts of mishaps. If you have pets, it’s a good idea to have one for them as well. Check our article on what to put in it.

Are you concerned about your pet? Meet a vet online!
  • Included free as part of many pet insurance policies
  • Help, treatment and if you need it, a referral to your local vet
  • Open 24/7, 365 days a year

Ready-made pet first aid kits may be available to purchase from your vet clinic or pet pharmacies. However, you can easily assemble your own. Here is a list of the most common medical happenings in the life of a pet and some important items to have in your pet’s first aid kit to help you deal with them.

If there’s one thing that you can be absolutely certain of about your pet, is that at some point they will have tummy troubles. Vomiting or diarrhoea or both at the same time for extra joy, it’s the most common health issue both in dogs and cats. Thus the first things to add to your kit are:

The other thing both cats and dogs are rather prone to are all kinds of wounds, scratches and skin troubles that need cleaning and disinfecting. You can make your own saline cleaning solution by adding 1 teaspoon of kitchen salt to 500 ml of cooled boiled water. But it’s best to get a proper antiseptic, therefore add to your kit:

  • an antiseptic, for example Hibiscrub (use diluted with water, 1:10)

  • non-linting gauze swabs

  • non-adhesive wound dressing, for example Melolin

  • low-elasticity bandaging materials (it’s very easy to make them too tight otherwise!)

Both cats and dogs are very keen on licking and nibbling on anything that oozes or hurts, so when they have a wound, it has to be protected from licking. Put in your kit:

Other helpful aids to have in there would be:

  • a pair of hair clippers used only for the pet

  • baby scissors with rounded tips

  • syringes of various volumes (5, 10, 20 ml)

Another thing that happens with pets is that they occasionally bring home a tick or two from their walks. You’ll often find them attached to their face or ears. Don’t panic, ticks don’t move much once feeding and you can easily remove them with the right tool. Do this asap to prevent the risk of disease transmission. Broken nails are another collateral damage of walks, especially in dogs with their dew claws. For these two occasions, put in your kit:

  • a tick remover, for example a Tick Twister

  • sharp nail clippers (extra ones, ideally not the ones you use frequently)

The next thing pets really ‘like’ to do very often is getting ear problems (both dogs and cats, though cats more rarely). For that you will need:

  • an ear cleaner (here’s how and with what to clean the ears of dogs and cats)

Next to ear infections, eye irritations or conjunctivitis deserve a mention as well. We see it often enough both in dogs and cats to warrant adding to the first aid kit:

Last, but not least, in those cases when your pet is vaguely unwell and off-colour, a fever is a possible reason for it. Having something to measure their body temperature with is really handy, so add to the kit:

  • a thermometer (fast-measuring and with a soft, flexible tip)

Check the kit at regular intervals, and replace things that have been used or gone out of date. Keep along it a few non-medical, but equally important things for emergency situations, such as:

  • their vaccination card (keep it up to date)

  • a record of their microchip number

  • a recent photo of your pet

  • telephone numbers, both of your regular vet practice and the nearest out-of-hours clinic

And of course, please register your pet with us, we're here 24/7, every day of the year to help you take the best care possible of your furry friend!

More articles about dog

Contact a UK vet online right now!

What can we do for your furry friend?

  • Assess how they are in that exact moment
  • Answer your questions, offer advice, and make a plan about your concerns
  • Recommend easily available, over-the-counter pet health products when sufficient
  • Make a referral to a local vet when necessary
Book an appointment
  • Included free as part of many pet insurance policies Included free as part of many pet insurance policies
  • Help, treatment and if you need it, a referral to your local vet Help, treatment and if you need it, a referral to your local vet
  • Open 24/7, 365 days a year Open 24/7, 365 days a year