An emergency can happen at any time. As a Certified Vet Technician, I try to regularly attend first aid workshops as I'm not currently working at a clinic. A refresher on CPCR as well as bandaging are both really important skills to have when it comes to emergency medicine.
When we talk about first aid kits for dogs (although much of this applies to cats too) and what should go in them, it's crucial to understand some baseline vitals.
- Capillary Refill Time (CRT): Lift the lip of your best friend, and quickly check the gums. When their gums are pressed, the pinkish color should return in less than 1 second. If it doesn't, look at the color - are they white, gray or lavender - this indicates the blood isn't circulating as it should be. This is an emergency.
- Mucous membranes: These should always be pink.
- Normal temperature for dogs: 100-102 degrees Fahrenheit
- Normal resting heart rate pulse: Dogs 80-120 beats per minute
- Normal canine respiratory rate: Dogs: 15-30 breaths per minute
- Normal heart rate for cats: 140-220 beats per minute
- Normal feline respiratory rate: 15-30 breaths per minute
- Normal temperature for cats: 100.5-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit
These are all very helpful parameters when doing a basic nose-to-toes exam and helpful to remember when your dog is ill or just isn't doing right. One key piece here is knowing what normal looks like in your dog. Spend time regularly taking some vitals so when your pets are off, you know there is an emergency. For example, taking a quick temperature is a good exercise when your dog feels OK so they get used to that!
There are many different items you should have in your pet first aid kit which you can make yourself or you can order a complete kit that is ready to go! Gauze, vet wrap, tweezers, nail clippers, Vetericyn for wound cleaning and an ice pack are all items that should be in your kit. We researched the kits that have basic items but also kits that go above and beyond!
There are 50 pieces in this organized soft case. You should also have phone numbers for your vet and a close relative that can care for your dog or cat if a pet sitter is the one using the kit. A large is available for $19.78.
Pet owners will love the various gauze sizes, tape, self-adherent wrap, reflective leash, styptic stick, and instant cold pack! Note that styptic powder is used to control bleeding and this can come in handy during an emergency situation. Available for $27.95.
This versatile first aid kit includes antibiotic ointment packs, emergency blanket, cotton-tipped applicators, plastic tweezers will keep you prepared for most common minor injuries or medical emergencies. This is the perfect first aid kit for dog owners with multiple pets! Available for $24.99.
This deluxe dog first aid kit was planned and designed with the contribution from pet owners with more than 50 combined years of experience. Their pack contains the things you need to be prepared for your pet's injuries. They even have an electric rectal thermometer. Any responsible pet owner must carry a first aid kit with them when hiking! Available for $22.99.
Allows pet owners to assist their dog or cat's injuries until they can get to a vet. Designed in partnership with Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid, this kit contains the supplies that you will need for most first response situations. The Walks 'N' Wags Manual offers easy to follow instructions on how to properly care for your pet when it is injured. This manual serves as a first aid book to help injured pets. Available for $30.22.
This is a specialized first aid kit for pets which includes a tick remover, elastic bandage, tweezer, tape roll, cleansing swabs and more. You should add a magnifying glass in the case of ticks so you can carefully remove the tick. Available for $9.99.
We saved the best for last!
Unlike other dog emergency kits on the market, the FabFur Gear includes not 1-2, but five types of bandages and an emergency collar, giving pet owners extra peace of mind in case of injuries, sprains, scrapes. E-collars or emergency collars are really important as a dog may want to lick a spot or an injury that's bleeding. It's also easier to flush wounds with an e-collar on! Available for $29.97.
All first aid kits should be kept out of the reach of children as these first aid supplies can be dangerous.
Sign up for a first aid course!
Being comfortable during an emergency is what will save your dog or cat so taking a class is a priority!
Do you have a first pet kit at home and have you taken any first aid classes? Please leave a comment below!
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