When I got my first puppy back in the ‘80’s I must have read every book in the library on dogs and their training and yet none of them mentioned first aid for your dog. Move forward to the ‘90’s and you started to see courses on first aid for your dog and were sold first aid kits designed especially for dogs. Today, everyone who has a dog or is involved with dogs in any form are encouraged to have taken at least one dog first aid seminar where you are taught practical management of a sick pet including how to bandage and treat your dog until you can get him/her to a vet.
Do I need a specific first aid kit for my dog/s?
Well, here’s the thing; having bought a specific first aid kit for my dogs and a different one for my family and compared the two I discovered they were both the same except the dog kit was more expensive and had less contents, so my first piece of advice is not to waste your money on the hundreds of pet first aid kits on sale out there in shopping-land but to buy one decent kit that can be used for the whole family both dog and human alike.
How many first aid kits do I needed?
I have to admit to being mad about first aid kits. I have them all over the place so have four in total;
- one in the house for home use;
- one in the van for when I am travelling or just out and about with the Boys;
- one in my dog class bag. There are, by-law, first aid kits in all of the halls I hold my classes in but I like to have my own because I know where to find its contents quickly and sometimes when an emergency arises time is of the essence;
- and lastly I have a mini one in my dog walking bag. This holds only minor items such as antibacterial wipes, plasters, piriton, a tick remover and a whistle.
It’s entirely up to you how many first aid kits you have but the thing about them is you never know when you may need one; I often don’t need them for myself or my dogs but my vehicle first aid kit has been used often by my friends who have travelled without one. You soon get a reputation of travelling prepared and people at dog shows usually know I will have anything they need in an emergency J
What do I need in my doggy first aid kit?
Since Covid-19 pandemic I have added a face mask and extra latex gloves to all of my first aid kits as a precaution.
You can buy a fully stocked first aid kit and I highly recommend the MediSpor pictured below. (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Emergency-Camping-Workplace-Survival-Outdoor/dp/B07CK9HDQP/?tag=dandb09-21
It is only 15 cm by 19 cm in size and weighs 558 grams so takes up very little space but holds alot. This first aid kit is perfect for travelling and I only needed to add a couple of items for the dogs such as a Pawz, piriton, a tick remover and a pen; everything else in the kit could be used to assist or treat them and humans alike.
Alternatively you could make up your own. I bought the green first aid box pictured below,from a car boot sale for £2 and filled it with the following;
· Plasters of various sizes
· Flexible cohesive bandage - comes in a variety of colours
· Safety pins
· Piriton - make sure it is Piriton and not any other well known antihistimine. Useful if
your dog gets hives or is stung by a wasp/bee. Recommended by a vet; only give one
tablet per 20 kilo dog so if your dog weighs 10 kilos you would only give 1/2 tablet
· Soft padding - for bandaging
· Pen/Sharpie - for note taking and/or to mark the position of your dogs ears once
· Latex gloves - who doesn't have those with Covid-19!
· Soft cord - just incase you do need to temporarily muzzle your dog
· Melolin - these are those essentials that prevent bandages from sticking to a cut
· Lavender oil - as a qualified aromatherapist I have lavendar oil everywhere including my
first aid kit. One of just two essential oils you can apply directly to the skin, great for
burns and stings
· Antiseptic wipes - a must have; any small cuts must be cleaned immediately
· Tick removers - you never know when you will find one on your dog and these must be
removed quickly and safely
· Witch hazel - great for stopping bleeding, I even have a bottle in my dog grooming kit
incase I accidentially catch a nail whilst trimming them.
· Pawz - these are just great and I have added more information at the end
· First Aid notes - always acts as a useful reminder
· Scissors - essential for trimming babdages etc
· Twizers - for removing spinters of wood etc
* Arnica tablets 30c - fantastic for bruises, twists and sprains
You can buy all of these items from Boots, Wilkinsons or any good shop or pharmacy that sells first aid items.
In my dog walking kit I just have a small pouch containing plasters, antiseptic wipes, tick remover and piriton. I also carry any medication that might be needed by one of my dogs should he have a fit on our walks.
Courses and training
It’s all very well having a first aid kit but it’s of little use if you do not know HOW to use it and what to do in an emergency? I make it my business to attend a dog first aid course at least every 2-3 years because it refreshes my learning and is always fun to attend. You can find one in your area by searching on Google but I have found that the charity PDSA (Pets Dispensary for Sick Animals) runs courses – with the Covid-19 lockdown they are not running at the moment (June 2020) but for future reference you can book yourself on a course by going to https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/pet-first-aid-course
Alternatively why not ask your dog club to organise one. I did by asking a Veterinary Nurse friend of mine, Jo Farminer. She works for Lumbry Park Veterinary Specialists in Alton, Hampshire, who kindly supplied us with the bandages and medical supplies and you can see what we got up to by looking in the attached gallery. It was a very enjoyable evening and we learnt alot too.
The thing with first aid kits are that, if you are lucky, you never need to use one so always make a note in your diary to check your first aid kits annually to make sure items such as Piriton have not expired their use-by date. The last thing you need in an emergency is to find that you haven't replaced used items or that what you need is out of date and can not be used.
I can definitely recommend the MediSpor first aid kits - excellent value for money and the link is as above.
I have also tried and can recommend the Pawz which you may not have heard of. These are
little rubber boots which can be used on your dog in the snow to give them traction control, if your dog has allergies but especially as a bandage covering for dogs who have cut their paws and need to go out. I first tried them on a Rottweiller who had cut her paw and I wanted to keep the bandage clean and dry when she went into the garden or a mini walk. They are so easy to put on and take off and the best bit is they don't fall off and you don't need to tape them in place. How many times have you tried to protect a bandaged paw using a plastic bag and within seconds its falling off and flapping all over the plac? Make sure you buy the correct size for your pet. Pawz can be bought in most good pet shops or here: