What to Include in a Dog First Aid Kit: Packing the Essentials

by | Jul 7, 2021 | Dog Health

Going on an adventure with your dogs can bring feelings of excitement. But before you get too excited, you’ll need to prepare for an emergency and have a first aid kit ready in case the unexpected happens. After all, you wouldn’t want an injury to spoil the fun now, would you? 

Packing a first aid kit means you can treat minor injuries immediately and prevent them from getting worse. Read on to know more about what should be in a dog first aid kit. We’ve also included tips on how to treat some common canine injuries.

What Should I Include in My Dog First Aid Kit?

Below is a list of items necessary for a first aid kit for dogs.

Gauze, scissors, & bandages

It’s advisable to carry different types of bandages in your first aid kit. A gauze bandage covers dog wounds to avoid foreign objects from entering the affected area. The cotton material helps prevent infections since it can absorb excess blood, plasma, or other fluid from the wounds.

Make sure your kit also includes a non-stick dressing. This type of bandage secures the gauze and helps protect minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. Lastly, you’ll need scissors to cut the gauze and bandages.

Medical records

Medical records and insurance documents are commonly overlooked items in a dog first aid kit. Including these documents in your kit can help veterinarians properly diagnose and treat your dog if it ever gets into an emergency. 

If your pet requires surgery or other invasive procedures, you’ll be prepared because you have your pet’s medical records with you so you can ensure that your pet receives the appropriate treatment.

Cotton balls & tweezers

When cleaning your dog’s wounds, you’ll need cotton balls to ensure sterile application of the topical ointment. It’s practical to use cotton balls so you won’t have to break apart large swabs of cotton when an emergency comes up.

Tweezers are helpful because you can use them to remove foreign items, such as thorns and needles, from your pet’s nose or skin. However, it’s best to contact a veterinarian immediately if a foreign object is lodged too deeply into your dog’s skin.

Digital thermometer

Digital thermometers are safer and more accurate than normal mercury thermometers. If your dog starts showing symptoms such as shivering, loss of appetite, or vomiting, use a thermometer to measure your dog’s temperature. Monitor your dog’s condition and reach out to a vet right away if your dog’s temperature doesn’t return to normal after a few hours.


Aside from cotton balls, you can use syringes to conduct wound irrigation. Syringes can also come in handy if you want to give your pet oral medications or supplements for joints and bones. Just remember to discard the syringe after every use.

Flashlight & batteries

Sometimes, thorns and needles are difficult to remove, especially if your dog gets into an accident or injury in the middle of the night. Hence, you’ll need a flashlight to help you see the affected area better. Don’t forget to pack extra batteries in case your flashlight runs out of power.


Antiseptic cleanses dog wounds from harmful bacteria that could cause infections and other issues. Search for a non-sting antiseptic made specifically for pets. You can start with chlorhexidine, an effective and readily available solution that prevents irritation.

Saline solution

Foreign objects, like dirt particles, debris, seeds, or insects, could get lodged into areas such as your dog’s eyes. When this happens, you’ll need to use an eyewash to remove the contaminants and reduce the pain and discomfort. 

Antibiotic ointment

An antibiotic ointment is a must-have for your first aid kit. Topical balm or solution treats small cuts, scrapes, or scratches and also helps relieve itchiness and pain. It also protects injuries from bacteria, germs, and infections.

Milk of magnesia

Sometimes, your pet might experience an upset stomach. Milk of magnesia relieves gastric irritation, eases constipation pain, and treats acid reflux. Just make sure you get a prescription from your vet before including it in your first aid kit. 


If you’re planning a trip with your dog, make sure to have over-the-counter medications at the ready. Ask your vet for recommendations on backup medicines, such as painkillers and sedatives. That way, you can give your pet the appropriate medication if it experiences issues such as back pain while traveling.

Compact water dish & food storage

Bring a silicone water dish and food bowl with you when feeding your dog outdoors. Remember not to use a plastic bowl because the material is more prone to contamination. Prepare a large jug of water to keep your pet hydrated at all times. And don’t forget to pack treats to manage tantrums. 

Towel & blanket

It’s crucial to have a microfiber towel and blanket inside your first aid kit. A soft blanket can help you dry your dog if it ends up wet, for example. Moreover, using a towel lets you tend to its injuries without the risk of being bitten. It also provides a soft surface where your pet can sit or lie down while you treat its injury.

Dog toys

Aside from medications and medical tools, it’s also helpful to pack a toy while traveling with your dog. A toy can be a good stress reliever for your dog, especially if it ends up injured during your trip. 

Extra leash & poop disposal products

Leashes and collars are important, especially when you and your dog are traveling. But sometimes, the leash could snap so don’t forget to pack an extra one during your trip.

Lastly, always bring extra poop bags, so your dog can comfortably defecate without causing a mess. Keep an additional supply of poop disposal products since you never know if your dog will experience gastric irritation.

How to Treat Common Dog Injuries

Now that you know what to put in a dog first aid kit, we’ve listed some essential first aid tips to help you treat basic injuries.

  • Burns & scalds

First, apply cold water to the affected area for at least five minutes.  Refrain from applying ointments or creams since they can trap heat in the burned tissue and apply saline solution instead. After conducting first aid treatment, contact a veterinarian.

  • Broken bones

Avoid touching the area with the broken bone injury. Call a specialist immediately since your pet may need invasive medical procedures to prevent the injury from getting worse.

  • Poisoning

Pets may experience internal and external poisoning, and in both cases, it’s crucial to call a veterinarian immediately. For cases of internal poisoning, your vet may instruct you to induce vomiting. When it comes to external poisoning, you’ll need to properly clean and wash the affected area.

  • Eye injuries

Apply a cold compress to the area around the eyes or you can use a saline solution to flush out the foreign object. Remember not to use a contact lens solution since they may be unsafe for dogs.

Be Prepared for Emergencies with a Dog First Aid Kit

Organize your first aid kit and always be prepared for canine emergencies. For more tips about dog health management, check out the TPLOInfo blog.


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