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How to Put Together a 17 Essential Item DIY Dog First Aid Kit – Be Prepared!

puppy with first aid kit

Pairs of dogs that end up in occasional dog fights and dog nail clipping at home are both very good reasons to have a well stocked DIY Dog first aid kit in the house.

I also like to keep a small homemade dog first aid kit in the car for when we are traveling with our pups. You never know when there will be a bit of scrape and it’s good to be prepared with everything you need for dog first aid basics.

In this article I’m going to show you EXACTLY what to pack to make sure you have all the essentials for your pet emergency go bag and I’m going to go over some basic principles for different situations where you may need to use your kit.

Important: I’m not a veterinarian. If your dog is seriously injured or you think they need medical attention make sure to take your dog to a qualified professional. The advice here is not meant to replace veterinary care or advice. It’s only meant to help stabilize your dog with basic first aid until you can seek veterinary care.

What is Dog First Aid?

Dog first aid is similar to human first aid.

If a dog has a minor injury like a small cut or a nail that is trimmed below the quick, then proper first aid is often all that will be needed in order for your pup to heal.

If a dog has a more major injury like a car accident or a big fight with another dog, then dog first aid can help to stabilize the situation until you can get proper veterinary care.

In either case, having the proper pet first aid supplies on hand can help you to react quickly and can help to minimize the damage to your dog.

How to Learn Dog First Aid

If you have already learned human first aid, then a lot of dog first aid will be similar. It’s not exactly the same, but treatments for things like cuts and bleeding are nearly identical.

If you’re a dog parent, I recommend getting a good dog first aid reference guide. It’s old fashioned, but I find that physical books are still the best choice for learning and implementing first aid for dogs.

Dog First Aid Books

The two books that I recommend are:

  1. Pet Emergency Pocket Guide
  2. The First Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats

I like the Pet Emergency Pocket Guide for easy and quick reference and for using for travel kits that are kept in the car or with luggage.

I like The First Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats as a more comprehensive reference book. This one is great for keeping on a shelf in your living room so that you have it when you need it. It also makes a comprehensive study guide for learning dog first aid.

the first aid companion for dogs & cats

What’s in a Dog First Aid Kit?

A dog first aid kit should contain all the essentials for treating minor injuries as well as a few items to make sure that major injuries are able to be stabilized so you can get your dog to the vet.

Here’s How to Build Your Own Dog First Aid Kit

What should a dog first aid kit contain? You’ll recognize most of the items on this list from standard human first aid kits. But dog first aid kits lack the sticky band-aids (they don’t work well with fur) and add a couple of other dog-specific items.

Below are the 17 items that should be in EVERY dog first aid kit – DIY or store bought.

  1. Scissors: Since dogs have fur, it’s super important to include scissors in your first aid kit. Scissors can be used for trimming hair around a wound or for cutting gauze and bandages to the right size.
  2. Tweezers: Tweezers are really helpful in removing larger pieces of debris from wounds.
  3. Antiseptic Cleansing Wipes: Use these to clean your hands before administering first aid to your dog, and to clean your dog’s wounds.
  4. Triangular Bandages: Great for using as a sling or to help stabilize and take weight off of an injured limbs.
  5. Medical Gloves: Keep your hands sanitary while you treat your dog’s wounds.
  6. Instant Ice Pack: Cold packs help to prevent swelling, just like in humans.
  7. Cotton Balls: Use to apply ointments and creams to wounds or skin conditions.
  8. Sterile Gauze Pads: Basic bandages to help clot any bleeding.
  9. Antibiotic Ointment: Great for use with gauze pads to help prevent infection.
  10. Wooden Tongue Depressor: Dogs can’t just open up and say ah, so a wooden tongue depressor can come in really handy when you are trying to look at their mouth and throat.
  11. Safety Pins: To use to pin a bandage to itself or to help create a sling with a triangle bandage.
  12. Tourniquet: It’s grim to think about using a tourniquet, but they are important to have in the case of a severe limb injury where you can’t stop the bleeding any other way.
  13. Clotting Aid for Dogs: Blood clotting powder for dogs is the same as it is for humans. You can use a styptic pencil or styptic powder. You’ll need these if you clip the quick when clipping your dog’s nails.
  14. Foldable Bowl: Very helpful if you are in a situation that is hot and you need to get your dog water that she can drink easily.
  15. Medical Tape: Needed for securing bandages.
  16. Sheet: Useful for carrying an injured dog safely. If a spinal injury is suspected get the veterinarian to come to you.
  17. Muzzle: No one likes to muzzle a dog, but when a dog is in pain they can bite. And if you are injured as well, you won’t do your dog much good.You can always add other things as well, but this will give you a good basic start.

You have a couple of options for assembling this kit.

You can buy all of the pieces individually, or you can start with a good human grade or pet first aid kit and add what’s missing. I’ve never seen a pre-packed first aid kit come with a sheet or a muzzle and both of these items are critical to a complete first aid kit for dogs.

TIP: I’ve priced both pet and human first aid kits and you usually get A LOT more for your money with a human kit that you add the few missing pieces too.

My favorite human first aid kit (for dogs):

For value for the money I like this M2 Basics Kit:

M2 Premium First Aid Kit

You’ll need to add these dog first aid kit essentials:

  • Cotton Balls
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Foldable bowl
  • Styptic pencil or powder
  • Sheet
  • Muzzle

You can also remove the sticky type human band-aids unless you are creating a dog/human hybrid kit.

My favorite dog first aid kit:

If you want a kit that doesn’t have the band aids and is made strictly for dogs the FabFur Gear Dog First Aid Kit is a good choice.

Dog First Aid Kit for Hiking

I like that this kit comes with it’s own Dog Emergency Handbook and that it has straps on the back that allow you to attach it to your belt or your dog’s harness.

It’s a particularly good kit if you like to do outdoor activities like hiking with your dogs.

You’ll need to add these dog first aid kit essentials:

  • Antiseptic cleansing wipes
  • Instant ice packs
  • Cotton balls
  • Wooden tounge depressors
  • Safety pins
  • Styptic pencil or powder
  • Foldable bowl
  • Sheet
  • Muzzle

About Using a Dog First Aid Muzzle

Many pet parents don’t like the thought of muzzling a dog, and this is understandable. It seems cruel.

But when a dog is injured and in pain, he may nip at you for no other reason than he hurts. If you want to treat a nippy or biting dog effectively you will need a good muzzle.

I recommend the Dog Muzzles Suit for your DIY doggie first aid kit.

Dog first aid muzzle

It’s 7 pieces and can be assembled easily for both big and small dogs. It also is soft and can pack flat, which makes it work really well for a DIY dog first aid kit.

Where to Keep a Dog First Aid Kit

I recommend that you have at least two to three dog first aid kits on hand. I like to keep one in my house and one in each car.

That way I’m prepared for any emergencies that pop up.

I do tend to combine my human kits with my dog first aid kits. Most of the items are interchangeable, and I know which few aren’t.

The Bottom Line on Building a DIY Dog First Aid Kit

The biggest thing that gets missed in most dog first aid kits is the muzzle and it’s one of the most important elements.

When building your kit you can build the whole thing from scratch using the list above, or you can buy and existing kit and add a few additional pieces to it.

I think buying and existing kit and adding a few pieces is the easiest way to get an economical and complete dog first aid kit.

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Sandy
 

An avid dog lover and Puppy Momma to two adorable Miniature Schnauzers, Sandy is also a prolific writer. When she's not spending time with us here at PatchPyppy, she's with her husband, daughter, or step-sons. Writing under the name Sandy Dugan for most publications, she's also an author, artist, and entrepreneur.

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