Are you prepared should something happen to you faithful feline friend?
Every pet owner should be prepared and have a basic pet first aid kit on hand for emergencies even if your vet is a stone’s throw away. Having a few basic items on hand will enable you to treat minor problems at home, or in an emergency, provide basic life-saving care until you get to your veterinarian’s office.
Keep your pet’s first-aid kit in your home and take it with you if you are traveling with your pet. The first aid kit should be stored in a cool, dry place, out of the reach of children and periodically checked to ensure first aid items have not passed their expiry date.
You can purchase a pet first-aid kit from a pet-supply store or you can easily assemble your own kit by buying a first-aid kit designed for people and add pet-specific items to it.
Basic supplies you’ll need to keep your cat, dog, or other pet safe and healthy:
For general use:
1. Scissors: A very furry pet with a wound may need a bit of trimming before you can provide relief. You’ll also depend on scissors to cut gauze bandages or medical tape. The blunt tip will protect a reactive or frightened pet from further accidents.
2. Tweezers: Should your pet get a splinter in her paw, or if a spring or summertime Caturday outdoors lead to a tick creating a makeshift home on your pet’s belly, a pair of tweezers will prove their worth. Flat-ended tweezers are recommended for the same reason as blunt-edged scissors.
3. Disposable rubber/latex gloves: Better to keep your hands clean, dry, and free to perform the needed ministrations. You’ll want a pair that fit your hands well and which can be thrown out afterward. You may also consider something sturdier, such as gardening gloves, to guard against a wayward bite or scratch.
4. Rectal thermometer and petroleum jelly: I’d probably avoid trying this if I were alone during a pet emergency that required first aid, but if you have a helper, determining your pet’s temperature might be useful.
5. Flashlight and spare batteries: If pet first aid is necessary during a power outage, in a dimly-lit room, or in a vehicle, a flashlight can assist you in isolating the site of any injury and where your attentions are most needed.
For cleaning wounds
6. Hydrogen peroxide: If your pet has sustained a cut, scrape, or wound, hydrogen peroxide will be your first line of defense in cleaning and preparing it for dressing.
7. Eyedropper or plastic syringe: You could either pour the hydrogen peroxide upon your pet’s willy-nilly, or use only what you need with an appropriate tool. You might need to give your pet water, and an eyedropper or plastic syringe can help there as well.
8. Cotton swabs or cotton balls: Doing more precision work? Found the site of the injury and ready to proceed? Steep a cotton ball or the tip of a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide to clean a wound or mop up excess blood from the pet’s body.
9. Styptic stick or powder: An antihemorrhagic tool, such as a styptic pencil or powder, may come in useful if you need to stop bleeding fast before dressing a pet’s wound.
10. Antibiotic ointment or antiseptic wipes: If an injury is not too severe, applying some antibiotic ointment or wiping the area with some single-use antiseptic wipes may keep it from getting infected before you reach the veterinarian’s office or animal hospital for proper treatment.
11. Towels: A couple of clean towels may serve many functions. One will give you a place to set the cat while you perform your makeshift ministrations. The other will help with cleanup after you are done.
For dressing wounds
12. Gauze pads or roll of gauze: Sterile gauze pads or a roll of gauze will allow you to fully wrap a wound anywhere on a cat’s body, and apply sufficient pressure to it until you can reach professional medical help.
13. Adhesive medical tape: To affix the gauze bandages so that they do not come unraveled in transport or with movement.
14. Self-adhesive bandages: No help to the pet, but as noted above, an injured pet can be reactive, even to a beloved owner. Some human bandages are in order should you sustain a cat bite or scratch.
For safety and transport
15. Muzzle or bandana: An appropriately sized cat muzzle, a bandana, or even a pair of stockings tied around a cat’s mouth may help you avoid getting bit while you perform basic emergency care.
16. Blanket: Use a blanket to swaddle a tensepet on your way to the animal hospital, or to warm a pet who seems too cold.
17. Cat carrier or pillowcase: Vets and animal hospitals may not allow pets into the office who are not under a restraint of some sort. Further, a typically home-bound cat may not be accustomed to car travel. Ready access to a cat carrier — or a pillowcase if you don’t have one — might be necessary.
Points to note:
- If your pet has special medical requirements, talk to your vet about what you should have on hand.
- Always replace first aid materials and medications after they have been used.
- It is also important to have some basic first aid knowledge, so that should you need to treat your pet, you have some experience. Your veterinarian may be able to recommend (or run) classes for basic pet first aid.
- Remember, an injured pet may be scared when treating proceed with caution and have somebody to help restrain & calm the pet if possible.