Emergencies can happen anytime. Anywhere. Emergency preparedness may not be on your mind as the weather warms up. The summer months are peak times for hurricanes, flooding and tornadoes.
You never know when bad weather will strike. But when it does, you need to be prepared. For your family and your pets.
Many people become overwhelmed when disasters happen and it’s hard to think clearly. Fear is the best reason to have a pet first aid kit ready and handy for emergencies. A first aid kit can save your pet’s life.
Pet Poisoning Emergency Tips
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA APCC) offers five key tips for pet poisoning emergencies in your home:
1. Be prepared. Keep your veterinarian’s phone number, the number of the closest emergency veterinary hospital and the number for a pet poison center nearby and saved in your phone.
The ASPCA APCC number is 888-426-4435. The Pet Poison Hotline is 800-213-6680.
Your homemade pet first aid kit can also save your pet’s life. Keep it filled and close by in case of emergencies.
2. Keep a cool head. The best thing you can do for your pet is keep calm. You want to ensure your pet that she gets the first aid she needs. Stay calm, provide first aid and get the important information you need for the veterinarian or emergency staff.
3. Be prepared to answer questions. What is the toxic substance you know or suspect your pet ingested? You can pack up the substance itself (this is ideal) or write down the exact name of the product or medication.
Also write down the strength (typically in milligrams) of the drug, the concentration of active ingredients in herbicides or pesticides and the EPA registration number.
Write down any other information you think might help the veterinarian who will be treating your pet. For example: When did the poisoning happen? Did you catch your pet actually ingesting the substance? Has your pet vomited? If so, did she vomit up any of the poison or packaging?
4. Evaluate your pet’s condition. Keep a clear eye and observe your pet’s condition. Is she bleeding? Vomiting? Is she behaving differently? What about her breathing? Is she unresponsive?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, get immediate medical attention. Call your veterinarian or the nearest emergency animal hospital and alert them that you’re on your way.
5. Be proactive. If you suspect or know your pet has ingested a poison, call the nearest emergency animal hospital. Time is critical. Do not wait for symptoms to appear.
If you can quickly treat your pet at home, (with help from your vet or a pet poison hotline), the better chances for survival and recovery.
Pet First Aid Kit Items
Find a clear plastic container. You need to quickly see and find the items in your first aid kit. Even a plastic zip bag can hold the supplies listed below.
Phone Numbers and Addresses
- Phone number and address of your veterinarian
- Phone number and address and directions to the nearest emergency animal hospital or clinic.
- Review your pet emergency plan.
- Phone number and address of your local animal ambulance or transportation service, if one is available.
- The ASPCA Animal Poison Control hotline at 888-426-4435 and/or the national Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661
- Tape these phone numbers and addresses to the outside of your kit. Or inside where you can quickly find the list without opening up the first aid kit.
First Aid Items
DIY treatments. Learn how to make homemade treatments for minor pet emergencies:
**Always call your vet or a pet poison hotline if you believe your dog or cat may have ingested a toxic substance. Hydrogen peroxide should not be used to clean a wound, as it is known to actually slow the healing process.
- Muzzle – An injured animal can be aggressive when they are in pain or afraid. Have a muzzle on hand but don’t muzzle if your pet is vomiting. Here’s a link to make a homemade muzzle.
- Collars or harness and leash.
- Blunt-tipped scissors. Use to clip debris from your pet’s fur or trim hair away from a wound.
- Pre-soaked povidone iodine (Betadine) pads – Use to clean out cuts, wounds or abrasions, and bottled water to flush the wound after using the pre-soaked pads.
- Triple antibiotic ointment – Apply to a wound after cleaning with Betadine and flushed with water.
- Tweezers – For splinter or tick removal.
- Nail trimmer or clipper.
- Sterile water-soluble lubricating jelly – Apply around your pet’s eyes if you need to use soap or Betadine to clean a wound close to the eyes.
- Hydrogen peroxide 3% – Use to induce vomiting, only if your vet or an animal poison control hotline instructs you to do so.**
- Elastic bandages or gauze – Use to hold a nonstick pad in place over a wound.
- Sterile nonstick pads – To cover a wound before bandaging.
- Flashlight and magnifying glass – To see the thorn in your pet’s paw or the tick between her toes.
- Saline solution – Regular human contact lens saline drops can flush out dirt, and other irritants from your pet’s eye. Also use it to flush away debris from a cut or scrape.
- Clean cotton towels – Use as a pressure bandage, blanket or sling to lift a pet who is unable to walk.
Additional Items For Your Pet’s First Aid Kit
- Cotton balls and swabs
- Benadryl for hypersensitivity reactions
- Ear cleanser
- Bach Rescue Remedy for stress
- Styptic/clotting powder to stop bleeding from broken toenails or a homemade remedy
You can also buy a ready-made pet first aid kit. Make sure family members know where to find it and keep it easily accessible.
If you’re traveling with your pet, bring the kit along or prepare a second first aid kit for the car.
Remember that administering first aid to a sick or injured pet is just the first step in handling the emergency.
Always seek immediate veterinary care as soon as possible to give your pet the best chance for a full recovery.
I hope you found this information useful,
Dr. Pet Mom
“Don’t litter. Spay and neuter your pets.“
Disclaimer: Any information provided is only marginal advice and not a substitution for professional advice. Please seek help from a qualified veterinary professional prior to taking any action such as changes in your pet’s diet and/or medication. Use any information entirely at your own risk.