Dogs get hurt and sick just like we do, but they can’t be treated with human first aid products. So, how can we help them?

It’s hard to see your dog suffer, and even harder to feel like you can’t help them.

So, what can you do when your dog is hurt or sick?

Your first move will depend on your dog’s condition. If your dog is seriously suffering, take them to your veterinarian or nearest animal hospital right away. For minor injuries and ailments, like small cuts, burns or hot spots, these can be quickly and effectively treated at home with dog first aid supplies. These products are not meant to replace veterinary care, so if in doubt, a call to your veterinarian is always a good idea. 

Dog first aid products can help promote healing for dogs (and peace of mind for you), and are specially formulated just for dogs. They can be purchased at most pet supply stores as needed. However, when you do need them, you often need them RIGHT NOW. 

That’s why we advise all dog parents to have a dog first aid kit on hand. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that pet owners keep basic first aid supplies for pets in their homes.

Here are our must-have items for your at-home dog first aid kit:

Medicated Antiseptic SprayHelps relieve pain and swelling
Styptic PowderHelps stop bleeding (especially helpful for nail trims)
Wound & Infection MedicationCleans wounds and kill germs
Nonstick or Liquid BandageHelps heal and protect injuries
Gauze Helps protect wounds and speed healing
Scissors To cut the gauze
Adhesive TapeTo secure the gauze
TweezersTo remove foreign objects, like thorns and splinters
Hydrocortisone LotionHelps relieve itching and swelling from skin irritations

Also include phone numbers for your veterinarian, your nearest emergency veterinary hospital, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: 888-426-4435.

Many people also keep essential supplies stored away in case of an emergency, such as an extreme weather event or natural disaster. For pet parents, we recommend storing the following items for your dog in addition to your own supplies:

  • Your dog first aid kit
  • A week’s worth of your dog’s food (dry food is best to avoid refrigeration)
  • Plenty of bottled water 
  • Bowls for food and water
  • Any daily medications
  • Leash
  • A copy of your dog’s medical history and vaccinations
  • Blanket
  • A few toys to keep them occupied
  • Waste disposal bags

It’s very important to make sure that your dog is wearing his or her collar with current tags in case you get separated. A clip-on dog collar light is also a great idea. 

If you’re considering getting a dog or know someone who is, we encourage you to include first aid among your essential dog supplies. Expecting parents often register for baby first aid kits. Similarly, our fur babies depend on us to be prepared for their inevitable accidents and ailments. And if you’re already a dog parent, it’s never too late to plan for the future!

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