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Assembling a First-Aid Kit for Your Dog

A basic, in-home first-aid kit could prove invaluable as you and your dog go through life together. You could have your dog from puppyhood to old age and never encounter an emergency situation — or you could face numerous emergencies throughout your dog's life. You don't know if or when emergency will strike, but being prepared for any disaster puts you ahead of the game.

Following are all the items you need in a basic, in-home first-aid kit. Though you may not need all the items listed here at any one time in your dog's life, it's a good idea to at least own them and know where you keep them.

  • First-aid book
  • Adhesive tape or self-sticking Vet Wrap
  • Cotton balls
  • Square gauze pads, 3 x 3 inches
  • Instant hot/cold packs
  • Cotton-tipped applicators (like Q-tips)
  • Antibacterial ointment (like Neosporin or Bacitracin)
  • Bitter Apple cream and/or spray
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Clotisol (clotting cream)
  • Activated charcoal (in case of poisoning)
  • Tweezers and small, sharp scissors
  • Thermometer (Note: A dog's normal temperature is 101 degrees F. You can buy ear thermometers for pets at most major pet-supply stores.)
  • Aloe-vera gel (to sooth scrapes and cuts)
  • Canine antidiarrhea medication (such as Metronidazole, an antibiotic available from your veterinarian) (Note: Human over-the-counter antidiarrhea medications often don't work at all with dogs.)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Muzzle (Note: Many injured dogs bite first and ask questions later.)
  • Something you can use for a stretcher, such as a board, blanket, or floor mat

If you're hiking, camping, boating, or engaging in some other outdoor activities with your dog, place the following items in a zip-top plastic bag and toss it in your backpack:

  • Fresh water, at least 1 pint
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Self-adhesive stretchable wrap, such as Vet Wrap
  • Bite/sting stop
  • Tweezers
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