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How to Make a First-Aid Kit for Your Dog

Ideally, you have two first-aid kits for your dog — one for your car and one for home — so that you can start helping your dog immediately in an emergency when she’s hurt or injured.

Your first-aid kit doesn’t need to be big or expensive to be useful.

Start out by finding a water-resistant container that’s large enough to carry everything without being cumbersome. Fishing tackle boxes work well because they have trays with dividers to keep things organized.

Put a large red cross and the words first aid kit on each side of the container. Someone may need to locate and use it in an emergency, and labeling the kit clearly can be a big help.

Tape a piece of paper inside the lid, with the following information in clear letters:

  • Your name, address, and telephone number. You may also want to include additional methods by which you can be reached, such as a pager number or an e-mail address.

  • The breed, name, and date of birth of your dog. If you have more than one dog, provide this information for each dog.

  • Any medical conditions your dog has and any medication she takes regularly. Again, be sure to provide this information for each animal.

  • The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of emergency contact people in case you are incapacitated.

  • The name, address, and telephone number of your veterinarian. Be sure to provide the contact information for your after-hours emergency clinic if that number is different from your vet’s regular information.

  • Contact information for the National Animal Poison Control Center. You can reach them toll-free at 888-426-4435 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to inquire about the toxic potential of various household products and plants your dog may have found tasty.

    You also can get advice about emergency care for a dog who's gotten into a toxin. Expect a cost per case, which includes follow-up (including contacting your veterinarian if you request.

  • A list of the contents of your first-aid kit. For each of the drugs in the kit, you should also have a note indicating the appropriate dose for each of your dogs. That way you won’t have to do any calculations in your head in a time of crisis. When preparing the kit, be sure to check the doses with your veterinarian.

    In addition to taping this list on the inside lid of your first-aid kit, for the kit that you keep in your car, place the following in a resealable plastic bag, so that they’re all together and won’t get los:

    • Your dog’s rabies certificate. Some states require that you have a rabies certificate at all times if you are traveling with a dog.

    • A photograph of each dog with her name, tattoo, and microchip number. This information will help a rescuer identify each of your dogs individually if you are incapacitated.

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