What You Should Prepare For Emergencies With Your Pets: Canine First Aid Kit Components Expected For Different Situations 2022

Emergencies often happen when you least expect them. As part of being a responsible dog owner, you must make sure that you are ready and prepared to look after your pet should an accident or emergency occur. There are a few simple measures that you can put in place to help you in this task. Some are focused on garden-related safety, and others on more general safety preparations.

What To Put In A Dog First Aid Kit?

For minor injuries or for immediate treatment before bringing your pet to the vet, your Canine First Aid Kit should include:

  • Bandages
  • Roll of sterile gauze
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Roll of self-adhesive gauze (Vet Wrap)
  • Surgical tape
  • Antiseptic cleansing wipes
  • Blunt tip scissors
  • Saline eye flush solution
  • Instant ice pack
  • Antibiotic
  • Sting treatment
  • Kennel leash
  • Betadine
  • Tweezers
  • Latex gloves
  • Blanket or large towel
  • Water
  • Collapsible bowl

You should keep a comprehensive first aid kit in an easily accessible place in your home. Specific Dog First Aid Kits are widely available.

You should also keep a book on first aid for dogs with your first aid kit for ease of reference in an emergency. A quick reference guide can save valuable seconds in a situation where time is limited. It is also useful to keep a pet first aid book in your vehicle for emergency situations when you are out and about.

Should I Take My Dog To The Vet?

Call your vet if you believe it could be an emergency!

Here is some guideline on how to tell whether something is an emergency – though never hesitate to phone your bet and ask for advice. If any of the below apply you should definitely phone your vet:

  • Your pet is bleeding (and your pet is not a female who is in heat)
  • Your pet has been in a fight with another dog and suffered an injury
  • Your pet has been in an automobile accident
  • Your pet seems weak, convulses, or is reluctant to get up
  • Your pet has trouble breathing or coughs continually
  • Your pet vomits continually
  • Your dog appears to be in severe pain
  • Your pet is shaking or shivering

Emergency Contacts

Keep a note of your vet’s telephone number near your home phone, and also stored in your cellphone. You should also have the number of the nearest emergency vet hospital stored alongside these for emergency care outside of normal clinic hours.

Arrange with at least one friend, family member, or neighbor who is familiar with your dog that they act as an emergency guardian. It is important to have a reliable person on standby should you need to leave your pet in someone else’s hands, for instance, if someone close to you requires emergency medical care and you have to take them to the hospital.

Keep telephone numbers for emergency contact on your cellphone under the name ICE. Emergency services personnel often look for contacts under this name. Make sure that the person you list as contact is aware that if you are involved in an incident your dog may be left alone at home or elsewhere and you may need them to take charge in such circumstances. Be sure that they are happy with this responsibility and that you are confident in their ability to care for your pet. Make sure they have access to a set of keys to your house and leave them written instructions of your pets’ food and medical requirements

Emergency and Travel Kits

Prepare an emergency pack with supplies for your dog.
This will be invaluable should you ever need to leave your home in a hurry. Your emergency kit should contain a copy of your dog’s medical records, two weeks’ supplies of any medication they are on (be sure to rotate this regularly so as it does not expire), a spare lead, collar, and harness, and recent photographs of your dog. You could also include water and food bowls (collapsible dog bowls are useful for saving space), a few days’ worths of food, and plastic bags for cleaning up after your dog.

Dog owners may wish to keep a supply of ‘calming tablets’ for their dog, for use in times of stress. Products such as NaturVet Quiet Moments Chewable Tablets For Dogs are designed to keep your pet as calm as possible in times of high stress and anxiety. These may be useful in the event of an emergency, particularly if your dog has to be relocated or separated from its family.

Emergency Situation Responses

If your pet is seriously injured or ill, you will need to take him to a veterinarian; but what immediate steps should you take in an emergency situation? Here are a few guidelines:

  • When in doubt, contact your vet. Keep his phone number handy so that you can easily reach it in an emergency. Also, keep the phone number of your local emergency animal hospital handy encase you are unable to reach your regular veterinarian.
  • Keep Calm! You must keep calm so that you can think clearly and drive safely.
  • If there is any risk that your dog will bite you during your attempts to aid him, be sure to muzzle him or wrap gauze around his muzzle to secure your safety.
  • Never give human medicines to a dog – many will do more harm than good. Do not offer food or drink in case anesthetic is needed.


Do your best to keep your dog as calm and as quiet as possible. Put a tight bandage on the wound. If you can’t place a tight bandage on the wound, put pressure on the wound with a gauze pad and hold it in place. Most importantly, get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.

Automobile Accidents

Your first concern if your pet is involved in an automobile accident needs to be for your own safety. You can’t be of help to your pet if you are injured in the process. Be careful of the cars on the road and be very cautious approaching your own pet. Talk slowly and gently as you approach. Avoid sudden movements. Try to put a muzzle on your dog first so that he won’t instinctively bite you if you accidentally cause him pain. Also, try to get a leash on him as he may be in shock and try to run as soon as he can. Take your dog to the vet immediately even if you don’t see any injuries. There could be internal injuries that are not visible. Cover your dog with a blanket on the way to the vet to reduce heat loss and lessen the shock.

Burns and Scalds

Run cold water over these for at least five minutes, and then contact the vet. Keep a cool compress on the burn while on your way to the vet’s office.


Try to find packaging from the substance swallowed and have it with you when you phone the vet. If chewing plants is suspected, try to find out the identity of the plant. Call the vet immediately. Do not cause your dog to vomit unless the vet says to do so.

Swollen Belly

If this happens suddenly, treat it very seriously. It could mean there is a life-threatening twist in the stomach. Phone the vet immediately – do not delay.

Coat contamination

If a substance such as paint or tar has got onto the coat or paws, prevent the dog from licking, as it may be toxic. Use an E-collar if you have one. You may be able to clip off small areas of affected hair. Never use turpentine or paint removers on your dog. You can sometimes remove paint and other substances by bathing the dog, but if a large area is affected, see the vet right away.

Heat stroke

If on a warm or hot day your dog is panting heavily and is distressed and especially if the dog is short-nosed, overweight, or has been playing or exercising, think heatstroke! Put the dog somewhere cool. Wet the coat with tepid water (cold water contracts the blood vessels in the skin and slows heat loss) and phone the vet immediately. You can also offer a small amount of water.


If your dog experiences a seizure, do not try to hold or comfort the dog, as this provides stimulation, which may prolong the seizure. Darken the room and reduce noise. Remove items, especially anything electrical, away from the dog so they cannot cause injury. Pad furniture with cushions. Call the vet immediately!

Eye injuries

If the eye is bulging out of the socket, apply a wet dressing, prevent rubbing or scratching and immediately take your dog to the vet. If chemicals have got into the eye, flush with water repeatedly (preferably from an eye drop bottle) and call the vet.


NEVER put yourself at risk by attempting to rescue a dog from drowning. When your dog is safely on shore, wipe away material from the mouth and nose. Hold the dog upside down by the hind legs until the water has drained out. Give artificial respiration if breathing has stopped. Even if your pet seems to recover, always see the vet as complications afterward are common.


Pull out the sting below the poison sac, then bathe the area in water, or a solution of baking soda, or sting treatment from your pet first aid kit, if available. Applying ice will help to soothe. If the sting is in the mouth or throat, contact the vet as it may swell and interfere with breathing.

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