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Be Pet Prepared: A Comprehensive Guide to Assembling a Pet First Aid Kit

Updated: Jan 7, 2023

Accidents happen— it’s a fact of life. Because when it comes down to it, our pets are like children. They love to explore, get into stuff, and can be generally accident-prone. (Don’t even get us started on puppies.)

That’s why, when emergencies arise, it pays to be prepared. You can secure a stress-free year in 2023 by taking the time to plan ahead and build a solid pet first-aid kit. You (and your pet) will be glad you did!

We researched the safety recommendations of reputable organizations like the American Kennel Club, added our personal favorites, and prepared a comprehensive guide to putting together your very own pet first aid kit.


Briars, nails, rusty old fences, broken glass, other animals’ claws— the list of things your pet can get nicked on is epic. Gauze applied to the wounded area stops blood from getting out and harmful germs from getting in. If you have a small pet (cat or small dog breed), we recommend cutting your gauze into smaller squares that can be easily applied to your pet’s limbs and paws.


A pair of sharp scissors will come in handy when trimming gauze and bandaging. We recommend fabric scissors that you can get at Walmart or Amazon.

Non-stick bandaging

You’ll notice we don’t have “gauze tape” on this list. That’s because we find some pets have a propensity for tearing it off and subsequently chewing on their dirty gauze. Gauze tape also pulls out fur when you take it off. Ouch!

We recommend a non-stick bandage that can be wrapped securely around the wounded area on top of the gauze. Non-stick bandaging is convenient, easy to tear (for someone with opposable thumbs), and makes for a neat bandage. You can find it in most first-aid aisles.

Wire cutters

Most first aid kits will include scissors for trimming gauze and bandages. But since we’re dealing with pets here, we also like to include a set of wire clippers. Sometimes dogs get stuck under fences or caught in some form of netting or another (can you say holiday decor?). Wire cutters are handy to have when your pet is stuck and something dangerous is digging into their skin. Easier to just snip them out— especially if you need a vet’s help to extract the dangerous bits from deeper under the skin.

Cotton balls

Cotton balls are a go-to for applying disinfectant to a wounded area. You can also use cotton balls in place of gauze for a very small wound. Just apply the cotton ball to your dog or cat’s wound and wrap it with a non-stick bandage.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a great pet-safe antiseptic. If you don’t use hydrogen peroxide yourself, think of it as the trusty “all-purpose” cleaner you keep under the kitchen sink: safe on everything and cleans up anything. Use hydrogen peroxide to clean up wounds and protect them from infection— another good reason to keep cotton balls on hand.

Hydrogen peroxide is even safe to put in your pet’s ears or bum area. (Hydrogen peroxide wipes are especially great for taking care of smelly bums or sanitizing/cleaning up after bum-scooters. If you know, you know.)

You can find hydrogen peroxide in the first aid aisle of any drug or grocery store pharmacy.

Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to induce vomiting in dogs. (Not to be used to induce vomiting in cats, however.). The amount to use for dogs ideally would be given under the guidance of a veterinary professional because too much peroxide can be problematic. A rough estimate is 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of the dog's body weight by mouth, with a maximum dose of 3 tablespoons for dogs who weigh more than 45 pounds. Double check that your hydrogen peroxide is 3%. Higher concentrations aren’t safe for your dog.

Milk of magnesia (for dogs)

Milk of magnesia is popular with dog owners for treating poisoning. It’s a type of antacid that neutralizes excess stomach acid, which can help to alleviate symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Milk of magnesia will also relieve digestive discomfort and can help to absorb toxins in the intestines. This makes it especially effective if you’re dealing with chemical poisoning, i.e., medicine cabinet or under-the-sink stuff.

Warning— milk of magnesia, while relatively safe for dogs is made for humans. There are no dosage guidelines for pets on the bottle, so you should consult a vet when determining the right dosage for your dog’s size and breed. We don’t recommend milk of magnesia for cats.


Keep your cute little pill popper’s medication organized with a secure pill box. Make sure the box you get is air-tight and water-resistant to protect the medications inside.


Tweezers are the item you won’t think of but will always wish you had. Tweezers are terrific for pulling thorns, ticks, and debris out of your pet’s fur and skin.

Magnifying glass

While you’re tweezing, you may also wish you had a magnifying glass to see what you’re doing! Magnifying glasses are also great when checking for fleas and ticks that may be hiding in your dog or cat’s fur.


If we could make sure our pets kept their dangerous activities to the daytime hours, we would. But, a lot of the time, dogs and cats are getting into trouble at night or in zero to dim light. A flashlight is handy whether you’re looking for your lost pet or trying to see where they’re injured.

Soft muzzle

Some situations can call for the temporary use of a soft muzzle. Soft muzzles prevent dogs from biting or chewing which can be especially helpful if the dog is recovering from an injury or surgery. If you and your dog are exploring a new walking trail or neighborhood, you’ll also want to prevent your dog from eating things that may be harmful to them, such as garbage or toxic plants.

Believe it or not, soft muzzles can even reduce anxiety in some dogs, as they provide a sense of security and comfort. Note that a soft muzzle should not be used as a substitute for proper training and behavior modification, but it can be a useful tool in certain situations.

Canned pumpkin

Canned pumpkin is kind of amazing. It can help with both diarrhea and constipation issues in dogs. Always keep a can of plain canned pumpkin in case your veterinarian professional advises you to use it.

First Aid Book for Dogs/Cats/Your Breed

The internet is not always available and so having a hard copy of first aid book for pets can be hugely beneficial for pet owners. It can provide you with essential information on how to quickly and safely respond to some of the most common pet emergencies, such as burns, bleeding, broken bones, and choking. Additionally, it can also give you more ideas of items you want to have on hand to be better prepared. Having a pet first aid book is a great way to have peace of mind and be prepared to handle any unexpected pet emergencies.


A first aid kit for pets is an essential item for anyone with pets. The items don't have to be altogether in one bag, but they should be where you can instruct others to locate them for you. Having these items can give you peace of mind, help you feel better and help ensure the safety of your pet.


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