April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month. The perfect time to put a kit together if you don’t have one and/or inventory and replenish items if needed.
I like to use a fishing tackle box, tool box or even a large plastic tote.
Some useful items to keep in the kit are non-stick bandages, gauze, muzzle(s), extra leashes, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide (3% if possible), cotton balls, cotton pads, vet wrap, digital thermometer, saline solution, allergy medication, activated charcoal or milk of magnesia, scissors, tweezers, syringes (different sizes), flashlight, food and water bowls, poop bags (to collect samples for the vet), towels, paper towels, rubber gloves, tongue depressors and/or paint stir sticks (great for splints), something to use as a sling to help support your dog if needed and your pet first aid course booklet.
You can buy a pre-made kit like the ones listed below and then customize it to your needs. You can also purchase a human first aid kit and then add in the pet supplies as needed for your family. Store the kit in a cool dry place and make sure everyone knows where it is.
When you change your clocks, it is a good time 2x a year to check the contents of your kit. Or more often if you use it regularly. Here are a few examples of kits below.
Another tip is to do a house and yard puppy proofing walk and make sure there is nothing toxic or dangerous your pets can reach. Think about medications, cleaning supplies, perfumes, electrical cords, toiletries, plants, flowers, vehicle supplies, pesticides, etc. Remove the plastic rings of pop cans and bottles and throw away plastic bags or anything your pet could use to suffocate.
Last but not least, put an emergency preparedness kit together. This is different than a first aid kit. It has travel supplies (crate for each animal), vet records, extra medication and food for all pets. This also applies to you. I recommend having at least 2-4 weeks of extra food on hand in case of an emergency. In addition, purchase items to store water for you and your pets, such as a water bladder.
Do you have an emergency evacuation plan? How long can you shelter in place? If you had to evacuate, where would you go? Do they have space for all of your animals? Sometimes it is tough to think about, but it is important.
You don’t want to panic at the last minute. Having an emergency contact to help you is also valuable. If you needed to transport a large animal, who can you call during the day, at night, on the weekends to help you? Create a list of contacts that you can depend on when and if needed.
And if possible, take a Pet first aid course so you have the knowledge and skills to be able to safely help your pet(s) in case of an emergency. Know the location and hours of operation of the closest emergency vet (during the day and at night) and how to get there.
Being proactive, prepared, calm and having a plan in place can save your pet’s life. Then pay it forward and make sure your friends, family and neighbors have a plan.