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Dog First Aid Kit: 11 Things You Should Include

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Having a dog first aid kit is an excellent idea for any and all pet parents. All dogs, no matter their activity level, may need first aid at some point in their lives, and this potential need only increases with things like hiking, hunting, and other outdoor activities.

In an emergency, no one wants to be scrambling and spending valuable time trying to find supplies to help their pet. That’s why having it all in one location and ready to go can greatly improve your dog’s medical outcome.

There are many pre-made kits available, but for those hoping to put together a DIY dog first aid kit, here are some considerations.

Why Do You Need a First Aid Kit for a Dog?

As previously mentioned, having an already-prepared first aid kit for your dog can save very valuable time in the event of a pet emergency and greatly improve the outcome. It can also be difficult to think clearly when an emergency occurs, so ensuring that everything is well-organized helps you, too. In fact, before finding yourself in the middle of a critical situation, make sure to check out our article on what to do in a pet emergency. A dog first aid kit should be kept in a central location at home for easy access. For pets with a more high-risk lifestyle –  such as those who enjoy hiking, hunting, dog parks, or other physical adventures – you may want to consider having a travel kit as well. 

Some instances when you may need a dog first aid kit include:

Dog First Aid Kit List

  • Gloves (multiple pairs)
  • Wound cleanser (chlorhexidine solution)
  • Complete set of bandage material (non-stick bandage, Vetrap/cohesiant wrap, tape, scissors)
  • Antibiotic ointment and/or spray
  • Thermometer
  • Saline or eye wash
  • Styptic powder or sticks
  • Tweezers or tick removal tool
  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
  • Hydrogen peroxide 3%
  • Emergency veterinary facility information and pet poison control number/resources

Best Dog First Aid Kit Supplies: 11 Items to Include

Let’s go into more detail about these dog first aid kit essentials and why they’re beneficial to have on hand.


Multiple pairs of disposable gloves are important to have in your kit. Not only do they help protect you from potential irritants, they also help protect a dog’s open wound or injury from microbes that may be on your hands.

Wound Cleanser

A good wound cleanser based with chlorhexidine solution should be included in the event of the dog experiencing an external wound or injury. First, stop the bleeding, then clean the area to prevent infection. Chlorhexidine in particular continues to be effective against microbes several hours after use, which also helps reduce risk of infection.

Bandage Material

Any good first aid kit should have a complete set of bandage material. Some quality options to have on hand include non-stick TELFA pads or dressing, gauze, Vetrap or other cohesiant wrap, quality medical tape, and bandage scissors with a blunt end.

A non-stick pad is important for wounds that may have discharge to avoid discomfort, sticking, and further trauma.

The Vetrap goes around the non-stick pad to help secure it, and the tape affixes the dressing. Bandage scissors with a blunt end help reduce the risk of cutting the dog when trying to remove the material later.

Antibiotic Ointment

Antibiotic ointment acts as an additional defense against potential infection in new, shallow wounds. If the wound is not considerably deep, a light amount of ointment should be applied after cleansing and prior to dressing the wound.


Having a thermometer in your first aid kit can help you evaluate if your dog is experiencing abnormal body temperature, whether it be from external heat or cold exposure, infection, or potentially another cause. When taken rectally, a normal temperature for a dog is around 99 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, so if the number varies much beyond that, you may need to take action.

Consider the method of taking temperature depending on the dog’s temperament and comfortability: rectal is most accurate, but placing the thermometer snugly under the leg can give you an idea as well.

Eye Wash

Eye wash, or a saline solution, is great to have on hand if your dog gets debris in their eyes or begins to squint. Washing out the eyes is the first step, before evaluating if there is a further problem.

Styptic Powder

Styptic powder or sticks are crucial in the event your dog breaks a nail and is bleeding at the quick (the meaty inside of the nail). Apply for several seconds until the bleeding ceases, then repeat if necessary.


Tweezers can be used for removing foreign material or external parasites, like ticks. (You may want to consider a specially designed tick-removal tool, especially if your pup is prone to ticks.) Tweezers are also useful if your dog gets a splinter or something similar lodged into their skin.


Diphenhydramine (the generic name for Benadryl) should be kept in the first aid kit in case your dog experiences an allergic reaction. Having an antihistamine handy can help stabilize your pet while you contact your veterinarian. To save time, you should consider keeping the dose for your dog written on the bottle for easy reference. If your dog is smaller, you may prefer liquid form, while tablets may work better for larger breeds.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide 3% can be used as an emergency emetic to induce vomiting if your dog ingests something they shouldn’t, such as human medication or toxic food. However, it’s important to note that the use of hydrogen peroxide for induced vomiting greatly depends on what your dog has ingested, being that some items could potentially cause more harm than good when mixed with peroxide. Be sure to contact a pet poison control adviser or veterinarian before administering hydrogen peroxide.

Emergency Contact Information

Lastly, keep your primary veterinarian’s information and veterinary emergency clinic information accessible in the first aid kit. You should also include pet poison control resources in the event that you need to call for advice. Having these resources readily available can save critical time in an emergency, versus having to stop and look up information.

First Aid Kit for Dogs: Other Tips and Advice

Many dog first aid kits may be very similar, but remember to tailor yours to you and your pup’s specific needs. Some additional considerations include keeping a muzzle in the kit, as your dog may bite out of fear and pain while you’re trying to help them. Just remember to get a breathable one that fits well, like a basket muzzle.

Pet wipes can also be helpful when removing external allergens and potential toxins from the skin. Consider adding a pet pilling device or syringe in case you need to administer emergency oral medications, as well as a nail trimming tool in case your pup needs a quick nail clip.

The most important thing to remember in any pet emergency is to stay as calm as possible, and being prepared can definitely help. Be sure to check your first aid kit every three months at a minimum (sooner if it’s used frequently) to keep it well-stocked with in-date and effective items. After administering first aid care, contact a veterinarian (if you haven’t already) to determine the next steps for your dog.