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Our ultimate checklist to building your own pet first aid kit - be prepared for the unexpected


Jade Poole from I Write Words


Top must-have items every pet first aid kit should have

It helps to be prepared for the unexpected, expected and everything in between, because when pet emergencies and accidents happen (and they do), being prepared could mean the difference between life and death for your furry loved one.

When something goes wrong, you need to know what to do and more importantly, you need to have the right equipment to keep your pet alive before seeking professional help.

Of course, having pet insurance that pays you before you see the vet helps in ensuring you are covered for surprise medical costs, but there are also some precautions you can put into place too, and a pet first aid kit is one of them.

Just as you would have a first aid kit for your family to help in treating injuries and wounds in your family, you need to have the same kind of kit for your precious pets.

A number of these items you can get from a pharmacy, grocery store and your local pet store.

What to include in your first aid kit



Help to remove foreign objects from wounds and splinters, also help in removing ticks. You can also get special tweezers (tick removal tool) to remove ticks.

Gauze (squares, rolls and pads)

Gauze is a must have in any first aid kit and is used to cover a cut or sound to help in stopping the bleeding.

Muzzle or slip lead

When your dog is scared or injured, then he may react aggressively. If you need to treat a severe injury then you will need to have a muzzle.

Non-stick wraps or bandages

When you need to cover up a wound to prevent infection or wrap a sprained limb, then there are special bandages you can use made for animals - these will not stick to their fur.


You can use wound disinfectant wipes which contain betadine (which does not sting the wound). Do not use rubbing alcohol or Dettol as this can cause pain and stress for your pet.  

Digital thermometer

A dog’s core temperature is higher than a human’s so you need to use a special one made for pets . This will be inserted rectally.


●        Wound spray

●        Antihistamine

●        Hydrogen peroxide (3%) - helps to clean wounds

●        Skin and paw balm for cracked and dry paws

●        Activated charcoal - for ingested poisons

●        Pain killers - DO NOT use over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, only use buffered aspirin

●        Saline eyewash


Electrolyte replacement

Try to find a sugar-free alternative for your pets to help with exhaustion and dehydration.

Collapsible water bowl

Must-haves for any kit

●        Medical tape

●        Disposable gloves

●        Cold and heat packs

●        Cotton swabs and balls

●        Bandage scissors

●        Scissors

●        Cloths and towels

●        Small flashlight

●        Nail clippers - for broken nails

●        Vaseline or some form of lubricant to be used when taking the rectal temperature

●        Emergency contact numbers (vet and pet insurance)

Having a first aid kit is not enough

Of course, you can have all the items you need in case of an incident, but you might not know what to do with any of them. It helps to take a pet first aid course or take an online course in the basics of pet care in an emergency.

And finally, make sure you are covered for unexpected medical costs and vet bills with pet insurance. Pet insurance gives you the peace of mind you need when it comes to helping cover the costs of pet emergencies.

A basic surgery at the vet can cost thousands of rands and pet cover makes sure you are not left to front this bill alone.

Make sure you pack your pet first aid kit when going on holiday with your pet and check your kit every month to see if anything has expired and needs to be replaced.

Until next time,

The Pet Insurance Family

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