The first aid kit

A first aid kit to deal with medical emergencies should be present in all households. Most of what you find in a human kit can be used for pets but it is probably preferable to have one human-orientated kit and one pet-orientated kit in your household.

The reasons for this include basic good hygiene practice and the possibility of inappropriate use of human medications for pets. Apart from the basics (listed below) in your pet kit,you should consult your veterinarian with regards to what else, especially from a medicine point of view, you could include. Make sure that you understand how and under what circumstances you should use these medicines and be aware of any potential side effects.

The requirements for a first aid kit for pets will depend to a degree on the types of pets you have in the household. Some species are more prone to certain afflictions and you need to make provision accordingly. Thus you will need to use some common sense when putting your kit together.

First aid kit contents

1) Container for the equipment
2) Light blanket
3) Small flashlight
4) Muzzle that fits pet
5) Thermometer
6) Cotton wool
7) Ear buds/cotton tip applicators
8) Gause swabs (approx 7cm by 7cm or 3 by 3 inches)
9) Crepe bandage
10) Adhesive/Masking tape (2.5cm or 1 inch wide)
11) Tweezers
12) Blunt tipped scissors
13) Topical antibiotic ointment
14) Sterile saline
15) Eye dropper
16) K-Y or petroleum jelly
17) List of relevant emergency contact numbers.

While a first aid kit can be very useful in some emergencies, it can also inadvertently give one a false sense of security. Remember that this kit will help you deal with a limited number of situations only. Once you have administered first aid, your best course of action remains getting your pet professional help as soon as possible.

Finally, while it is great to have a first aid kit available for emergencies, it does help if you know where it is. It sounds stupid, but experience has shown that very often in households, only one member of the family knows where the kit is kept. So make sure that everybody competent to make use of the first aid kit, knows where it is kept!

And finally, if you have occasion to make use of the kit, make sure you replenish supplies immediately. If you don't, you could regret it later.