Why a pet first aid kit

Could come to your pet's rescue

While most people have an emergency first aid kit in the home, car and boat, the supplies within it are almost always suitable only for people. While that makes sense, when accidents and weather events happen pets can suffer the consequences just as severely as their humans.

That’s why having a pet first aid kit is key for the times when pet owners are unable to access a vet or a long way from a clinic. It’s a first line of defence for your fur kid’s health safety, sometimes for their survival.

PD Insurance Chief Operating Officer Michelle Le Long says while every pet parent does their best to look after the dogs and cats in their charge, accidents happen.

“Whether it’s your pet jumping through a high window, being hurt in a car crash, a rogue animal attacking them, hurting a paw on a sharp rock or getting stung by a bee, the availability of a pet first aid kit will enable you to treat them as best as possible until you can get to a vet.”

Dogs NZ’s Rhea Hurley is all for the idea of a pet first aid kit. “We used to make some when I owned my own veterinary practice,” Hurley reveals, adding that she keeps one in the car. “It goes wherever we do.”

Emergency care made for pets

As an experienced hand not only in veterinary care but also in the contents of a pet first aid kit, Hurley says the first consideration is that the kit is for the pups and kitties and not people. She breaks down the recommended contents into essentials and non-essentials.

Essential items:

  • Information on your pet’s current treatments or medications, as well as a fair supply (keep an eye on expiry dates).
  • Your contact details and those of your vet and emergency vet.
  • Practical items like a pen, tweezers, gloves, sharp, clean scissors, cotton balls or swabs, saline vials.
  • Pet-safe antiseptic wipes or wash.
  • Bandaging materials: including sterile dressings that can be placed directly on wounds, layers of padding, and a dressing that can hold it all in place.
  • Adhesive tape.

Non-essential items include:

  • A towel.
  • Pet thermometer.
  • A ‘cone of shame’ (Elizabethan collar).
  • Pet treats or food sachets.

She recommends containing the kit in a clean, dry container that’s easy to grab, portable, and easily stowed.

Watch out for human medication!

A key factor you may have noticed in Hurley’s suggested contents is the absence of any medications beyond those already prescribed to your pet. Veterinary meds are often very different from those prescribed to or taken by humans. They are not suitable for pets.

Apart from metabolic and other differences from humans, pets are radically different to each other in size and weight. For example, a Pomeranian is no match for a St Bernard.

“Never give pets human medications without veterinary supervision,” she stresses. “There is far too much risk of adverse effects or interactions with other medications, treatments, or supplements. Your vet team is amazing. Call them in an emergency and they can recommend the safest treatment options if you are far from a veterinary clinic or away from home. If your clinic isn’t open, your after-hours contact will help.”

Boost your pet first aid knowledge

One final recommendation Hurley makes is to take a pet first aid course. Just like there are various levels of medical training for people, ranging from the average Joe taking a first aid course through to nurses, doctors and specialists with their high level qualifications, so too are there different levels of pet medical care training.

“It’s probably not something most pet parents have ever considered,” says Le Long, “But we’re seeing more of our policyholders interested in pet first aid. There’s definitely a rising interest in learning basic skills that will help look after the fur kids in an accident or other emergency.”

Hurley and Le Long recommend looking into pet first aid courses, with various providers delivering them around New Zealand. Pet first aid kits are also commercially available, making it easier to tailor one to your household’s individual circumstances.

Finally, Le Long says being prepared always trumps coming up empty handed, especially when something bad happens.

“A first aid kit doesn’t just mean a bunch of products in a bag in your car,” she says. “It means you’ve thought about the risks out there and taken positive action towards mitigating and dealing with those risks. Whether it’s your pet or somebody else’s that experiences an accident or incident, that kit and your knowledge can make all the difference to their health and survival.”

For more information on how to make a pet first aid kit, read more here: https://www.pdinsurance.co.nz/blogs/how-to-make-your-own-pet-first-aid-kit/

Media contact 

Leandri Smith – The Mail Room 
027 365 9003 | [email protected]