Being prepared isn’t just for Boy Scouts.
man and dog on a canoe
Credit: Courtesy of Adventure Pets

Summer is nearly upon us! And with more and more people both getting vaxxed and spending more time enjoying the great outdoors, now is the perfect time to make sure you're ready to go with a pet first aid kit.

Michelle Lugones, DVM, of the Best Friends Animal Society, says having a first aid kit in your car or backpack that's specific to your pet can make a huge difference, should your pupper get injured at the lake or on a hike.

"Veterinary care is still available and emergency rooms are up and running, but it's always wise to have some first aid supplies in case you aren't close to an emergency room," she said in a news release. "That way you have the ability to say, cover an open wound before you transport your pet to an emergency clinic."

dog with bandaged leg sitting
Credit: Courtesy of Adventure Pets

In particular, the importance of getting bleeding wounds under control quickly can't be overstated. Here's why: Last summer Todd Fleming and his 5-year-old rottweiler-shepherd mix, Jasper, were out kayaking in Utah when Jasper stepped on something sharp submerged in the water that cut four veins and one artery in his foot. Fleming's brother-in-law was there and prepared with a first aid kit in his truck, which he was able to use to wrap Jasper's paw and stem the bleeding. 

After a speedy 45-minute drive to the Holladay Veterinary Clinic in Salt Lake City, Jasper underwent vascular surgery to repair his paw. Today, he's happy and healthy, thanks in large part to the fast actions of his human buddies and a good first aid kit.

"There was no way to keep pressure on the wound and also carry the dog. Being caught far away from my car and not having a first aid kit with me could have been catastrophic. Having someone there with a first aid kit saved Jasper's life," Fleming said in the news release.

Some of the things that Best Friends suggests go into your pet first aid kit are things most experienced hikers and campers are going to already have on hand, such as a spare headlamp, or a collapsible water bowl. If you've already prepped these things, you're ahead of the game!

Next, you're going to want to make sure you've got ways to both clean and sterilize wounds on the fly. Then, you'll want to cover and protect those wounds during transport. Antiseptic wipes, saline syringes, gauze pads, and bandages are all going to work well here, as well as splint rolls to stabilize any sprained or broken legs. Also, be sure to stock your kit with antibacterial cream as well as some kind of clotting powder or ointment to help stop bleeding.

Helpfully, all of the first aid items above can be used on both humans and animals, so it's not 100-percent necessary to double down on everything listed. However, because a wounded pet is liable to be a stressed, scared pet, you'll want to include a few ways to make them feel safe and protect yourself in case fear or pain causes your pet to lash out. Emergency blankets, a carrying sling, and a muzzle are all things to consider adding to your kit.

Want a complete list? We've got you covered