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by Thom W. Conroy

Most pet owners are fortunate in the ability to simply get in their car and drive to a Veterinarian when a pet has a health issue, but this is not always the case. Unless you live in a usually metropolitan area with a 24 hour veterinary hospital, it can be quite an agonizing wait to find a veterinarian that is open and available. A well prepared pet first aid kit can become a valuable self-help device that an owner can utilize quickly to provide temporary relief to a distressed animal. While no pet owner should ever attempt to take on the role of a Veterinarian, some simple and basic first aid remedies and devices can at least prevent the situation of an ill or injured pet from worsening until proper professional treatment can be obtained.

There are any number of commercially sold pet first aid kits on the market that are outstanding, and the price range varies with each kit’s abilities. While this is the simplest manner in which to gain an appropriate pet first aid kit, in some instances these kits can be quite costly, and need to be updated periodically as the expiration date of components pass. Perhaps the most economical way to obtain a pet first aid kit is to initially purchase a commercial kit, and after expiration dates pass use the base components to establish a more personal first aid kit.

In creating a home pet first aid kit from scratch, there are a number of items that need included to cover as many situations as possible. While the list may seem extensive, you’ll be glad you included them in the worst case scenario. In the area of durable good, scissors, a small syringe, a bulb syringe, tweezers, an eyedropper, rubber gloves, a safety razor, a rectal thermometer, a comb and nail clippers are a good start. Paper towels, sterile gauze, a cotton bath towel, cotton balls, Q-Tips, and antibacterial wipes are imperative in treating any type of pet wound.

A good pet first aid kit will include hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in case of poison, and charcoal tablets to absorb ingested toxins. Soft pet food can be quite useful in poison situations, as eating may help the animal’s body absorb the toxins. A bottle of sterile saline solution to flush out wounds as well as styptic powder or a styptic stick to help stop bleeding should be included. A leash and muzzle are often necessary to prevent a pet from biting the person attempting to help them. Finally, a book on veterinary emergency medicine can guide a pet owner through the most difficult pet health emergencies