Household

Best Dog First Aid Kit & DIY Tips

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Last Updated: June 10, 2024 | 8 min read | 4 Comments

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You’re hiking along with your dog when she suddenly trips over a rock and starts limping. What do you do? When hiking and camping, you probably bring a first aid kit for humans, but don’t forget to be equally prepared for your furry friend. Learn some of the most common dog injuries and what to include in your dog emergency kit so you’re ready to help. And if you want to save the hassle and expense of a do-it-yourself kit, I’ve researched the best pre-assembled dog first aid kits.

OverallBudgetTravelCollar
ARCA PET first aid kit.Rayco International Pet First Aid Kit.Kurgo pet first aid kitUncharted Wolf Pack First Aid Dog Collar
ARCA PETRaycoKurgoUncharted Supply Co.
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Common Injuries & Accidents To Prepare For Your Pup

I’m lucky I haven’t experienced any injuries or accidents with my pup while on our outdoor adventures or at home. But I know all too well from friends and family members who have dogs that they can happen anytime. Below is a list of some of the most common injuries that our furry friends can sustain.

You’ll want to be prepared for as many of these as possible. Some injuries are impossible to foresee and require a veterinarian’s expertise immediately. However, the dog first aid kit supplies can help comfort your pup until you can get to your vet and might even save your dog’s life.

Best Dog First Aid Kit

If you don’t want the hassle of assembling a kit on your own, there are several top-rated pet first aid kits to choose from. These typically include many of the items you’ll want. They’re fantastic to have on hand at home or when you’re traveling. They also make great sporting dog first aid kits for adventurous pups, hunting dogs, bird dogs, and more.

Expert tip: Most pre-assembled kits don’t include everything your pup may need, so you’ll likely have to supplement it with additional items. With every kit I review here, diligent dog owners said they had to add a few more components. However, I’ve found that these kits can save you a lot of money compared to buying all the items separately.

Best Overall: ARCA PET Dog & Cat First Aid Kit Review

ARCA PET first aid kit.

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Many pet owners say this is a must-have kit for your pet’s first aid needs. At a reasonable price, it includes 100 items — all the essentials for wound and sprain care plus a pet thermometer, emergency collar, tick remover, and first aid book.

The lightweight bag is made of durable, water-resistant nylon. It also comes with a small pouch with a clip to attach to your belt for walks. It’s a bit heavier than others I reviewed here, but it’s still fairly compact at 8″ x 6″ x 3″ and only weighs 1-1/2 pounds.

Price

Best Budget: Rayco International Pet First Aid Kit Review

Rayco International Pet First Aid Kit.

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This first aid bag is an excellent value if you’re looking for a budget-friendly kit. It includes 45 essential items, including an LED safety collar. This kit contains the necessary items you’ll need to stop bleeding from minor cuts (with a styptic pencil), deal with sprains, treat bites, and more. It also gets excellent customer reviews for its price and the quality of items included.

This kit has four compartments for easy organization, measures 8 x 7 inches, and weighs 1.15 pounds, so it’s pretty compact for travel. What are the potential downsides? It’s not as water-resistant as other kits I reviewed here. Also, it doesn’t include some materials that higher-priced kits do, including a guide on how to administer basic first aid to your pup.

Price

Best For Travel: Kurgo Portable Dog First Aid Kit Review

Kurgo pet first aid kit

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The compact design of this Kurgo makes it a fantastic choice for first aid on the go. Kurgo is well-known for its high-quality, rugged outdoor dog gear, like harnesses and backpacks, and this product stands up to the company’s reputation. It contains 50 first aid items, all well-organized in a water-resistant canvas pouch that folds down small enough to fit into your glove compartment.

Inside are three zippered mesh compartments, making it easy to view and access items quickly. It also has one external zippered pocket and an integrated bottle opener-hook closure which you can use to hang the unfolded kit from a tree or door knob. It includes most items you’ll need for accidents and a pet first aid guide with good instructions. And it only weighs one pound, so you can even attach it to your dog’s adventure harness.

Price

Best Integrated Collar: Uncharted Wolf Pack First Aid Dog Collar Review

Uncharted Wolf Pack First Aid Dog Collar

View on Uncharted Supply

The Wolf Pack by Uncharted Supply Co. is a hassle-free way to have emergency pet supplies on hand anytime. Created by a team of vets, EMTs, and dog owners, the Wolf Pack features all your pup’s first aid supplies integrated right into her collar. It comes in two sizes for medium and large dogs, is made from military-grade, waterproof material, and has a built-in sturdy handle.

Inside the collar are 10 first aid items to protect against cuts, wounds, bites, and stings your dog may encounter while adventuring in the wild or at the dog park. Another plus, the collar only weighs 8 ounces. This innovative collar even won GearJunkie‘s Best in Show award in 2021.

Price

DIY: What Items Should I Include In A Pet First Aid Kit?

Another option is to create your own canine first aid kit from scratch or add items to your human first aid kit. Below is a list of items recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) that you’ll want to include in a dog first aid kit for camping, hiking, or other activities.

  • Emergency phone numbers (vet, emergency vet clinic, poison control, etc.)
  • Copies of medical records
  • Current photos of your pup (in case she gets lost)
  • Self-cling bandages (sticks to itself but not fur)
  • Gauze (sponges and roll)
  • Tape
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Tick removal tool
  • Foil emergency blanket
  • Cotton balls
  • Eyewash (to clean dirt out of your dog’s eyes)
  • Activated charcoal, like Dr. Cuddles ReadyRESCUE (to absorb poison, but only use if instructed by your vet or poison control center)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (used to induce vomiting but only when authorized by your vet or poison control)
  • Ice pack
  • Muzzle (so your dog doesn’t lick/bite any wounds)
  • Leash
  • Disposable gloves (non-latex)
  • Rectal thermometer (your dog’s temperature should be between 100°F and 102.5°F)
  • Petroleum jelly (to lubricate the thermometer)
  • Scissors (with blunt ends)
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Syringe (to flush any wounds with saline solution)
  • Tweezers
  • Rehydrate electrolyte tablets

If your dog has any health issues (like allergies) or takes medications regularly, you will also want to include the supplies necessary to help your furry friend in the case of an injury.

Here’s a video that provides a more detailed explanation of the ideal contents for a canine first aid kit.

When Pet Insurance Can Help

If you’re worried about the many accidents and injuries that can happen to your pup while exploring the world, you may want to consider getting pet insurance to help make sure you can cover those unexpected vet expenses before they happen. Keep in mind that pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions, so it’s wise to get your dog covered before anything occurs.

With a pet insurance policy, you’ll never have to worry about choosing between an expensive treatment versus your pet’s suffering or even his life. Pet insurance gives you peace of mind to make better and less emotional decisions when facing an unexpected pet health crisis. Read our reviews of the top pet insurance providers to learn more.

Dog First Aid Kit Tips

Check out this infographic for easy reference and some basic tips to help your pup in cases of injuries or serious problems.

Dog First Aid Kit Tips

Our Personal Experience With Dog First Aid

I am an avid hiker and usually carry some first-aid items in my backpack. One day, while hiking in the foothills with my dog Bear, a black Labrador, I encountered a situation where I had to treat my dog for an injury on the spot. We lived in an area with many cacti, and Bear got off the trail and stuck his nose and paw into a cactus. He was in immediate pain and freaking out, flailing about with needles everywhere. 

It was clear I could not get Bear home or even back to the car in the state he was in. Having stepped on a few cacti myself, I knew exactly how painful the burning and stinging is, and I knew I had to help him immediately. My husband held Bear tightly in a big hug while I used some tiny tweezers to pull out the cactus needles. I did his nose first because there were fewer needles, and he wouldn’t stop trying to paw at them. Once removed, I used an alcohol wipe to clean his nose. Then, I did my best to remove most of the needles from his leg. I wiped his leg down as well. Then, I gave him a treat and some water, and we slowly made our way back to the car. 

I took Bear to the vet right away, where they were able to remove any leftover needles, clean his skin, and inspect for further injury. He was given medication to calm down and treat the pain. I was very grateful to have the first-aid items in my backpack. Otherwise, I would not have been able to help my sweet pup.  Since then, I never take my pups out for hikes without keeping some first-aid essentials with me. 

Danielle DeGroot, Rescue Pup Parent, Canine Journal Research & Writing

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman helping dog laying on the ground with a first aid kit for dogs.
Image credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Here are some of the questions our readers often ask about dog medical kits. If you don’t see yours here, ask us in our comments.

When Should I Carry A Dog First Aid Kit?

It’s important to take your dog’s first aid kit any time you are traveling with your pup. This includes hikes, long walks, trips to the park, vacations, etc. If your dog is away from home, she should travel with her kit and food.

How Do I Make A Homeopathic First Aid Kit For Dogs?

A homeopathic first aid kit should include many of the items I list above, but you may also want to add this Helio Homeopathic Pet Kit. It contains 24 homeopathic remedies to treat everything from stings and bites to wounds and sunburn, and it’s compact enough to fit in a larger first aid kit.

How Do I Learn How To Do Pet First Aid?

Caring for your dog in a time of need can be scary. It’s essential to know as much as possible before an emergency arises. I suggest purchasing a first aid book, like First Aid for Dogs: An invaluable guide for all dog lovers, so you’re as prepared as possible in case your pet needs help.

We know you want to be as ready as possible, but knowing your limits is important. Many pet parents want to learn CPR, but you should never practice on a healthy dog because it could cause serious injury. See our step-by-step guide on how to do CPR on your dog to learn more. However, keep in mind that CPR success rates are low even in a vet hospital with trained professionals. So, owners shouldn’t waste too much time trying to do it themselves. Instead, contact and begin transport to the nearest vet clinic as soon as possible.

Should I Consider An Online Vet?

If your pup gets injured or falls ill when you’re traveling, camping, or outside of your vet’s office hours, it’s challenging to know what to do. In some cases, an emergency clinic is your best option, but what if it’s not an emergency? See my reviews of the best online vet services that can provide medical advice over the phone or via video chat. Several even have 24/7 on-demand services.

Why Trust Canine Journal?

Sally has over 20 years of experience in human health sciences communications, including 10 years as an expert on pet health conditions and treatment. She’s part of a dedicated team of canine professionals and long-time dog owners at Canine Journal. We spend countless hours researching the best care, training methods, and pet products, not only for our own pups but for all of our readers.

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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