First Aid for your pet

Be Prepared

  • Keep your regular veterinarian’s phone number and the after-hours veterinarian’s phone number in a place you can easily find them. Include directions or maps so you know how to get there even when you are worried or in a hurry.
  • Have a written list of your dog’s important health information including diagnosed medical conditions and medications that s/he takes.
  • Assemble a first aid kit and know where you keep it.  First aid kits for pets contain many of the same things that a first aid kit for people would have.
  • Purchase a pet first aid book from

Pet First Aid Kit Contents and Usage

Gauze Squares  Bandaging wounds
Gauze Rolls Bandaging wounds
Cohesive wrap Bandaging wounds
Tape  Bandaging wounds
Antibiotic Ointment Applying to minor wounds
Gloves Keeping hands and wounds clean
Hydrogen Peroxide To induce vomiting
Muzzle Preventing upset pets from biting
Nail Clippers Trimming broken or torn nails
Styptic powder  Stopping bleeding nails 
Leash Capturing/restraining pets that are afraid
Petroleum Jelly Taking the temperature
(plastic, non-mercury)
Taking the temperature
Benadryl (Diphenhydramine) Allergic reactions
Tweezers Removing foreign objects
Scissors with blunt ends Bandaging wounds
Syringe Giving liquids
Sterile saline eye wash Flushing debris from eyes or wounds
Pet First Aid Book Reference

Know What’s Normal

  • Heart Rate (HR) 60 – 120 beats per minute is normal for a resting dog (small dogs and puppies can be slightly higher). Cats is 120-140 beats per second in home environment. Count how many times your pet’s heart beats in a 15 second interval and then multiple it by 4.
  • Breathing Rate (RR) 10 – 30 breaths per minute is normal for a dog or cat at rest. Count how many times your pet’s chest rises in a 15 second interval and then multiple it by 4.
  • Temperature (Temp) 100° – 102.5° temperatures lower than 100° or higher than 104° require a trip to the veterinarian
  • Mucus Membrane Color (mm color) Pink is the normal color of your pet’s gums and inner lips. Very pale, white, blue, yellow, cherry red or brick red mucus membranes indicate a need for urgent care.
  • Capillary Refill Time (CRT) 1-2 seconds is normal. If the pink color returns in less than 1 second or more than 3 seconds you should call a veterinarian.

More pet health info: