Being Prepared – A Pet Caretaker’s First Aid Kit

In my earlier post, Cat Health Procedures You Should Know How to Do, I listed a number of pet caretaking skills that can make the difference between full or partial recovery from an illness or injury, or, in some cases, the difference between life and death.  Those skills are particularly important to acquire if you live more than a few minutes from a 24-hour veterinary hospital.

The same holds true for the list I am providing today. This list includes both routine and critical care supplies that are advisable to keep on hand. Also included are items that you hopefully will never need but will be darned glad you have if and when you do.  Most of these items involve learning how and when to use them, and some should be used only under the express and specific direction of your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can advise and instruct you on the use of these items. If you have the slightest doubt about how, when, or if you should use any item in this list, ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR VETERINARIAN FIRST!


  • phone numbers for your vet, the nearest after-hours emergency vet, and the pet poison hotline (1-800-426-4435)
  • pet first aid book

Prescription Items (use in consultation with your veterinarian)

  • *oral antibiotic (amoxicillin or other)
  • *non-steriodal triple eye antibiotic
  • *fluids (Lactated Ringer Solution or other – treats dehydration)
  • *medications and supplies prescribed specifically for your pet (have enough on hand to complete the prescribed course of treatment)

Over-the-Counter Remedies (use in consultation with your veterinarian)

  • Probiotics (repopulates beneficial gut bacteria during and after antibiotic treatment)
  • canned pumpkin (helps normalize stool consistency)
  • Laxatone, Cat Lax, Petromalt, or other hairball remedy (for hairballs and constipation)
  • pet enema (NEVER use a human enema on a pet)
  • Miralax (to prevent chronic constipation)
  • baby aspirin (NEVER administer to cats unless under the specific direction of a veterinarian)
  • Corn syrup (treats hypoglycemia)
  • Benadryl (for allergic reactions – use ONLY under veterinary advice)
  • L-lysine (for herpesvirus flare-ups in felines)
  • hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting)
  • pyrantel pamoate dewormer (eliminates most worms except tapeworms)

Wound and Injury Care

  • antibiotic salve (available over-the-counter at any pharmacy)
  • Betadine or other wound cleanser
  • cornstarch or styptic powder (to stop minor bleeding)
  • 2″ wide gauze roll
  • gauze sponges
  • sterile no-stick gauze pads
  • Q-tips, cotton balls, or sheet cotton
  • vet wrap or other self-adhesive, elastic bandage wrap
  • adhesive tape
  • blunt-tip scissors
  • splint
  • Elizabethan collar (to prevent licking or chewing wounds or bandages)
  • expired credit card or similar (to scrape away insect stingers)
  • magnifying glass
  • penlight and extra batteries
  • tweezers
  • needle nose pliers
  • latex or nitrile exam gloves
  • grooming  clipper

Miscellaneous Supplies

  • digital thermometer
  • Vaseline or KY Jelly
  • stethoscope
  • piller (I prefer Dr. Hanson’s Bullseye Pillgun)
  • Pill Pockets (my cats prefer the duck flavor)
  • pill cutter
  • pill crusher or hammer
  • sterile syringes (3-5cc)
  • needles (Terumo 20 ga Ultra Thin Wall – may require rx in some U.S. states)
  • IV tubing (for subcutaneous fluid administration)
  • rubbing alcohol
  • hot water bottle (fill with either warm or cold water)
  • emergency blanket
  • nail clipper (I use a human nail clipper for cat claws)
  • flea comb
  • Dawn dishwashing liquid (dilute with warm water and use as a flea shampoo – do not get in animal’s eyes)
  • digital baby scale

Restraint and Safe Handling


  • feeding syringe or regular needleless syringe (10cc)
  • kitten nursing bottles
  • KMR or other kitten milk replacer (do NOT feed kittens cow’s milk)
  • baby food meat (check ingredients for meat only – NO onion or garlic)
  • Nutrical or Nutri-Stat (high calorie dietary supplement)
  • A/D prescription canned food (for debilitated animals)
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