CultureActive Families
Indefinitely Wild

Everything You Should Have in a Dog First Aid Kit

A detailed list of what you need to treat common injuries and ailments

Joe Spoo and Wes Siler, with their dog first aid kit. (Photo: Nathan Norby)
Joe Spoo and Wes Siler, with their dog first aid kit.

I asked sporting dog veterinarian Joe Spoo to help me create a comprehensive first aid kit for my dogs. Let’s list everything he recommended, so you can make sure you’re prepared to save your dog’s life, too. 

Digital Thermometer

Joe suggests using a thermometer, not to monitor your dog’s outright temperature, but rather to track changes in it if your dog appears to be too cold or too hot. Recovering temperatures are a good sign. Ones staying too low or too high, or continuing in the wrong direction, are a sign that you need to take immediate action to cool your dog down or warm it up. 

Buy Now

4x4 Gauze Sponges

After you’ve cleaned a wound and applied antibiotic ointment, use sponges to absorb blood. 

Buy Now

Surgical Soap

This is helpful for cleaning dirt from wounds. 

Buy Now

Two-Inch Vet Wrap

This stuff sticks to itself, but not to fur, allowing you to stabilize joints or apply pressure to a wound. 

Buy Now

One-Inch Tape

Use tape to secure gauze over wounds.

Buy Now

Saline Solution

Clean wounds with saline rather than employing hydrogen peroxide, which can damage the flesh further. 

Buy Now

Triple Antibiotic Ointment

Apply this to wounds after cleaning them to prevent infection. Re-clean and re-apply daily. 

Buy Now

Cotton Swabs

Spoo recommends the ones with the wood handles, so you can reliably apply pressure if necessary to clean foreign objects from an orifice or wound. 

Buy Now

Staple Gun

These allow you to close large wounds in the field. Spoo says you should work from the center of the wound, outwards, to minimize the number of staples you use. 

Buy Now

Tissue Glue and EMT Gel

You can use these not only to close a small cut, but also to repair a broken nail or torn paw pad. 

Buy Now (glue) Buy Now (gel)

Needle Nose Pliers

For removing things like porcupine quills, fishing hooks, and other foreign objects that may be impairing your dog’s skin, pack a needle nose pliers. 

Buy Now

Hemostats

These allow you to clamp a wound closed while you staple or glue it. 

Buy Now

Clean White T-Shirt

If your dog suffers a major injury with a lot of blood loss, a simple T-shirt will be big enough to shove inside it. With the addition of pressure, that may help control blood loss. And you’ll be able to monitor how that’s going because you’ll see blood soaking through the white cotton. 

Buy Now

Saline Eye Wash

If your dog has something in its eye, squirt this into the corner to remove the object. 

Buy Now

Ophthalmic Ointment

If your dog’s eye is cut or irritated, this may be able to sooth pain and irritation. 

Buy Now

50-Percent Dextrose Solution

If your dog suffers from hypoglycemia, you can feed it this to return its blood sugar to safe levels. 

Buy Now

Hydrogen Peroxide

Rather than using this to clean wounds, Spoo recommends you use it to induce vomiting in case your dog ingests poison. 

Buy Now

Prescribed Medications

Bring extra prescriptions with you in case your dog needs them. 

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
Filed To: DogsFirst AidIndefinitely Wild
Lead Photo: Nathan Norby

When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small commission. Outside does not accept money for editorial gear reviews. Read more about our policy.

More Culture