Natural First Aid Kit
First Aid and CPR
First aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation courses are available for pet owners both in-person and online. They are offered through the Red Cross and many private groups. The Red Cross has a free mobile application/app that provides veterinary as well as everyday pet care.
First Aid Kit Ingredients
When making your own first aid kit for home or travel, there are many homeopathic and herbal remedies that can be included.
- In case of accidental ingestion of something you suspect may be toxic, it is best to call a poison control center to determine whether the pet needs veterinary care and whether inducing vomiting is recommended. Options include the United States ASPCA Poison Control Center, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The phone number is (888) 426-4435. Another option is the Pet Poison Hotline, which is also open 24/7. The phone number is (855) 764-7661. Their website has an alphabetical listing of potential toxins for quick reference. Check resources within your country if you live outside the United States.
- If the poison control center recommends inducing vomiting, hydrogen peroxide 3% solution works well for most pets. Hydrogen peroxide is an irritant to the pet’s intestinal tract and typically works within 10 to 15 minutes, recovering about 50 percent of the ingested contents of the stomach. The vomiting can last for up to 45 minutes. The recommended dose is 1 teaspoon per ten pounds body weight. This dose can be repeated if the pet does not vomit within fifteen minutes.
- Inducing vomiting can be dangerous in brachycephalic (short-faced) breeds because of concerns of causing aspiration pneumonia, so be sure to check with your veterinarian first. Do not induce vomiting if your pet is lethargic or comatose or if he is having seizures. If your pet ingested something more than two hours prior, it may be too late to get him to vomit it up.
Sprains, strains, and muscle aches
- Homeopathic arnica30C can be given orally every few hours immediately after the injury.
- Moldable cold packs can also be placed over inflamed muscles or joints for ten minutes two to three times daily for the first 48 hours.
- After 48 hours change to warm packs to increase circulation and healing to the area.
- Herbal remedies are available; one of my favorites is Dog Gone Pain which can be used for cats or dogs.
Cuts, scrapes, wounds, and hot spots
- Virgin organic coconut oil or Manuka honey act as natural antibacterial agents that will prevent infection. Colloidal silver can be very effective at decreasing inflammation and preventing infection. Aloe vera gel or an herbal ointment will soothe and help heal wounds. Hotspot Relief Balms containing a combination of coconut oil, Manuka honey, aloe, and herbs are also available. Compresses of warm green, black, or chamomile tea can help decrease swelling. French green clay products can help dry moist wounds.
- Hydrogen peroxide is not recommended for use on wounds, as it does not distinguish between good and bad cells within the wound. It kills everything, including the white blood cells that ward off infection, which slows down healing, making the wound stay open longer, which can lead to more infections.
- Another commonly used product for cleaning wounds is rubbing alcohol. While it is true that alcohol can work to minimize germ activity within the wound surface, it will also burn the skin immediately. Skin cells can be damaged, and the process is painful for your pet.
- The first choice for cleaning a wound should be thorough flushing of water or saline over the injury to initially minimize infection. This will provide moisture and help cleanse the injury without risk of cell damage. Saline, when made correctly, has the same makeup as body tissue and is gentle on vital healing cells. Daily flushing will remove bacteria, pus, and dead cells.
- To make a saline solution for your dog or cat, add ½ teaspoon of sea salt to one cup of boiling water. Stir to dissolve; use when cool. Make a fresh solution each time you need it.
For wounds that are bleeding
- Powdered goldenseal or yarrow are very effective, along with topical powders made for humans.
- Witch hazel also works to constrict blood vessels and is a good disinfectant for the wound.
- In a pinch, cornstarch or regular flour will work well. If bleeding is excessive, contact your veterinarian.
- These can cause allergic reactions that may be life-threatening. Facial swelling or swelling of the ears may be the first sign that an allergic reaction is occurring.
- Severe reaction may result in coughing, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea, or collapse. Symptoms typically occur within 30 to 60 minutes after the sting, however, in rare situations they can occur hours afterward, so it is important to keep a close eye on your pet all day.
- If your pet received a single sting somewhere on the body other than the mouth or muzzle and is not displaying any concerning signs, it is safe to monitor and care for their symptoms at home.
- Ice packs can be applied at the site of the sting and witch hazel is effective at decreasing pain when applied topically.
- A natural anti-inflammatory and antihistamine such as quercetin can be given orally. The dose is 5 to 10 mg per pound of body weight given twice daily one hour before or three hours after meals.
- One dose of the homeopathic Apis 30C may also be given.
- If you notice any concerning signs or if your pet was stung multiple times or has had a bad reaction to a sting previously, you should take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Antihistamines are often prescribed for pets with a known history of allergic reactions; some may require steroids as well.
For simple gastrointestinal upset
- Ginger, catnip, or chamomile tea, ginger cookies, or slippery elm can help decrease nausea. These can also be used prior to transportation if your pet suffers from motion sickness.
- For loose stools, bentonite clay and slippery elm can be very effective, along with a bland diet.
- If there is any blood in the vomit or stool, consult your veterinarian. Vomiting or diarrhea that is profuse or lasts more than one day warrants a veterinary visit.
For mild cough
- One quarter teaspoon per ten pounds body weight of Manuka honey (local honey will also work) or coconut oil given orally will soothe the mucous linings of the respiratory tract.
- Cool steam humidifiers or allowing the pet to rest in the bathroom with the shower running to create steam can help loosen secretions and decrease coughing.
Mild ear inflammation
- There are several products containing a mixture of witch hazel and aloe vera along with herbs thatdo a great job decreasing inflammation and infection.
- Fill the ear canal, massage the base of the ear, wiping away any debris and liquid that can be seen in the canal using a cotton ball.
- Do not use cotton swabs deep in the ear canal, as the tissue is very delicate and may be harmed by the abrasive action.
- Do not use water, hydrogen peroxide, or alcohol in the ears. Water and hydrogen peroxide will leave moisture in the ears that leads to more infection. Alcohol is painful if there is any ulceration in the ear canal.
- Consult your veterinarian is the infection is chronic or the ear is painful.
Seizures or agitation
- CBD oil can be helpful to calm an anxious or agitated pet. It has been used successfully for many pets that suffer with seizures.
- If a seizure lasts more than one minute the pet should be taken to an emergency service.
- Any pet that has seizures should be evaluated by their primary care veterinarian to determine the cause of the seizures. Protect pets from falling down the stairs or off furniture during a seizure.
- Homeopathic products can be used to reduce anxiety.
- Flower essences have been very effective for many anxious pets.
- Lavender essential oil sprays can help.
Other supplies to keep on hand include
- Tweezers to remove splinters
- A soft infant rectal thermometer (normal temperature should be 100 to 102 degrees F.)
- Water-based lubricant to lubricate thermometer
- Sterile cotton balls for cleaning wounds
- Non-adhesive pads to cover wounds
- Bandaging supplies may include sterile gauze pads, Ace bandages or self-adherent pet bandages, and sterile bandaging tape. Never apply bandages tightly.
- Clean towels
- Bandage scissors
Hopefully, you will never be faced with a severe accident or injury with your pet. Being prepared with simple first aid supplies may help you avoid an expensive trip to the emergency hospital. Pets with any symptoms that do not clear quickly should be evaluated by a veterinarian.