DIY Building your Pet’s First Aid Kit

As pet owners, we want to keep our furry friends safe and healthy. But accidents can still happen — cuts, falls, tummy troubles, and more. That’s why every pet home should have a well-stocked first aid kit. But store-bought kits can be pricey. Making your own customized pet first aid kit allows you to tailor it to your pet’s specific needs and save money in the process.


Whether you have a dog, cat, small animal, or other pet, a first aid kit is essential to have on hand for any minor medical issues or injuries that may arise. While hopefully your pet will never need it, you’ll feel reassured knowing you have the supplies you need if an accident or illness does occur. And building your own kit allows you to choose high-quality items tailored just for your pet.


Choosing Supplies and Materials

The first step is selecting the container or bag that will hold all your first aid kit supplies. It should be:


Choose something sturdy that can withstand being handled, opened/closed regularly, and potentially tossed in your car, bag, or closet for easy access when needed. Hard plastic cases or dry bags work well.



Opt but with enough interior space for all necessary items. Look for bag styles with handles or shoulder straps.


Compartments, pockets, and dividers inside help keep smaller items from shifting around. This makes everything easier to find in an emergency.


Select a container with a tight-fitting, secure lid to keep dust and moisture out. Zippers or clips work much better than loose lids.


With the container picked, it’s time to stock it full of essential supplies. Here are the core items that should form the basis of any DIY pet first aid kit:

Bandages and Gauze

Sterile gauze pads, rolled gauze, Vet Wrap bandages, and tape are staples for covering wounds. Have several sizes of each on hand.

Antiseptic and Antibiotic Ointments

Bacitracin, Neosporin, or another antimicrobial prevents infection on cuts and abrasions. Apply a small amount with a cotton ball 1-2 times a day.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Used to cleanse wounds and help dissolve debris. Pour directly onto wounds and allow to bubble, then rinse with saline or water.

Saline Solution

Rinse wounds after cleaning and flush eyes. Great alternative to peroxide and less stinging for pets. Store in spray bottles for easy application.

Cotton Balls/Swabs

Essential for applying ointments and cleaning wounds gently. Make sure to use cotton as plastic swabs can break off in ears or wounds.


Both digital and no-touch types help monitor temperature which is an indicator of illness. Know normal ranges for your pet.


Gentle rinses are suitable to flush foreign objects or irritants from the eyes. Use saline if available, otherwise, purify water.


Optional but recommended for first aid on cats or fearful/injured dogs. Allows safe handling and examination when needed.

Emergency Contact Information

Keep veterinary office numbers, including emergency clinics, written somewhere accessible in the kit for reference. Add your pet’s name and microchip/tag numbers.

First Aid Book/Guide

A small first aid book or printed instructions provide step-by-step guidance for common issues like bleeding control. Helpful when panicked or without internet access.

With these core products, your basic first aid kit is ready to be customized further based on your individual pet’s needs and lifestyle. Let’s break down each supply in more depth and discuss proper usage.

First Aid Kit Supply Guides


Sterile gauze pads, rolled gauze bandages, and paper tape are staples for covering and protecting wounds of all sizes. The gauze absorbs fluids while preventing further injury. Tape or Vetwrap bandages secure dressings tightly in place.

Sizes: Include multiple sizes of gauze pads (2×2 inch, 3×3 inch, etc) and rolls of gauze (1/4 inch, 1/2 inch widths). Cut gauze into smaller strips as needed.

Application: Clean the area first if it is dirty. Place the gauze pad directly over the wound, then wrap the gauze bandage several times around in a figure-8 pattern. Seal with tape – not too tight. Monitor for bleeding.

Storage/Lifespan: Store in ziplock bags to maintain sterility. Replace annually, even if unused, as sterility degrades over time.


Antibacterial solutions and ointments fight infection on cuts and minor wounds. Do NOT use on deep punctures or infected areas without vet advice.

Types: Highly recommend double-checking antiseptic is pet-safe. For dogs and cats, popular options include Betadine solution, chlorhexidine wipes, or diluted hydrogen peroxide.

Application: After cleaning the wound, apply a small amount to the injury 1-2 times daily or as directed. Gently wipe or dab – do not scrub. Use cotton balls or gauze for application.

Storage/Lifespan: Check expiration dates and replace antiseptics yearly whether opened or not. Store solutions at room temperature, away from light and moisture.

Saline Solution

A gentle rinse for flushing eyes or wounds, diluting medications, or irrigating injuries. Hypoallergenic saline is the safest option for pets.

Concentration: Use 0.9% saline solution, which matches tears and blood. Any lower concentration risks further irritating injuries.

Application: Spray or pour saline directly onto the affected area and flush gently. Rinse eyes particularly well by holding eyelids open. Can also soak cotton balls for localized wound cleaning.

Storage/Lifespan: Unopened saline can last up to 2 years unrefrigerated. Shake well and observe for cloudiness prior to each use.


Monitoring temperature is crucial if injury or illness is suspected. Digital options tend to be the most accurate and least stressful on pets.

Types: Infrared no-touch thermometers work well for dogs and cats without restraining them. Rectal thermometers require gentle insertion but give the most precise readings.

Use: Follow specific product directions, but aim for consistent temperature taking. Normal ranges are 100-102.5°F for dogs and 100-102°F for cats.

Cleaning/Storage: Disinfect probes between uses and store them in a covered container out of reach of curious pets. Replace thermometers every two years or as recommended.


Especially important for active pets at risk of debris, chemicals, or plant material exposure to eyes. A saline solution is best, otherwise, purified water.

Application: Pour directly over closed eyelids, hold open, and flush downwards for several minutes. Massage eyelids in between. Repeat as needed to flush thoroughly.

Storage: Keep eyewash sterile if possible by storing it in squeeze bottles or travel tubes until needed to avoid cross-contamination. Replace solutions as expiration dates approach.

With these core supplies guiding you, you can now expand the kit further based on your unique pet’s needs. Further customize it by including any medications, muzzles, nail clippers, ear cleaner, or other items your pet commonly requires. It’s also a good idea to include:

Emergency Contact Info

When panic sets in during an accident, having veterinary phone numbers readily accessible is essential. Include clinic information as well as your regular vet’s after-hours emergency line. Add your pet’s ID tags or microchip number too.

Laminate this sheet or store it in a clear plastic sheet protector for durability. Keep multiple copies – one in the first aid kit, one in your car, one posted by your home phone. Peace of mind during stressful situations is worth preparing for.

Organizing the Kit

Now that you’ve assembled all the necessary first aid products, it’s important to thoughtfully organize them inside the storage container or bag. Compartments, pouches, and dividers maximize accessibility during emergencies when seconds count. Consider these organizational tips:

Group Similar Items

Bandages, antiseptics, etc, in their own labeled section. Ointments are easy to tip over – baggies prevent spills. Roll gauze for tangle-free storage.

Size it Right

Leave some empty space in the kit to allow for future additions. Overstuffing makes individual items hard to retrieve quickly. Consider dividing items among several smaller bags or pouches within the main case for easy portability.

Label Clearly

Use labels, permanent markers, or laminated notes to identify each section at a glance. For example, “Bandages”, “Medications”, etc. This prevents wasting time scanning items trying to ID what’s what in an emergency.

Priority Access

Frequently needed supplies like wound cleaning materials, thermometers, and contact sheets should be stored towards the top or front side for immediate access. Less often used extras can go towards the back.

Portability in Mind

For car kits or ones frequently removed from home storage, double bag loose liquids or securely tape down item lids to prevent spills during transport. Elastic bands or zip ties cinch open bags when needed.


Leave a Comment