First Aid Pet Medicine Chest

kitten first aid

Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

While your veterinarian diagnoses and prescribes for your pet’s health issues, first aid as well as minor problems may benefit from human medicines. Let’s face it, Fido and Sheba rarely tears a claw or eats something ify during regular clinic hours, so it’s helpful to know how to use your pantry supplies and human medicine chest to help your cat or dog. Some people prescriptions can be dangerous (especially for cats!) so it’s a good idea to have a handy list.

First aid and home remedies don’t replace proper veterinary care, but they can keep pets more comfy until medical care is available. And sometimes a home remedy is all that’s needed. Even if human meds work, the doses usually are lower due to the smaller size of the pet. Your vet can tell you the exact dose needed for your specific pet but here are some common human medicines that benefit pets.

26 Common Human Medicines for Pets

  •  A & D Ointment: antibacterial for scrapes and wounds.
  • Artificial Tears: eye lubricant
  • Aveeno Oatmeal Bath: soothing rinse for itchy skin
  • Benadryl: antihistamine for bug bites—also makes pets sleepy
  • Betadine: antiseptic for cleansing/soaking wounds or injuries
  • Burow’s solution: topical antiseptic
  • Caladryl: soothing topical for pain or itching
  • Cortaid: anti-itch cream
  • Desitin: for skin inflammation
  • Dramamine: helpful for car sickness, nausea
  • Dulcolax: for constipation
  • Epsom salts: for soothing soak for sore paws
  • Kaopectate: to control diarrhea
  • Lanacane: topical anesthetic
  • Massengill Disposable Douche: body odor/skunk spray
  • Metamucil (unflavored): for constipation
  • Mylanta Liquid: for digestive problems and/or gas
  • Neosporin: to help prevent wound infection
  • Pedialyte: counteracts dehydration
  • Pepcid AC: to control vomiting
  • Pepto-Bismol: for diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
  • Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia: for constipation
  • Preparation H: soothes sore bottom
  • Solarcaine: topical anesthetic, helpful for sunburn
  • Vicks VapoRub: for congestion
  • Witch hazel: topical antiseptic
Toy terrier dog.

Image courtesy of

23 Helpful Household Items

In the best of all possible worlds, emergencies never happen or if they do, pet owners have a professional medical kit handy. These should be stocked with sterile gauze pads in different sizes, elastic Ace bandages, needle-less syringes and eyedroppers for medication and even stretchers. You can buy commercial kits from pet supply stores or put together your own, and it’s very helpful to have a handy pet first aid how-to guide handy.

But all too often pet owners don’t think about being prepared until after the first emergency. If you find yourself faced with a doggy or kitty health crises you may be surprised how many everyday items around the house or in your pantry can be helpful. I’ve lifted most of the tips in today’s blog from my pet first aid book–where you can find more specifics .

  • Blanket/cookie sheet/ironing board: stretcher
  • Bubble Wrap: stabilize leg fracture/injury
  • Canned Pumpkin: for constipation or diarrhea
  • Condoms: to cover injured/bleeding paw
  • Dawn Dishwashing Soap: decontaminate fur
  • Heat pad: for arthritis/aches
  • Hose/sink spray: flushing wounds
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3%): given orally to prompt vomiting
  • Ice bag/frozen peas: topical pain control
  • Karo syrup/honey: for shock
  • KY Jelly: lubricant such as for eye out of socket
  • Olive oil: to suffocate/kill ear mites
  • Pliers: remove porcupine quills/foreign object in mouth
  • Pantyhose/necktie: muzzle
  • Mustache trimmer: clip fur around wounds
  • Needle/Safety pin: acupuncture CPR
  • Teabags, soaked and cooled: to treat hot spots
  • Turkey baster: flush wounds, give liquid medicine
  • Rectal thermometer
  • Saran Wrap: seals wounds, holds bandage together without sticking to fur
  • Sterile Saline Solution: flush wounds, eye injuries
  • Squirt gun, squeeze bottle: give liquid medicine/flush wounds
  • Yogurt: settle digestion, control gas


I hope you’ll never have a pet emergency but better to be prepared. What pet emergencies have you faced? What did you do? After such an experience, what would you do different in the future? Check out this great infographic for more details about pet first aid.


I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!


First Aid Pet Medicine Chest — 8 Comments

  1. My thirteen year old pekingese was diagnosed with a heart murmur about six years ago. At that time the vet. wanted to put her on expensive medications, however, she showed no symptoms. It was only last year when she began to cough and have fluid around her heart. Then we saw the vet. He gave her lasix to rid her of the water. He also gave her two other expensive medications, which a pet rescue unit paid for. She is still frisky and playful and out of pain. She’s old for a pekingese. When she is nervous and coughing despite the meds., I give her benedryl and that calms her. Thanks for your article.

  2. Ooh I didn’t know pumpkin was goor for BOTH of those. I knew it was good for constipation.

    My vet is good about letting us know about home remedies for various things – of course he deals with a lot of farmers and other folks who aren’t exactly made of money. I have used children’s Benadryl for Simba in the past (easier to dose but yikes does she hate the taste) when she’s had the sniffles during really nasty allergy seasons. She can’t STAND the cherry flavor, so as soon as you give her the stuff she will tear off running , trail of foam and slime running from her mouth all over the place as she tries to spit it out. Makes a royal mess.

    …… she has a hairball right as I’m typing this. At least she’s polite and leaves the couch to go hurl someplace less inconvenient to clean up.

    • Hi Janna,
      Urinary tract infections aren’t really a “first aid” kind of situation. There are a LOT of reasons cats miss the litter box, and a diagnosis is needed for treatment–the wrong treatment actually could cause some problems. In fact, even when a UTI is diagnosed most times no infection is involved–it’s more of an irritation than an infection, although sometimes antibiotics or anti-inflammatory meds (or even stress reducing drugs) can help. If it’s due to urinary crystals, the TYPE of crystal must be diagnosed because struvite respond to foods that help acidify the urine…but calcium oxylate crystals get WORSE in acidic urine. *sigh* Very complicated. That said, once the vet diagnoses the problem, some kitties may be helped with cranberry supplements (if you can pill the cat!).

  3. Well, when my dog had serious problems with digestion, our doctor recommended us to use Cimetidine. This was the only meds we used and it really helped!

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