Do you have a pet 1st aid medicine chest for your dogs and cats? The audiobook version of my first aid book for pets includes some DIY home remedies for old pets. While your veterinarian diagnoses and prescribes for your pet’s health issues, pet first aid and minor problems may benefit from human medicines. Perhaps you need to know how much benadryl to give a cat for an allergic reaction, or how to treat a dog’s dry nose.
Home remedies for pets save $$ and pet lives because Fido and Sheba rarely tears a claw or eats something iffy during regular clinic hours. 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.
Pet First Aid Medicine Chest
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 because of the smaller size of the pet.
When you face an emergency, time matters. It’s best to put together your own pet first aid medicine chest with the medicine and care products you’ll need. Fortunately, many of these items can be found in your own medicine chest. Your vet can tell you the exact dose needed for your specific pet but here are some common human medicines that benefit pets. You can find these, and more, in my book THE FIRST-AID COMPANION FOR DOGS AND CATS.
- 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 (great for hot spots!)
- 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
- Ginger Snaps cookies for car sickness
- 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 (helpful for tail injuries)
- 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
Pet Home Remedies & First Aid Help
In the best of all possible worlds, emergencies never happen or if they do, pet owners have a professional medical kit handy. Stock your kit 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 crisis it may surprise you 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 .
23 Helpful Household Items
- 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 & cooling heatstroke Refer to this post on first aid for smoke inhalation and fire dangers.
- 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
- Tea bags, 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
More Pet First Aid Help
First aid saves pets, yet DIY vet care is something to avoid. Y’all know that I’m a huge advocate for partnering with your veterinarian for the best possible pet care. But when your cat or dog has a veterinary emergency, sometimes there’s just not enough time to get your fur-kid into the car and across town. When minutes matter, first aid can prevent further injury or even save your cat or dog’s life.
I’ve blogged about first aid before, including everyday items in your current pantry or medicine chest that work great in an emergency. It’s always best to prepare ahead of time. Please invest in a first aid kit, take a pet first aid course from an expert like my friend Arden Moore, and keep a pet first aid book on hand for those just-in-case moments. Even though April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month, be ready every day of the year to keep your cats and dogs safe.
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!