DIY First Aid and Emergency Kit for Adventuring With Your Dog


As the days get warmer and more opportunities arise for us to take Patronus on new and more exciting adventures, we wanted to make sure that we had a first aid kit that was relatively lightweight, easy to pack, and would accommodate all three of us ready to go. 

Sure, they make pre-assembled first aid kits for people and for dogs, but are they worth the price?  How many of the items inside are incredibly useful, and how many would end up just serving as extra weight to carry?

In addition to doing some online research, I asked the people in an online community called Ladies Get Outside which items they found most helpful to include in their own kits.  (If you haven’t heard of this group before and you’re a lady who likes to get outside, or are interested in becoming more outdoorsy, I would highly recommend checking them out!)  Many of the women in this group like to hike, backpack, camp, and travel with their dogs on a regular basis, and were able to offer me all kinds of suggestions for our first aid kit based on their own personal experiences

This isn’t intended to be a complete gear list (obviously, since that kind of depends on where you’re going and what types of situations you’re likely to encounter), just a basic kit that can be thrown into any backpack or handbag and ready to go for adventures big or small.

All of the items on the first three lists fit easily into a quart size zip top bag and weigh roughly 12 ounces total.

First Aid Kit

  • Bandages:  An assortment of different shapes and sizes.
  • Gauze Pads:  Use for dressing wounds.
  • Blister Treatment:  Moleskin, 2nd Skin, or Duct Tape.
  • Neosporin Packets:  To disinfect a wound.
  • Alcohol Wipes:  Disinfectant.
  • Fine Point Tweezers:  To remove splinters, ticks, etc.
  • Medical Tape:  Remove a long strip from the roll and then roll it back up on itself.
  • Kwik Stop*Helps to stop bleeding for your dog.
  • Musher’s Secret*A balm to help protect your dog’s paws from hot surfaces, cold and snow, etc.

* I stored a small amount of these items in an old contact lens case, making it easily accessible, light to carry, and sealed tightly.

Medical Kit

  • Diphenhydramine:  In case of an allergic reaction.
  • Ibuprofen:  For pain or swelling.
  • Loperamide:  In case you run into a situation where you might crap your pants.
  • Antacid:  This one isn’t a necessity, but it’s super annoying when you do have heartburn and don’t have anything for it.
  • Perscription Meds:  Don’t forget any perscription or OTC meds you or your dog might be taking on a regular or semi-regular basis!

Medical Kit Note:  Most of the items on this list are intended for human use.  I have read that diphenhydramine can be given to dogs in case of an allergic reaction and that hydrogen peroxide can be used to induce vomiting in dogs for poison control purposes [source], but definitely contact your veterinarian first to find out the correct dosage for your dog’s size and breed.

Emergency/Repair Kit

  • Needle:  This can be used to repair torn gear and clothing or to pop a blister (just make sure to sterilize it first!)
  • Duct Tape:  This can be used to repair torn gear and as blister protection.  Pull some off the roll and roll it back up on itself instead of packing a giant heavy roll of this with you.
  • Dental Floss:  Aside from it’s intended purpose, this can also be used as thread in a pinch.  For camping, I like to keep it in a ziploc with my other scented items so it can be easily put away at night.
  • Emergency Blanket(s):  You can use this as a blanket to help hold in body heat to avoid hypothermia, to help insulate your tent, as a makeshift ground sheet, or even as a rain poncho.  Since they are reflective, you may also be able to use one for signaling.  The space blankets like you would get after a marathon pack up fairly small and are relatively lightweight.
  • Pads and Tampons**:  Luke and I decided to include these in our kit because they can be useful for more than just their intended use.  In a pinch, a pad could totally be used for a bleeding wound (I mean, they’re made for soaking up blood, right?) or as a makeshift dog bootie.  Tampons are flammable and can also be used to start a fire.
  • Lighter:  Including a lighter, some waterproof matches, or another type of fire starter is also a good idea.  If we’re camping, I store a lighter inside my cook pot so I don’t have to go digging for it.
  • Q-Tips:  I forgot to include these in the picture, but these can be helpful to keep in your first aid kit for applying Kwik Stop on your dog (or for anything else you would typically use a q-tip for).

** You can obviously omit these if you’re a dude or otherwise don’t want to be carrying extra stuff, however Luke and I thought they would be a good option to keep in our kit due to their multipurpose abilities.

Store items in a waterproof container or a Ziploc bag to prevent water damage.  I made this pretty label for ours.

Other Helpful Items to Include in Your Pack

  • Bandanas:  They’re cheap, reusable, and have a variety of uses.  You can use one for first aid, as a head covering, to wash and dry your cook pot, as kleenex or toilet paper, or to wipe off your dog’s muddy paws.
  • Multi Tool:  A multi tool with pliers can be used to remove quills if your dog decides to investigate a strange porcupine.  Many multi tools also contain scissors and tweezers can also be helpful for first aid purposes, and tools that can be used to scrape away insect stingers.  (You can also use a credit card to remove stingers…you don’t want to squeeze them since they’re full of venom.)
  • Water Purification / Extra Water:  You don’t want bubbly guts and neither does your dog.  If you’re headed out somewhere that doesn’t have easy access to safe drinking water, definitely bring some type of water treatment system along, or just carry some extra water.
  • Chapstick:  This one doesn’t warrant an explanation. 
  • Sunblock:  Neither does this.
  • Bug Spray / Bug NetOr this.  (For Patronus, we asked our vet for safe preventative flea and tick options.  Obviously you don’t put random bug sprays on a dog.

If you’re interested in seeing the gear Patronus uses when we hike together beyond a simple first aid kit, you can see his complete gear list here.

Is there anything else you like to include in your own kit?  Let me know in the comments below!

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