dog emergency kit essentials

Now more than ever, it’s necessary to be prepared and equipped for emergencies. Especially for us dog parents, since our dogs totally rely on us for their care and safety.

Because as we know, emergencies and accidents are naturally, unplanned events. Therefore the best way to prepare for these unforeseeable circumstances is to have a plan in place.  This way, you can be well prepared and even treat a minor cut, or stabilize a major injury until you can get your dog to your vet. 

Also, what if you’re a single dog parent and something were to happen to you? You’ll need to prepare someone else with adequate instructions and supplies until you’re fully recovered and able to resume caring for your dog.

Therefore, in this post, we’ll cover the essential components of a dog emergency kit. We’ll also offer guidance on how to put an emergency plan in place for your dog and where you can go to learn basic pet first aid. Ultimately, positioning yourself to provide your dog with the best care possible.

Planning for Emergencies: 

Before preparing your dog emergency kit, it’s best to have an action plan in place for emergencies in general. Because, as previously mentioned, if something were to happen to you, you’ll need to have a back-up plan in place for your dog. And this can be accomplished with a few easy steps.

Get Emergency Decals: 

Decals are optional, but if you want to go the extra mile, you can get decal stickers for your home’s front door or front windows. In an emergency, it will alert a Fireman, for example, that you have pets inside. 

Therefore this is perfect for emergencies that occur when you’re not at home.  You can find these stickers online at stores like

Also, various types are available, including customized stickers that will print the number of pets you have along with their names onto the labels. has some pretty fun ones on their site.

Create a Buddy System:

A buddy system is basically finding someone/s who will be able to help you out by taking care of your dog in the event of an emergency. A buddy can be anyone from a:

  • Neighbor
  • Friend
  • Relative
  • Pet Care Professional

In an ideal situation, it’s great to have at least two buddies. It will offer you extra back-up assistance if one buddy is not available. 

It’s also great if that buddy can be your neighbor. Because going back to our previous example, if a Fireman needed to rescue your dog, they won’t have time to find leashes and carriers. They’d need to pass your dog off to someone else. If you’ve assigned your neighbor as a buddy, they can quickly step and safely secure your dog. 

Otherwise, it can be whoever will agree to help, of course, but if they live nearby all the better.

Define Buddy Expectations:

Once you find your buddies, it’s a good idea to meet with them to discuss your needs and expectations. Doing so will help you all to be on the same page. You mainly want to define what consists of an emergency.  

Because an emergency should not occur frequently, and if you consider getting home late from work three days per week, every week, an emergency, you want to confirm if your assigned buddy agrees with you. 

You’ll want to be respectful of people’s generosity and time. Therefore, in this example, it may be best to hire a Pet Care Professional to walk your dog a few days a week. You could then reserve your “Buddies” for actual emergencies. This way, you don’t wear out your welcome, and they’ll be more than happy to help when you need them. 

Prepare Your Buddies for Success:

Additionally, during your buddy meetings, it’s great to show them where you keep your dog’s food and supplies. You’ll also want to give them a spare key to your home and provide them with your dog’s vital information, which leads me to my next point.

Dog Emergency Kit Essentials:


Information is an essential component of a dog emergency kit. Because if someone has to rescue or help your dog while you’re not around, a dog emergency kit that contains detailed information can answer a lot of questions. 

If you have to hire a dog sitter or doggy daycare, you’ll need to provide them with your dog’s essential details. This way, they will know exactly what to do and be well prepared in an emergency. 

The following information should be typed, printed, and stored inside of your dog emergency kit for easy access. 

An additional copy should also be given directly to your Buddies or Pet Care Professionals.

  • Name and contact information of the primary dog owners
  • Emergency contacts: your assigned buddies, or other household members, etc. (full name, phone number, and address)
  • Local veterinarian information (doctor, hospital name, phone number, and address)
  • The nearest emergency veterinary facility information (this may be different from above if it not an emergency veterinary hospital)
  • Animal Poison Control Hotline 1-888-426-4435
  • List of any ongoing medical illnesses or behavioral issues. If your dog has seizures or any behavioral problems, you’ll want to disclose this information so that no one is caught off guard. Providing additional guidance on how to handle these situations is advisable as well. 
  • Any medications your dog is receiving (include drug name, dosage [amount, route, and frequency]

Transporting Supplies:

  • Muzzle: appropriate type and size for when your dog needs to be restrained to provide care or transport. And scared dogs, or dogs in pain will sometimes bite so a muzzle is a safety precaution.
  • Towels and a blanket: for keeping your dog warm and for the transport of smaller pets or as a sling for large dogs. Base the number of towels for the sling on the size of your dog. 


Gauze Wrap & Gloves:

  • Gauze squares for applying pressure to bleeding wounds and creating a bandage
  • Roll gauze for securing bandages in place. It can also be used to make a makeshift muzzle if one is unavailable or the wrong size
  • Roll of elastic cohesive wrap (bandaging tape) for securing bandages and splints
  • Adhesive tape for securing bandages
  • Disposable gloves, latex-free preferred if someone is allergic.

Scissors and Clippers:

  • Bandage scissors for cutting bandage material or removing bandages
  • Grooming clippers for removing fur to evaluate and clean wounds
  •  Nail clippers to clip nails


  • Antimicrobial ointment for applying to/protecting wounds
  • Rubbing (isopropyl) for cleaning the skin around a wound
  • Hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting and to also help clean small wounds. Always contact your veterinarian or Animal Poison Control for guidance and before induction of vomiting because it’s n​ot recommended for a number of toxins or situations
  • Sterile saline eyewash to flush the eye
  • Styptic powder to stop bleeding from nails that are broken or were clipped too short

Vet Recommendations:

  • Any other items recommended by your veterinarian.

Utility Bag:

  • Finally, this is the bag where you will store all of the components of your dog emergency kit. has an assortment of “empty” utility bags for you to store your first-aid supplies.  This is perfect because depending on your dog’s size, you may need different sized bags especially for the towels that can take up space.

Where to Learn Pet First Aid:

Once you have your plan, buddies, and supplies packed in your first aid bag, you’re all set to go! However, I always encourage my dog parents to take the extra step and learn pet first aid. 

In my previous role as a Pet Care Specialist, I required that my team and I get Pet First Aid Certifications. The course that we took was through a company that I highly recommend called Pro Pet Hero

It’s an online first aid training course for “people who believe pets are family.” So what’s great about this course is that it’s not specifically tailored for Pet Professionals. It’s perfect for professionals and pet parents alike. It’s also first aid for both cats and dogs. 

And while the course is extensive, the information is highly valuable and easy to digest. It will elevate your dog parenting skills tremendously. You will find that you’re better at detecting early signs of illnesses. You’ll also know how to properly treat and wrap minor injuries. 

Because while you won’t remember every detail, the primary goals of learning Pet First Aid are to better understand when your dog is communicating that something is wrong.  The second goal is to learn how to apply basic first aid to stabilize your dog until you can get them to your vet. 


In closing, I hope that this post serves as a framework for knowing how to plan and prepare for emergencies that involve providing care for your dog. While the above are the essentials, you can always supplement your kit as you deem fit. Also, one last point to consider if you haven’t already is to look into getting pet insurance.

Trupanion is a quality company that we use for our dog Mina. There are many to choose from, but they will help to reduce the costs of those unforeseen injuries and emergencies, considerably. Otherwise, stay safe and stay well! 

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