First Aid Kit

Preparedness

Injured wildlife can be encountered at any time, almost anywhere. If you have a first aid kit available this could greatly increase the animal’s chance of surviving.

To be capable of helping a distressed wild animal during an emergencies, keep several well stocked first aid kits in strategic locations in your home and car. If you frequent seasonal living areas (such as campers, cottages, etc.), a kit should be stored in each one of these places too. If you go on hikes, bring a smaller kit with you.

In this article you will find a list of items to be kept in your first aid kits. You will notice that this list does not include perishable items. This is because items that have an expiry date are often forgotten and expire without anyone noticing. It is not easy for one to remember to check these items on a regular basis. However if you really would like to store items that can expire in the first aid kit it would help to schedule a check of these items’ expiry dates when you do another scheduled task. For example, you could check expiry dates at the same time as the yearly replacement of carbon monoxide and smoke alarm batteries.

Unfortunately, when you store a first aid kit in your car it presents an additional challenge to perishable items.  Due to the extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) the interior of a car experiences, perishable items will become ineffective long before their expiry dates. One way to avoid this problem and to still have such items with you in your car in an emergency is to carry them in your purse or duffel bag. This way they will always be available but not stored in your car.

First Aid Kit Contents

You can store the following in a strong plastic storage box with a lid. 

  • Sterile saline wash to clean off debris from minor wounds or smoke in the animals eyes. Apply liberally until all debris is removed.
  • Water can be used to flush out wounds. You can also use it to wash up after handling animal.  Please note:  do not give an injured animal any water or food until you have sought medical treatment for it.
  • Web naps.
  • Scissors for cutting tape, gauze, bandages or fur.
  • Rubber/latex gloves can be worn to help reduce any further contamination of the injury.  Discard them after use.
  • Antiseptic that is safe for animals. For example, Betadine antiseptic rapidly kills bacteria, fungi and viruses commonly responsible for wound and skin infections. It can be used to clean minor cuts, abrasions, minor burns as well as in the treatment of minor skin infections. Note:  please do not use hydrogen peroxide as an antiseptic because it spreads bacteria into healthy tissue.
  • A diaper or sanitary napkin can be used to control bleeding by covering the wound and applying pressure. Then a bandage, gauze, rag or even a sock can be used to tie this covering to the wound.
  • Bandage tape or even duct tape can also be used for holding temporary bandages in place.
  • Cotton.
  • Alum is absolutely wonderful stuff that can instantly dry up oozing puss.
  • Plastic bags can be used to cover paw injuries and help keep them clean. Fasten with tape.
  • Slings.
  • Tweezers.
  • Splints of various sizes.
  • Phone numbers of local wildlife caregiver or humane society and their address.

Mini Kit Contents

A ‘mini’ first aid kit is one that you would take with you on a hike.  Its contents would be useful if you encounter injured wildlife, or if you are injured. Suggested items that can be put in this mini first aid kit are:

  • cell phone
  • water
  • flashlight
  • gauze bandages
  • adhesive tape roll
  • plastic strips
  • gauze pads
  • scissors
  • antiseptic towelettes
  • wet naps
  • cotton balls
  • betadine antiseptic

More Suggestions

In addition to the first aid kits listed above, there are several items you should store in your car that you will find very useful in an injured wildlife emergency situation. 

To further prepare for a wildlife emergency, you can take a first aid course. A course geared toward animals would be best, but you will find a first aid course for humans very useful too if one for animals is not available in your area.  

Finally, if you do find yourself in a medical emergency without a first aid kit, just use whatever is available to help the animal. Even something like an oily rag can be used to effectively cover and put pressure on a spurting wound if it is the only thing on hand.