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Building a First-Aid Kit for Small or Exotic Pets

April 1, 2021

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month. If your pet is ever hurt, you should get veterinary care immediately. However, with some pets—particularly birds, reptiles, and exotics—it can be hard to find a 24/7 clinic. You may need to perform first-aid yourself. You may also need to provide care to keep your pet stable until you can get them to the clinic. In this article from Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet clinic, serving Louisville and surrounding areas, a vet discusses exotic first-aid kits.

B  asics

Many people start with a regular first-aid kit. You can then add necessary items. Some things you may want to include are syringes, triple antibiotic ointment, paper towels, sterile saline, gauze, eyewash, a magnifying glass, a pen light, an eye dropper, tweezers, disposable gloves, wire cutters, a turkey baster, toothpicks, popsicle sticks, bandages, hydrogen peroxide, silver ointment, cornstarch, and first-aid tape. Reptile owners may also want to add non-spermicidal condoms for bandaging tails.


If your pet is injured, you’ll need to keep them warm. This is especially important for reptiles! Keep a thermal blanket in the kit. You would also want to add heat packs or hot-water bottles. Wrap these in socks or towels, so they don’t burn your pet.


Dehydration is another concern you may need to address. Ask your vet for product recommendations. Pedialyte will work for many animals. You may also want to add some nutritional supplements, and some sugar packets.

Carrying Case

Keep the kit in or near your pet’s travel carrier. A hard-shell dog or cat carrier may work. You can also use a plastic storage bin with airholes added. Add some comfortable bedding, such as towels or newspaper. If you need to keep your pet warm, use the heat pack or hot water bottles. Heating equipment can move around during transport, and could hurt your pet.


You could have the best first aid-kit in the world, but if you don’t know how to use it, it isn’t going to help very much. Keep a few pet first-aid brochures in the kit. You’ll also want to keep your vet’s number, the number for the nearest emergency clinic, and the Pet Poison Helpline number, 800-213-6680. Our number is 303-442-7036.

Contact Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet clinic, serving Louisville and surrounding areas, anytime. We’re here to help!