Now is the time to prepare for the unexpected with your dog. Take notes from our informative list of pet first aid resources.

Fingers crossed you’ll never need to use them, but Pet First Aid skills are a pet parenting essential. With the month of April designated as National Pet First Aid Awareness Month, pet people are urged to prepare and prevent pet injuries all year long. To make sure you’re ready for anything from pet trauma to mouth-to-muzzle CPR, we’ve compiled these top resources.

Keep a Dog First Aid Book on Hand

The Red Cross has you covered in a pet emergency. Just flip through Be Red Cross Ready Safety Series Vol. 2: Dog First Aid for the basics on responding to common dog emergencies effectively. It even features a DVD with easy-to-follow demonstrations. A must-have for pet people, this reliable resource offers references guides with quick answers for over 70 canine health conditions. The recently released Pet Emergency Pocket Guide is another top pick with its info-packed handy size that’s also available for download. Keep a copy of either in your home and car so you always have the know-how you need.

Take a Dog First Aid Class

Check with your local Red Cross chapter or search the American Red Cross site for classes on Pet First Aid to learn how to treat common pet injuries, build a first aid kit, CPR, and everything you need to know to help save your pet’s life in an emergency.

Eliminate Household Poisons

Rodent poison and insecticides can be dangerous to pets. Take the time to clear your home of potentially toxic agents. The Humane Society of the United States offers a list of toxins to help you avoid accidents.

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is also available to take your call 24/7 if you suspect your pet has ingested a poisonous substance. Their website also offers information about poisonous foods, plants and more to keep away from your dog.

Keep Contact Numbers with You

On your fridge, in your wallet, in your cell phone – have all your animal emergency numbers everywhere your doggie goes. This includes phone numbers for your vet, the nearest 24-hour vet, and the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at 1-888-426-4435. Take a minute right now and ensure you have these important numbers in all places.

Make a First Aid Kit

The ASPCA offers all the details for creating your own doggie first aid kit. Take a look and get to work on creating a kit for both your home and car.

Have a Plan

Emergencies and disasters strike without notice. So it’s important to be ready. For details on creating your own disaster preparedness plan and kit, check out our past Woof Report tip.


The Scoop:

Pet Emergency Pocket Guide

Common household dangers to keep away from pets from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

24/7 ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center: 1-888-426-4435, $60 fee may apply.

24/7 Animal Poison Hotline, a joint service provided by North Shore Animal League America (NSAL) and PROSAR International Animal Poison Center (IAPC): 1-888-232-8870, $35 fee may apply.

Create your own pet first aid kit. View or download a list of recommended contents from

Thank you to Johann the Dog blog for the tip.

Thank you to Mitch and Woof Report Friend Yeager for the photo (Sweet Yeager had a scuffle with a raccoon and is doing fine now!).

Originally published January 2009; reviewed and updated April 2016.