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No Pet First Aid Kit? No Problem!

Render aid to injured pets using Mutt-gyver tips and tricks.

By Arden Moore
Pet Health and Safety Coach

What do you do if your dog gets injured and you don’t have a pet first aid kit handy, and the nearest veterinary clinic is far away? Unfortunately, pets do not live in protective bubbles – accidents and injuries do occur.
That’s why I created the “Mutt-gyver” program. As a master certified pet first aid/CPR instructor and founder of Pet First Aid 4U, I travel the country with my dog-cat teaching team of Kona and Casey to teach hands-on, veterinarian-approved pet first aid to pet professionals and pet parents. My mission is to help you know what to do and use in a pet emergency when minutes count.

Just like the hero in the 1980s original MacGyver television show (and the new one now airing on CBS), the goal of being a Mutt-gyver for pets centers on using everyday items in creative but effective ways as pet first aid tools. Here is a rundown of some items you can use when a pet first aid kit is not handy:

Muttgyver Spare Poop Bag With Kona

Kona with Mutt-gyver Spare Poop Bag as a Water Bowl

Unused doggie plastic poop bags. You can roll a bag lengthwise and use it as a temporary muzzle on an injured small dog. You can shape it into a bowl and use it as a makeshift water bowl or paw dipper to cool down a hot dog on a long walk on hot days. If you are wearing a baseball cap, consider using it as a water bowl.
Shoelaces, socks and hair ties. Shoelaces can double as temporary restraint muzzles on small dogs, to hold a splint or wound wrap on a paw in place. Your sock can serve as a makeshift wound wrap for a bloody or cut paw held in place – you guessed it – with a shoelace or a hair tie.
Paint sticks, bubble wrap and rolled-up magazines. To aid a dog with an injured limp, you can make a makeshift splint. First, place something cushiony on the limb, such as bubble wrap or a rolled-up magazine. Then stabilize the limb using a pair of emery boards or paint sticks. Keep this in place by using a pair of shoelaces or a bandana.
Credit care or driver’s license. Don’t use tweezers or your fingernails to remove a bee stinger on your dog as you risk rupturing the venom sac and spreading the toxins in the pet’s body. Instead, take the edge of a credit card or driver’s license and scrape it like a spatula to lift out the stinger. A dab of moistened baking soda on a minor sting can take out the ouchy.
Aloe plant. Aloe vera can be your pet first aid “pal-o” on hikes or in the house if you have this plant. The gel from the leaves can be applied to ease minor burns and insect stings.

Muttgyver Sock Paw

Use a Sock and Shoelace as a Bandage

Ikea blue shopping bags. These large, plastic Ikea bags cost less than $2 and fold up easily. They make terrific makeshift gurneys to transport a large, injured dog. Simply cut off the two long sides of the bag and use the handles to help lift a large, injured dog. The plastic lining does not rip and easily glides on all surfaces, including carpet and rugs.
Bath towels and laundry baskets. For injured cats or small dogs, you can wrap them in a thick bath towel and lower them into the top side of a pet carrier. If you don’t have a pet carrier handy, pop an empty laundry basket over the pet. Slide a thin board or thick cardboard underneath, gently turn over the laundry basket and you have created a Mutt-
gyver cat carrier.

My main tip: Remain calm during a pet emergency. Focus on the present moment and pay attention to your surroundings as you are the most important being to keep safe. Enroll in a pet first aid/CPR class to be your pet’s best health ally. Check out our class offerings at

Arden Moore is the Pet Health and Safety Coach. She is the founder of Pet First Aid 4U, the creator of the instructors’ program for Pro Pet Hero, the host of the award-winning Oh Behave Show on Pet Life Radio and The Four Legged Life show. Learn more at

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