By Tom Keer

Watching a well-trained gun dog retrieve downed birds is a high point for many hunters. Watching that same gun dog get injured in the field is not. Accidents happen, and hard-charging retrievers find unique ways to get injured. Are you prepared? A canine first aid kit will help you patch up your pal until you can deliver him to the capable hands of a veterinarian.

There are a number of ailments you can handle in the field. You can treat a dog for dehydration, porcupine quills, barbed wire cuts, and scrapes from thorns or briars. In the case of more serious injuries, including muscle tears, broken bones, or hemorrhaging, stabilize your dog until professional help can take over.

For immediate first aid in the field, it's a good idea to have a kit prepared. The equipment in this kit can vary, but these items will allow you to address several possible injuries:



Gauze Pads (3"X3")

Stop bleeding.

Gauze Bandage (2"x5 yds)

Wrapping gauze pads.

Cotton Balls

Swabbing cuts, punctures.

Cotton Swabs

Cleaning deep, mouth or ear wounds.

Hockey/Athletic Tape

Taping bandages and pads.

Self-Adhering Bandage (2"x5 yds)

Keeps hands free before taping.

Styptic Pencil

Stops small bleeding.

Antibiotic Ointment

Prevents infection.

Hydrocortisone Cream

Promotes healing.

Saline solution/eye wash

Washes debris from eyes.


Removes briars/tines, cuts bandages.

Alcohol pads

Quick cleaning.

Hydrogen peroxide

Kills bacteria.

Rubber tourniquet

Stops massive bleeding.


Disinfectant; cleans wounds.

Skunk smell remover*

For a sweet smelling dog.


Rehydration, spray water in mouth.

*Mix equal parts of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap. Whip up as needed, rinse dog with fresh water.