Stocking Your Dog's First Aid Kit, Skin Stapler Optional

Earlier this season I was quail hunting one of my local public areas when I noticed two hunters in the parking area standing over a pointer (not the one in the picture, but similar) that had unwisely tried to take a bite out of a porcupine. The dog had a mouthful of quills, which wasn't surprising. What was surprising was one of them asking if I had a pair of pliers they could borrow. Seriously? You're in the middle of country in which pretty much everything you encounter stabs, stings, bites, cuts, punctures, scrapes or pokes, and you don't have even a basic first-aid kit for your dogs?

Feeling rather smug, I popped the lid on my dog box to grab the hemostats out of my first-aid kit...which I had left sitting in the garage. I learned two valuable lessons that day. One: trying to extract porcupine quills from a writhing pointer's mouth using only a pair of jumbo-sized vice-grips is as much fun as being kicked in the junk. Two: a first-aid kit is useless if you don't have it with you. Since then, making double sure I've got a first-aid kit in the truck has become a regular part of my pre-hunt routine.

My kit fairly basic for handling relatively minor injuries: hemostats, tweezers assorted bandages and wraps, a cold pack, EMT gel, antibiotic ointment and wipes, a bottle of saline solution, eyewash (plus a few more odds and ends). But I recently attended a sporting dog first-aid seminar in which the use of the skin stapler was demonstrated and I'm seriously considering adding that item to the list. Although it sounds a bit much, barbed-wire fences and dogs don't mix, and if you dog hits a fence and cuts a flap of skin, a stapler can be a lifesaver.

My kit is home-made, but there are any number of fully-stocked kits you can buy from places such as Gun Dog Supply, or you can even get by with a basic kit such as this one sold at the Pheasants Forever online store.

So what essential items are in your first-aid kit?