Making a DIY Guinea pig first aid kit or emergency kit doesn’t need to cost bundles. Here’s how to make a first aid kit for guinea pigs on a budget and what to put in a guinea pig emergency kit.
What is a guinea pig first aid kit?
A guinea pig first aid kit is a container full of health and emergency care tools that are specifically designed for guinea pigs.
When accidents or unforeseen circumstances arise, such as heat strokes, having a well-stocked first aid bag will help you care for your guinea pig right away until you can get professional veterinarian attention.
Why do I need a Guinea Pig First Aid Kit?
Having a guinea pig first aid kit in your home can keep you organized and prepared in emergencies. That way if and when your guinea pig is sick, injured, or just needs extra care in general, you’ll have everything in one place. Therefore, able to treat your guinea pig as soon as possible
Having a first aid kit for guinea pigs sometimes can also save you a trip to the vet’s if the injury is very minor. In cases of injuries, it can slow down their bleeding or injury process, buying you more time to get your piggy to the animal hospital.
Guinea pigs who have to take supplements and/or medication can benefit from a first aid kit for small mammals, since you, the owner, will have better and more organized access to their medication. As a mom of 3 piggies that had to take 5 different types of medication combined at one point, guinea pig care kits helped me a lot.
Another reason why guinea pig emergency kits are useful is that they are compact and easy to take with you if you are travelling with your guinea pig, just in case.
Guinea pig first aid kits are meant to can help you provide initial care until you can take your guinea pig to a veterinarian. It’s not a substitute for professional veterinary care. If your guinea pig experiences a serious injury or health issue, it’s important to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Summary – Why do I need a first aid kit for guinea pigs?
1. Keeping organized and having everything in one place
2. Treat very minor injuries
3. A compact essential when taking your guinea pig to travel
4. Provide temporary care before taking it to the vet in emergencies
Note: First aid kits are NOT meant to substitute professional veterinary care
How to make a first aid kit for guinea pigs?
Making a DIY first aid kit for guinea pigs is easier than you think. Here is a quick summary of steps on how to do so:
- Choose a safe box or container that will fit all the supplies
- Gather all the items and supplies for the guinea pig first aid kit
- Arrange the items carefully in a neat but easy-to-grab manner
- Label everything, including the box
What should I put in my Guinea Pig First Aid Kit List?
These are all the items I would put in my guinea pig first aid kit. Of course, some people will have slightly different preferences in brands and the importance of an item, but here’s the list of things to put in a first aid kit for guinea pigs.
Don’t worry, this might seem like a long list, but I will break it down one by one for you, including budget-friendly substitutes that you can easily find at home.
So let’s start from the top of the list, shall we?
Guinea Pig First Aid Kit item #1 – Container
A good storage container is like the house of the emergency kit. It’s important for several reasons.
- Organization: A proper container helps you keep all the first aid supplies in one place, making it easy to locate and access them quickly during an emergency. This can save valuable time when you need to provide immediate care to your piggy.
- Protection: A sturdy and well-sealed container helps protect the contents of the first aid kit from damage, moisture, and contamination. This ensures that the items remain effective and safe for use when needed. Having a secure way to open and close it can prevent accidental openings as well.
- Portability: If you’re going to take your guinea pig to travel with you, portability is a thinking factor. It lets you carry the kit with you when travelling with your guinea pig (not that it’s recommended, but it happens). This ensures that you’re prepared to address any emergencies that may happen while away from home.
- Accessibility: The container should have a few compartments or sections that make it easy to organize and access different types of items. The last thing you want is to be rummaging through a cluttered collection of things in an emergency.
- Ease of Maintenance: A container that is easy to clean and sanitize make sure that the first aid kit is always hygienic and safe for use, especially for items that might come into contact with bodily fluids.
Guinea Pig Emergency Kit item #2 – Critical Care
Critical care is a, well, critical item to put in your first aid kit for guinea pigs.
“Critical Care is the industry standard in recovery nutrition for herbivores with poor nutritional status resulting from illness or surgery. Critical Care contains all the essential nutrients of a complete diet, as well as high-fibre timothy hay to support proper gut physiology and digestion.”Oxbow Critical Care
Almost all guinea pig owners have either bought or been prescribed this by a vet at some point in their guinea pig-anthood.
You scoop a certain amount of the powder out, mix it with water, and feed it to your guinea pigs when they are not eating and sick, (fun fact: guinea pigs can only survive 8 hours without food) to keep your guinea pig alive before you can take it to the vet.
Don’t worry, it is completely safe, and I’ll be writing a deep-dive article on critical care very soon, so make sure to subscribe to the mailing list!
First Aid Kit Item #3 – Guinea Pig Care Package Sheets
The ultimate guinea pig care planner includes everything you need to care for your piggy:
- weekly care checklist
- meal planner
- health and weight tracker – a great tool to keep track of their health
- vet notes – which makes going to the vet SO much easier for you
- notes page – for anything you want
- pet sitting info sheet – write your vet’s contact information for the kit too!
- QR code to special healthy recipes for guinea pigs
- and so much more!
This care package is digital, instant download, and printable. You can get unlimited copies with just one download
And surprise surprise, I made this care package!
But seriously, the care package has helped not just me, but many others get organized and prepared. That way when you go to the vet, you already have all their health information laid out.
Guinea Pig First Aid Kit Item #4 – Cotton Balls & Cotton Buds
Cotton wool balls are very helpful and can be used in a variety of ways to maintain and protect your guinea pigs’ health. Cotton wool pads are an absolute must-have in any emergency pack.
Guinea pig owners primarily use cotton wool buds to clean hard-to-reach and delicate spots on their guinea pigs, like for gently relaxing dry skin on my guinea pigs’ ears. 100% Cotton pads or cotton balls are also useful for soaking in solution and cleaning guinea pig wounds or applying therapy.
Warning: When using cotton pads, make sure your guinea pig doesn’t consume the cotton wool.
Guinea Pig Emergency Kit item list #5 – Tweezers
Tweezers for guinea pigs can remove foreign objects from a guinea pig’s eyes, nose, or paws. Some examples are picking out splinters, such as hay bits stuck around a piggy’s eyes or paws.
Using fine-point tweezers is the safest and best for your guinea pig. Tweezers with a non-slip grip or coating will help you maintain control and precision while handling your guinea pig. This is especially important when you’re dealing with small, sensitive areas.
Guinea Pig First Aid Kit item #6 – Towel or blanket
A towel is incredibly useful for a guinea pig first aid kit because you can use it to wrap around your potato when it is too cold, or sick, to force feed your piggy at crucial times, clipping nails, or just for comfort in general.
Use a soft, warm and small fleece blanket for your guinea pigs that are washable. I use these and all my guinea pigs love it.
Having a familiar blanket nearby can help your guinea pig feel secure and less stressed in a foreign or stressful setting. They may burrow themselves into something cozy and comfortable, which might make them feel safer during an unstable time.
Guinea Pig Emergency Kit item #7 – a small flashlight
A small flashlight for guinea pigs is used to look for your guinea pig’s injuries and health checks in general. Sometimes shining a flashlight over a possible injury, affected area, or a spot that is healing can make you see it more clearly.
Consider a small, lightweight, and easily manageable flashlight when selecting. A flashlight with changeable brightness settings is also beneficial in a variety of circumstances. To avoid startling or stressing your guinea pigs, use the flashlight carefully and avoid shining it into their eyes.
Alternatively, you can also use the flashlight function in your phone to save money.
Guinea Pig First Aid Kit item #8 – Syringes
Syringes are very useful when you are giving liquids to your guinea pigs. Here is when should you use a syringe for your guinea pigs.
- Feeding medicine – many medicines administered by vets are liquids that need to be hand-fed
- Supplements – same with medicine, some guinea pigs have to be fed supplements daily after post-surgery care or to prevent illnesses from coming back, such as bladder stones.
- Critical care – as shown above, critical care is often hand-fed to guinea pigs
- Water – at urgent times when your guinea pig doesn’t drink water, this is a last-resort option to force-feed your guinea pigs water before seeking veterinary help.
If you are given supplements or medicine by your vet, those are perfect to put in your first aid kit for guinea pigs if you have an extra.
Choosing the best syringe for your guinea pig
When choosing the right syringe for your guinea pig, select small medical-grade syringes (1-3ml) that have clear markings to help you measure the amounts accurately.
As for choosing between reusable or disposable syringes for your guinea pig, it is up to you and your needs.
Guinea Pig Emergency Kit item #9 – Bottle of Saline Solution
A saline solution can be used for a wide range of purposes on guinea pigs. Some common uses of guinea pigs are for eye and nose irritation, treating minor wounds, electrolyte imbalances, and ear cleaning. Keep in mind that you should always consult a veterinarian before using a saline solution on your guinea pig.
A sterile saline solution is a mixture of water and sodium. Sterile saline solutions can generally be found in pharmacies, in the name of sodium chloride or just saline solution. Make sure to choose ones say 0.9% – 100ml, which is the ratio of water and sodium.
However, you can also make these at home as well of it is not available.
How to make a saline solution for guinea pigs
- Add 1 teaspoon of common salt into 1 pint (568ml) of boiled or warm water and dissolve it completely.
- Let the saline solution cool down completely
- To use it on minor wounds, soak a clean cotton pad in saline solution and gently wipe it over the wound, avoiding any pressure. This will cleanse the wound.
Remember to take your guinea pig to the vet for injuries or wounds that are not very minor.
Guinea Pig First Aid Kit item #10 – styptic powder
For all the people who are scared to death of clipping your guinea pig’s nails (me included), this is a must for you. Clipping nails is much easier if it is a two-people job, but can still be stressful for you and your guinea pig.
Styptic powder is used commonly on pets to stop bleeding efficiently. It is a very handy tool when it comes to trimming a guinea pig’s nails.
Most styptic powders for pets are made from bentonite, diatomaceous earth, and ammonium chloride. Therefore styptic powders are completely safe for guinea pigs and have no side effects if applied correctly.
Homemade Styptic Powder Substitute
If styptic powder is not available, cornstarch is a great styptic powder substitute for your pet. If you don’t have access to cornstarch or styptic powder, flour is also an option.
Keep in mind that no home remedy will work as instantly effective as a styptic powder.
Guinea Pig First Aid Kit item #11 – Disposable Gloves
Having gloves to protect your skin from bacteria, chemicals or other potentially harmful things is great for your emergency kit for guinea pigs. It can also keep the area clean and prevent the spreading of germs.
Another reason why you should keep disposable gloves in your guinea pig first aid kit is that at times when if a guinea pig contracted an infection or disease that can be transmitted to humans, such as ringworm, you can protect yourself by lowering the chances of getting infected.
I suggest choosing powder-free single-use latex-free gloves for your guinea pigs. My recommendation is Lanon white Nitrile gloves because they are affordable and fit all the criteria. (NOT SPONSORED)
Guinea Pig Emergency Kit items #12 – Soft gauze and Vet wrap
What is soft sterile gauze for guinea pigs?
Soft sterile gaze is a medical material made of clean, soft woven fabric that is free from contaminants. It provides a clean and protective layer to cover minor wounds, cuts, or abrasions on your guinea pig’s skin.
Gauze can also be used to gently absorb any excess fluids or discharge from wounds or injuries before rushing your piggy to the vet.
What is vet wrap used for guinea pigs?
Vet wrap, also known as self-adhesive bandages or cohesive bandages, is a stretchy and flexible material that can stick to itself but not to fur or skin. That makes it great for wrapping and securing bandages on guinea pigs.
After Popcorn, one of my guinea pig’s bladder stone surgery, the vet wrapped some vet wrap around his hand, where an IV was in place. It was used to protect the sensitive area and prevented my guinea pig from nibbling on the wound.
More things to put in a guinea pig first aid kit
So those are some of my recommendations on what to put in a guinea pig first aid kit. Here are some other things you can also add to the kit:
- Current medication or supplements that your guinea pigs are taking
- A large label or card that has all your vet and emergency contact information
- Animal wipes
- pet scale
How to make an emergency kit for guinea pigs
- Choose your container and clean it well.
- Label everything – that includes the container itself.
- Assemble and organize the items in the container, taking advantage of the compartments. Make sure all the items, especially ones that you would need frequently, are easily accessible
- Put the printed care sheets or a small card with the vet information on top of all the items. Another option is to stick it underneath the lid so you can see it when you open the kit.
- Place it in a safe place away from direct sunlight, in the same location where you can access the kit easily, where your guinea pigs live.
In this article, we covered the following things:
Making and keeping a first aid bag ensures that you are prepared to give your guinea pigs emergency care in cases of minor wounds, unanticipated health issues, or emergencies.
While a first aid kit is a useful tool, it’s also important to become educated about first aid and standard guinea pig care. Keep your cool, put your guinea pig’s safety and comfort first, and seek veterinary help whenever and as required.
By completing these actions, you’re showing your commitment to your furry friend’s well-being and giving them the greatest care, especially under difficult circumstances.