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How to Build a Reptile First-Aid Kit

In a perfect world, pets would always be healthy and never get hurt. But even when you’re taking every precaution, accidents happen. And when accidents happen, having a reptile first aid kit on hand goes a long way toward your peace of mind. Here’s a short list of the stuff that you’re actually going to use.

reptile first aid kit blog graphic

What’s in a reptile first aid kit?

How many of you keep Band-Aids in your bathroom? Neosporin? Cotton swabs? Congrats—you’re already on your way to having a reptile first aid kit. Anything you don’t have can easily be found at your local drug store.

  • triple antibiotic ointment — without pain reliever (ex: Neosporin, Panalog)
  • silver sulfadiazine cream
  • disinfectant (Betadine, povidone iodine, etc.)
  • chlorhexidine solution (ex: Nolvasan)
  • gauze
  • Vetrap elastic wrap for securing gauze
  • small waterproof band-aids
  • non-spermicidal condoms for bandaging snakes and lizard tails
  • cotton swabs
  • tongue depressor for looking in your reptile’s mouth
  • nail clippers
  • tweezers
  • magnifying glass for finding mites
  • UniHeat shipping warmers — not heat packs — in case of power outage
  • unflavored Pedialyte for rehydrating a dehydrated reptile
  • Emeraid Intensive Care powdered reptile food (Carnivore, Omnivore, or Herbivore formula)
  • syringes
  • kitchen scale for monitoring weight
  • phone numbers for regular vet and emergency vet

Be sure to check expiration dates on any medications and replace as needed. Reptiles with bandages should not be on loose substrate or allowed to soak. All dressings should be replaced and  wounds cleaned daily unless the vet says otherwise.

When should you call the vet?

  • after near-drowning
  • severe difficulty breathing
  • broken shell or bone, cut that exposes bone
  • burn
  • smoke inhalation
  • suspected poisoning
  • electric shock from biting an electrical cord
  • blood in feces
  • prolapse
  • choking
  • straining
  • seizure
  • rapid weight loss
  • paralysis
  • walking in circles
  • imbalance

Ultimately, when in doubt, call the vet. Don’t worry about being annoying, just call—it could save your reptile’s life. Not sure where to go? More information on finding a vet in our article, Finding the Reptile Vet of Your Dreams.

If you have a large reptile collection, consider pet insurance to offset veterinary costs. If pet insurance is not an option for you, consider applying for a CareCredit card. It’s still a credit card with a very high interest rate that needs to be paid off within 6 months, but it can get you out of a pinch in an emergency.


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