First Aid for Small Pets: Building a Kit for your Guinea Pig, Hamster, Rabbit, or Rat


You probably have a first-aid kit ready for your human family, with items that handle fevers, cuts, or minor injuries. You also know when to call the doctor for situations you can’t handle at home.

However, are you similarly prepared for your small animal friend? If the answer is “no,” don’t fret. We’ll help you build a first-aid kit to keep your critter comfortable. First aid isn’t a substitute for veterinary care. But it can keep your buddy comfortable, whether you treat them at home or prepare them for transport to the small-animal doctor.

Proactive First Aid

Whether you have a hamster, guinea pig, rabbit, or rat, keep the following in mind if they are sick or injured:

  • Remain calm. A pain-inflicted rodent is distressed and could bite, squirm, or scratch. This could make treatment more difficult.
  • Handle them with extreme care. If your pal is injured or distressed, avoid picking them up too often. You don’t want to make the situation worse.
  • Wear disposable gloves when handling your pet. This protects you from scratches or bites.


Essential Supplies

Hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, and rats are all rodent family members. As a result, your first-aid kit can include the following:

  • Sterile saline, hydrogen peroxide, and gauze to clean scratches or wounds (antiseptic wipes are also ideal for this purpose)
  • Digital thermometers: ideal temperatures are:
    • Guinea pigs: 99-103°F (37-39.5°C)
    • Hamsters: 99-103°F (37-39.5°C)
    • Rabbits: 101-103°F (38-39.5°C).
    • Rats: 98-103°F (37-39.5°C)
  • Gauze pads to cover wounds or reduce bleeding; these can be held in place with a vet wrap bandage or gentle wound tape
  • Saline or hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds
  • Sterile eye wash or gel for irritated eyes
  • Syringes to administer medication
  • Tweezers to remove splinters
  • Small scissors to cut fur around wounds
  • Washcloths to help keep your friend wrapped and steady during treatment
  • Appropriate pet carrier for transport
  • Pet-safe pain relief meds
  • Styptic powder to stop a bleeding toenail

Also, be sure to have your veterinarian’s contact details on hand. You don’t want to be frantically searching for that information in an emergency.

There are also these species-specific items to include:

  • Gastrointestinal products for rabbits (who are prone to such issues). This might consist of simethicone for too much gas in your bunny’s system.
  • Vitamin C supplements for your guinea pig; this helps them avoid infections and promotes wound healing.

When to Call for Help

Some ailments you can treat at home. But if your furry friend experiences the following, get them to the vet at once:

  • Elimination problems
  • Lack of appetite or doesn't drink
  • Swollen tummy
  • He doesn’t walk or move around
  • Distressed sounds
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Deep wounds

Always check with your vet if you have other areas of concern. You know your pet the best; if something seems off-kilter, be sure to give your friendly animal doctor a call.

Your small animal buddy might seem happy and healthy right now. The last thing you want to worry about is something happening to your friend. It’s also essential to be proactive in their health and put together an emergency kit. Doing so means you’re prepared if trouble should strike your furry buddy.