Hiking while surrounded by Mother Earth’s bounty can be a lot of fun. But hiking with your furry best friend by your side means double the fun and lots of great pictures for your Instagram. However, this adventure may come with a few small injuries. Don’t forget about your First Aid Kits for your dog.
A first aid kit is a necessity, the absence of which can lead to severe and irreversible consequences. If you are bringing your dog on a hiking trip, be a responsible owner and keep all the essentials you might need to make your adventure dog friendly. You must keep a separate first aid kit specifically for your dog to avoid any emergencies.
You can purchase first aid kits for hiking designed for dogs, or you can make one on your own! Be sure to weigh your dog before you leave for a trip so that you can administer the correct dosage of medication if the need arises.
The most practical first aid kit for dogs has the following components:
- Something to clean and protect the wounds
- Something to stop bleeding
- Something to get material out of skin or paws
- Something to treat allergic reactions
- Something to carry your dog
Here is a complete and comprehensive list of items that you must have in a first aid kit for dogs:
- Flea/tick medication to prevent pesky pests.
- Hydrocortisone lotion is used for poison ivy/ oak or other poisonous plants if your dog’s skin comes in contact with these plants
- Diphenhydramine is useful for treating allergic reactions caused due to insect or snake bites, stings, or contact allergies from a plant. A commonly known brand name of Diphenhydramine is Benedryl. Preprepared dog first aid kits usually include Benedryl tablets but if you are making one on your own, keep 3-4 tablets in a small bottle.
- Betadine solution is a must-have. Any wounds, scratches, or scraps may get infested with bacteria and dirt. Make sure that you dilute the solution before washing the wounds to prevent damaging exposed tissue.
- If your dog ingests something poisonous such as poison ivy or a mushroom, keep 3% hydrogen peroxide in a bottle to induce vomiting. Call your vet before you do this so they may guide you. The safe dose is 0.5-1 milliliter (ml) per pound of weight. Ingestion occurs more likely than you might think, do not skip on this!
- Your dog might get a footpad injury. Keep Paw Balm or Neosporin to apply on their foot to prevent the injury from worsening.
- Is your dog limping? It might be a strain or a fracture. Give the leg a thorough examination but before you do that, put a muzzle on your dog. When dogs get injured, they might go into shock and bite you. All dogs are capable of biting when they’re in pain. Gauze roll can also be used to create an emergency muzzle. Practice applying a gauze muzzle for emergencies on your hiking trip.
- Keep a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). While short-term use of these in dogs is safe, make sure you consult your vet first since some types of NSAIDs for humans are not safe for dogs.
- Saline Eye Solution can be used to flush out wounds or eyes. Use it with a bulb syringe to irrigate the eye and remove any foreign objects.
- Styptic swabs and powder are the perfect remedies for stopping bleeding if your dog tears his or her claws.
Some other Essentials include:
- Alcohol Prep Pads
- Oral Syringe
- Space blanket
- Absorbent Gauze/ Vet Wrap
- Adhesive Tape
- Cotton Swabs
- Tweezers allow you to remove painful items that can get stuck in the skin like thorns, spines, stingers, ticks, etc.
- A Thermometer to keep a check on your dog’s temperature. It is crucial for administering appropriate first aid if your dog is overheating in the summer or experiencing hypothermia.
- If your dog’s face is swollen due to an allergic reaction and the airways are constricted, putting a straw up their nose may open the airway and help them breathe. Make sure you talk to your vet about the proper way to do it.
- Rubber Gloves are multi-purpose when performing first aid. They help provide sanitary first aid. You can use them to protect your hands or to temporarily cover your dog’s paws if they get injured.
- Card with your phone number, name, and address of a vet and emergency clinic if you are hiking away from home.
- Attach a bell to your dog’s collar; this will help you locate your dog, especially if it gets dark.
Most of the medical items listed will already be present in your first aid kit. Still, it is always wise and practical to make a separate first aid kit for your dog, so you don’t have to worry about dosage and correct administration. Consult a vet before you leave for your trip and ask for their professional opinion to double-check if the medications are appropriate for your dog.
Your vet will guide you and demonstrate how to perform first aid in case of emergencies. Label the first aid kit correctly and clearly so that you do not get confused when it is time for you to administer first aid in a rush. Make sure you take your dog to the vet if you perform first aid on them to rule out any concerns.
Do not panic if your dog gets hurt! They can sense your anxiety and will react to them. Keep a guide with you that helps you identify ailments and provide treatment suggestions, the Field Guide to Dog First Aid from Wilderness Adventures Press is a great book that deals with a diverse range of emergencies.