Eight Items to Include in a Hiking First Aid Kit for Your Dog

Hiker and dog

As a respon­si­ble hik­er, you prob­a­bly wouldn’t con­sid­er hit­ting the trails with­out pop­ping a first aid kit into your pack. But if you’re plan­ning on bring­ing your best four-legged friend with you, don’t for­get to pack a kit for your pooch.

Dogs are smart and resilient—but just like humans, they can encounter haz­ards along a hike. Be a pru­dent pet own­er and take these items with you on your next hike with your pup. (Bonus: you’ll prob­a­bly already have many of these items in your own first aid kit).

Styp­tic Swabs
Who­ev­er invent­ed styp­tic swabs must have owned a dog: these are the per­fect rem­e­dy to help stop the bleed­ing if your dog tears his or her claws. Dab onto your pup’s nail (or anoth­er area where there is a small cut) will seal up the nick almost instantly.

Rub­ber Gloves
Yes, rub­ber gloves are great for san­i­tary first aid exe­cu­tion, but a rub­ber glove can serve as an emer­gency tem­po­rary bootie if your dog cuts his or her paw pad on the hike. You might also opt to take along an actu­al dog bootie, which will be more durable than a rub­ber glove.

Gauze and Heavy Duty Bandages
A minor scrape shouldn’t set your dog back too much, but a deep­er cut requires a lit­tle first aid exe­cu­tion. If a cut on your dog is deep enough to require a ban­dage, then you’re going to need a pret­ty stur­dy ban­dage. Opt for a stretchy, heavy-duty one that will tough through your dog’s full-body move­ments on the hike back down.

Your pup is prob­a­bly more like­ly to get for­eign items in his or her eyes than you are—think skunk spray, dirt, and insects. Pack along a small squirt bot­tle with saline to rinse your dog’s eyes out: sim­ply hold his or her head still and squeeze a few drops into the cor­ners of the eyes.

Lights, Bells, and Whistles
Okay, your dog prob­a­bly won’t know how to use a whis­tle, but attach both a light and a bell to his or her col­lar. The light will help you track your pup in the dark­er hours, though don’t think it’s only for overnighters: you nev­er know what unex­pect­ed turn a hike might take, requir­ing you to descend in the dusk. Bells will help you keep an eye—er, ear—on your dog, but will also alert oth­er poten­tial moun­tain-dwellers (i.e. bears) of your pooch’s presence.

Por­cu­pine quills, thorns—who knows what your dog will encounter on a romp through the woods. Keep pli­ers on hand, or bet­ter yet, cov­er your bases with a multi-tool.

Water Bowl & Water
This one is a giv­en, even for a short walk. There are all kinds of hybrid water bottle/dog bowl prod­ucts to min­i­mize the space they take up in your pack. You could also try a col­lapsi­ble bowl. Bring more water than you think you will need for your dog.

Food and Treats
Water is intu­itive, but don’t for­get to bring extra fuel along for your pup. Just as you would pack a few emer­gency snacks for your­self, be sure to tote some food to keep your dog’s ener­gy lev­els high in case you’re out longer than you intended.

We’ll leave you with a final fact: most dog injuries sim­ply hap­pen when their own­er takes the pup out on a longer hike than he or she is ready for. You wouldn’t go from a couch pota­to to climb­ing Ever­est in a day, so don’t expect the same from your pet. Ease him or her into climb­ing greater dis­tances and tougher ter­rain, and keep the injuries at bay!