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).
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.
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!