Hiking can be an unpredictable sport, especially when hiking alone or on difficult terrain in an area where dangerous wildlife may pose a threat. Hiking with a dog can offer an additional element of protection and companionship for hikers, but what happens when a dog is injured on the trail?
In addition to packing first aid equipment for themselves, hikers can be prepared in the event of a canine medical emergency by bringing along a pet first aid kit for their dog.
This article contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. Thanks.
General Pet First Aid Kit Essentials
Everyone loves dogs, but let’s face it – they’re not always the sharpest tools in the shed when it comes to avoiding injuries. In addition to being a sound investment for all dog owners, having a general pet first aid kit on hand during a hike can be a huge help in areas where owners may otherwise not have access to medical care or supplies for their pets.
When packing a general first aid kit for dogs, owners should include the following items:
- Bandage material: gauze pads, adhesive tape, self-adherent bandage wrap
- Antibiotic cream or ointment
- Disposable latex or nitrile gloves
- Wound cleansing solution
- Fresh 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Activated charcoal
- Syringes or turkey baster
- Blunt scissors
- Saline eye flush & artificial tears ointment
- Digital thermometer
- Well-fitting muzzle
- Pet emergency blanket
- Pet emergency manual
- Emergency vet clinic numbers and copies of pet medical records
- Prescription medications
- Hand sanitizer
- Generic diphenhydramine tablets
- Veterinary prescribed pain medications
- An inflatable or collapsible E-collar
Having these items on hand can help protect pets from everyday injuries or medical issues along the trail like minor cuts, abrasions, and lacerations as well as ingestion of foreign and potentially toxic substances.
Owners assembling a pet first aid kit can find all of these items available over the counter at most pharmacies, but commercial pet first aid kits are available that contain all of these items and more.
Special Considerations for Hiking
Although a general pet first aid kit can come in handy during a minor emergency, these kits are more tailored for use in a home or other environment where it’s assumed that the user will have quick and easy access to nearby veterinary hospitals to receive continued medical care for their pet.
However, when hiking in the wilderness, owners may require more specialized equipment to keep their pets safe in the event of a medical emergency.
Additional pet first aid items that owners should consider when hiking include:
- Safety Whistle
- GPS locator
Owners may not always be able to care for their pet’s injuries or illness while on the trail, but in the event that a pet owner is unable to lift their dog or in need of additional assistance from nearby hikers or park rangers, these items can work to locate injured dogs as well as their owners and help get everyone to safety.
As with general pet first aid kits, specialty pet first aid kits are available for outdoor enthusiasts that contain items used most in hiking-related pet injuries.
Most Common Hiking-Related Injuries in Dogs
While having a pet first aid kit is one of the most important steps a pet owner can take to keep their dog safe along the trail, knowing how to use the items in each kit is imperative when dealing with hiking-related injuries.
Owners should ensure that they familiarize themselves with the contents of their pet first aid kit as well as research what to do for common hiking-related injuries in dogs.
Some of the most common injuries dogs experience during hiking include:
- Foot injuries including torn toenails, paw pad abrasions, and minor cuts or abrasions
- Insect bites or stings
- Overexertion resulting in strained muscles
- Exposure to harsh elements
- Animal bites or other wildlife-related injuries
Before setting out on a hike, owners should ensure their pet first aid kit is fully stocked and that all medications and supplies are not out of date as the efficacy of many products deteriorates with age.
Additionally, owners should research common pet injuries along the trail and know what to do if their pet experiences a medical emergency during a hike. More often than not, hikers will be hours away from veterinary facilities while on the trail and being prepared for an emergency could help save a dog’s life.
More Links and Info
We have more resources here at Zenful Hiking for how to prepare to have a safe hike with your dog that you may be interested in checking out. Articles like How To Hike With Dogs in Bear Country and Rattlesnake Country will provide you with even more info on how to stay safe before you hit the trail.