Friday, August 17, 2012

Outfit special first-aid kit for dog on hike

We often think of animals as better fit and more resilient than ourselves. Yet if going on a day hike with your family dog, always be as prepared to handle an injury to Rex or Queenie just as you would for your own child. Your dog’s innate curiosity about wild animals and no paws in boots makes it a prime candidate for an injury on the trail.

Just as you would meet the needs of your injured child in different ways than you would for a fellow adult – for example, CPR for an adult performed on a child would break the youngling’s ribs – you’ll need to be aware of your dog’s special medical needs. That means carrying a doggie first-aid kit apart from the one you bring for your children.

Here’s what to include in a doggie first-aid kit:
g First-aid guidebook for dogs – You can’t be expected to know as much as a veterinarian. A guidebook can help ensure you correctly deal with your pet’s needs.
g Iodine solution – A povidone-iodine solution works well as an antiseptic for dogs that suffer cuts and wounds. It should be the color of ice tea and can be applied with a sterile wash cloth.
g Liquid bandage – These work well for paws with cuts and scrapes. However, do not use them for deeper cuts on other parts of the dog’s body, especially if they require stitches, as they can itch, causing scratching and worse infections.
g Saline solution – This can be useful for flushing gunk from the eyes. Make sure that the solution is intended for use in eyes and for dogs, however.
g Skin stapler – Sterile, disposable staplers can be used to treat skin tears and cuts from barbed wire. Always know how to use one before actually doing so, though; you may want to consult with your veterinarian.
g Tourniquet – Dogs require a unique tourniquet to stop bleeding. Look for a latex strap that doesn't roll or pinch and with a quick-release metal clip.

All of these items typically can be purchased at large pet supply stores or through a veterinarian.

Read more about day hiking with children in my Hikes with Tykes guidebooks.