Recently I was asked to speak about what I carry in my hiking pack for first aid supplies for my dog. In general I carry a few supplies with me, in my pack, and in the car I have a larger first aid kit. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it is what has worked for me through the years. The goal of these supplies is to provide basic stabilization to be able to get back to the car and then into the veterinary or emergency office for further care.
I do not ever recommend trail side surgery for any reason. There are far too many things that can go wrong if wounds are not properly assessed, explored and cleaned. Canine and feline skin is incredibly mobile which means that the wound you see on the surface may have corresponding damage to the tissues inches away under the skin. These things can be tricky so when in doubt please have your pet assessed by a veterinarian ASAP.
In my pack I carry the following:
- An ace bandage.
- Small, can be used to stabilize or as a sling or bandage material.
- A dog boot and sock.
- My dog hates wearing boots but if she slices her pad or tears a nail, this will keep it clean and help control bleeding, use either dog socks (yes, they make them) or toddler socks.
- A knife.
- Basic pocket knife or multi-tool.
- Maxi pads.
- Women's sanitary napkins come conveniently individually packaged and make fantastic bandage material. Guys talk to the women in your life, they'll get you the right products (unscented, individually wrapped).
- Slip leashes (2).
- The basic leash you will see at dog parks and veterinary offices. Most veterinary offices have these hanging by the front door if you need one. They roll up into tiny parcels and can be used for everything from a sling to a muzzle to a belt. They are super handy!
- Cable cutter.
- Different from a knife, designed specifically to cut cable should the dog get tangled up.
- Bandage material.
- A single large (4 inch by 4 inch) telfa pad, small amount of gauze, roll of vetrap.
- Benadryl 25mg tablets.
- Given as a treatment for allergic reactions and or bee or wasp stings, you can give approximately 1 mg of Benadryl per pound. Do NOT give more than 50 mg to a large dog.
- ***PLEASE do not give your pet any other human medications!***
- Tweezers and nail clippers.
At the car I have:
- Eye wash /sterile saline flush
- More gauze, telfa pads and vetrap
- Examination gloves
- Saran wrap
- Standard band-aids
- Triple antibiotic ointment
We hope you will never have to use any of these supplies, but wish you all safe and happy times while exploring our trails!