Every year, adventurous pet parents hit the trail with their pets. While this is a great way to exercise your pets, keep an eye out for potential dangers along the trail and remember to pack a basic first aid kit.
Venomous critters: Snakes and scorpions can be a real concern when out hiking; try and make sure you keep your pet close. If you suspect that your pet has been bitten or stung, the best course of action is to get veterinary attention immediately. Do not tourniquet the limb or try to suck out the poison; prompt medical attention is the paramount concern.
Foxtails, spines and thorns: Some dogs seem to have a special skill at finding cacti or foxtails! Remove any offending objects as best you can, clean the area with an antiseptic (e.g. a “weak tea”-appearing solution of iodine/betadine and water) and apply an antibiotic ointment. If you can’t remove something easily, see your veterinarian.
Sharp stones and rocks: Cut paws and pads are not uncommon after your pet has been scrambling around; clean any wounds with an antiseptic and apply an antibiotic. These simple cut care tips should help resolve any minor scrapes.
Deep cuts may not stop bleeding after this simple treatment and may need to be stitched or have a bandage applied by your veterinarian. If so, use the clean cloths, towels and/or gauze (depending on the severity of the bleeding) in your emergency kit to apply direct pressure, and adhesive tape to hold the temporary bandage in place while you transport your pet to the vet. Just don’t tape too tightly! You don’t want to cut off circulation to the area; you just want to make sure the bandage stays in place as best as possible.
Last but not least, watch out for those natural snacks! Mushrooms may look appetizing, but certain types can land your pet in the emergency room, which depending on your hike, could be miles away.