With warmer weather on the approach, many of us outdoors enthusiasts will be more than eager to get our rambunctious, cabin-fevered pooches out on the trail. There is nothing more appealing than having man’s best friend (be it dog or cat; that’s right, some of us do that!) out there as a trail mate. The following pet first aid requirements should be considered when exploring the great outdoors with your furry friend.
Their company is of some of the best nature; as they provide companionship, enjoyment, entertainment, and even protection. Our household pets have such naturally zestful spirits and high senses of adventure and they are wonderful backpacking partners.
While our pets can make for great companionship out on the trail (whether while on an outdoor venture or during the crisis of shit hitting the fan), it is highly important to be at least marginally knowledgeable in their first aid in the case of an emergency. As always with prepping, it is crucial to be prepared in the event that an unexpected accident or illness occurs with your pet.
This preparation is going to be the key aspect in how dexterously treating your dog’s injury will go. If you are going to be out in deep country, on the trail for days at a time, your animals survival could come down to your know-how in the aspects of pet first aid.
In most cases (even in the case of light, short trail hike), it is extremely idea to have along in your pack a pet first aid kit; and if you have your little four-legged buddy with you, it is important to have some emergency treatment equipment for them as well.
This article is not to say the pet first aid is a surrogate for veterinary care, but this information could potentially save your little Benji from a harsh demise.
It must be grasped that our beloved pets are almost exactly like children (only they can’t talk…well, sort of) in that they are exceedingly curious, sometimes ungainly, and are almost always far too willing to put things in their mouth that don’t belong there.
If by chance, you are a die-hard pet owner, you could hit up your local vets office and ask them about any courses they may be providing on pet first aid know how you’d be surprised how many of these exist (FOR FREE!).
Before Trailing Out w/your Pet:
Here it is key to have at minimum a small amount of preexisting knowledge on the clues to diagnosing an ailment.
It is important to know the potential poisonous plants, dangerous animals and any sort of allergies in the area you will be traversing that may affect your animal. If you plan far enough ahead, you can potentially obtain the necessary emergency medicines you may need from your local vet.
Learn the areas of your pet that are most prone to injuries. Learn what to look for in your specific pet.
Understand your pooches endurance. Often, you will find that your dog will do almost anything to keep up with you. If he looks deadbeat, give him a good break with some water and relaxation.
This previous overview can and most definitely will be beneficial to you and your pet should a predicament arise.
Again, it would be most advantageous to previously consult with your vet about some common (and not so common) injuries that may occur on the trail.
Suggested article: Saving Pets During Disasters
Potential Dangers on the Trail:
Typically, with this sort of injury, you will know the symptoms immediately (especially if the bone has extracted itself through the skin.
Fractures, however, maybe a bit more concealed (which are far more likely to occur). If your four-legged friend is limping or is avoiding to use of one limb, check the area softly with your fingers. (Often, during this stage, it is best to muzzle the animal; it isn’t that he/she wants to snap on you, but pain can make some reactions to touch quite fierce).
Unless you have prerequisite training, stray away from attempting to reset the bone using a splint. If the break has erupted through the skin, clean the area and wrap a clean cloth around it. It will be necessary to carry the dog out (more than likely).
Now, if your dog is too big to carry out, you may be forced to use a splint to immobilize him. Grab any stout splint-like object you can find and use strips of cloth or string to tie it to the limb. Remember to take the hike back to the car very slow.
Happening upon wild animals in the forest is an occurrence that is nearly bound to happen. A scrap between your animal and the wild ones can come about quite quickly (due to that inquisitive nature mentioned earlier). After a spar with a wild animal, it is important to check your pal for any injuries he may have received.
Check for puncture wounds around the throat, face, legs and torso. If you find an open wound, tether the animal to a tree to prevent moving, muzzle him/her, and then carefully shave away the hair around the injury. Flush and clean the wound with undefiled water or an antiseptic.
If the wound is not long and the tissue underneath doesn’t move around, it will probably not need stitches. If the wound isn’t bleeding profoundly, don’t gauze and dress it, rather let the wound breathe and drain. However, if the wound is bleeding easily, you’ll want to employ much pressure to the wound with a clean cloth.
If blood drenches, the cloth do not remove it (as this will release the coagulation of blood that has already begun). Rather, grab more cloth and keep employing pressure to the wound until the bleeding recedes or stops. At this point, it will be crucial to attempt to get to a vet.
Your fur-buddy’s feet, as low down (pun intended) as their status may be, are one of their most important features. Those four paws are where the rubber meets the highway. To keep on trucking along happily, they need these underpads to stay intact and healthy.
Healthy foot pads are crucial to your buddies trail-happiness, and therefore injuries to this area need punctual attention. The first thing to do when you notice a pad injury is to clean it. Look for debris that may have wedged itself into the pad. If the debris is wedged too deep, don’t attempt to tweeze or dig it out, as this can cause even further injury. Use betadine to disinfect the injury.
The would may bleed a bit. Apply pressure to it until the bleeding stops. Contain the wound using a bandage of some sort. The use of gauze pads will help to cushion each step the pooch takes, for which he will be very happy as this will deviate some of his pain. If the wound is bad enough, you may need to change the bandaging on a daily basis, while keeping it as clean as possible.
It is best, before ever setting out on any sort of adventure with your precious pup, to know what he can take. Most dogs (even when extremely unhealthy for him) will run until they can literally run no longer. It is key to know what type of endurance your pooch’s breed can handle.
Much like yourself, your trail pal needs shade, rest, and water while out on the trail (or anywhere else for that matter). Unlike you, however, is the fact that your pup (in relation to humans on the trail) is more like a toddler. This means that if you are sweating and are winded on the trail, your pooch (depending upon the breed) could be in danger of a heat stroke.
If your pup is panting rapidly, take this as a sign of trouble. This panting doesn’t allow him to get full breaths of air into his lungs. Vomiting and sudden diarrhea are also signs of bad heat exhaustion.
If your pet is affected by heat exhaustion on the trail, stop, rest and give him fresh water. Lukewarm water is best and it is said that cold water, in the case of a dog’s heat stroke, is actually counterproductive.
In the Case of an Emergency on a Normal Hike:
- In any “normal” scenarios, it is important always to have your vet’s phone number easily accessible. There are a number of any-hour animal clinics that will take phone calls and can assist you with the problem at hand.
- In case things get desperate, there is also a number you can reach that will get you in touch with the ASPCA Poison Control Center: 1-888-426-4435. There may be a small fee, but trust that it is totally worthy as the proceeds go to something far bigger and better than your bank account.
Pet First Aid Kit:
Basic supplies to include in a pet first aid kit are:
- Latex gloves
- Gauze- pads and rolls
- Adhesive tape
- Non-stick bandages, that stick to themselves, not to fur or skin/Vet wrap
- Alcohol wipes
- Saline solution
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Non- prescription antibiotic ointment
- Eyedropper or syringe
- Emergency blanket
- Mushers wax
Basic Pet CPR:
The American Red Cross offers an immaculate course on pet CPR (which can be a real lifesaver, just like with us two-legged, walking disasters) and pet first aid in general. They have a basic lesson on pet CPR that is just as important as the entire course, and is a must to learn if you are a lover of those four-legged love buddies.
Again: It is mightily suggestive to consider taking the courses in pet first aid offered by veterinary practices all over the country, as it is well known that when SHTF, you’ll need to be prepared.
This article has been written by Jonathan Blaylock for Prepper’s Will.