Camping season is upon us, or if not in your area yet it’s rapidly approaching. When it comes to camping and time in nature, most of us would not hit the road without our faithful pooch.
When we think about camping with dogs, whether dry camping/boondocking or glamping, we typically think about things like whether our furry friend will be allowed where we want to stay, and if we will be able to take our pooch on the trails with us.
More importantly, or at least as important as those details are, is being prepared for of injury or sickness that might befall our pet.
While it’s not as fun as planning the trip and trails and nights by the campfire, preparing for pet first aid is essential. If you’re going to bring your dog with you when camping, it’s up to you to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Don’t wait until you need a first aid kit to wish you had assembled one.
So, to put together a list of essentials for a basic first aid kit for your dog, I decided to ask a pro. My friend, Dr. Heather Powers, is a veterinarian at Bodhi Animal Hospital in San Diego. Over the years she has cared for all my dogs (and cat) through wellness, illness, and eventually end-of-life.
I asked her to answer a few questions that would be helpful for putting together a general pet first aid kit. Depending upon the area in which you live, there will likely be specific things you should add to your kit, so be sure to check with your vet before you head out on your next trip. The peace of mind is worth it!
Without further delay, here are my questions and Dr. Powers’ replies.
Average White Van: What are the most common issues you see from hiking/being outdoors with dogs?
Dr. Powers: The most common problems are hypersensitivity reactions like hives and facial swelling, lacerations, footpad injuries, heat stroke, and here in the Southwest, rattlesnake bites. We also see cases of Giardia infection from contaminated water (diarrhea is a symptom).
AWV: Before someone heads out on a camping or hiking trip, what do you recommend they do for their dog(s)?
Dr. P: I advise owners to be sure their dog is current on all vaccines, including Rabies vaccination. Also, be sure the dog is on heartworm prevention and flea/tick control. Ticks are not as big of an issue on the West Coast as they are on the East Coast or in the South, but they are present in wooded areas and areas of dense brush growth.
AWV: What do you suggest are some of the basics for a pet first aid kit?
Dr. P: For a hiking/camping/traveling first aid kit, I recommend these items:
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Dosage @ 10mg per.lb of body weight. Use for bee stings, hives, or facial swelling until can get to a vet hospital ASAP!
- Nail clippers with styptic powder
- Harness in case you have to carry your dog out
- Basic bandage materials: gauze, pressure wrap, medical tape, and bandage scissors
- Sterile saline solution that can be used in the eyes and for flushing out wounds
- Digital thermometer: 103 and over is high
- Doggy wipes
- Tick remover
- Possibly dog booties (which the dog needs time to get acclimated to)
- A means to filter or boil H2O!
- Maybe hydrogen peroxide and Betadine solution
- Tweezers to remove thorns and the like (but never ticks!)
- Wound spray (good for hot spots, too)
A big thank you to Dr. Powers for her time and sage advice!
I have linked to individual items (affiliate), you can decide if they are the best product for the type. If you don’t want to build it yourself, here’s a link to a complete doggie first aid kit.
Another thing I’d consider adding is a life jacket if you’re going to be taking your dog near water. Even a strong swimmer can fatigue easily—it’s a small price to pay to keep your best friend safe. And be sure your dog has a collar with identification and a leash.
What else would you add? Do you have a first aid kit for your dog?