When hiking with your dog, you never know what will happen! Create and carry a hiking dog first aid kit on shorter hikes. This will prepare you both for longer hikes. If your dog carries a backpack, you can fit most of these supplies in a plastic baggie or two to save on weight.
Read on for hiking dog first aid kit must haves, but first! The Red Cross has made a Pet first Aid app with information on everything from allergic reactions to eye emergencies to frostbite. I HIGHLY recommend you put this app on your phone before hitting the trail
Pet First Aid App: Apple Store / Google Play Store
Keep all dog hiking gear together when you are off trail to make it easy to hit the trail last minute. Many of the items in your dog first aid kit will double for both of you. (For everyday hiking gear basics, here’s a post on dog backpacking gear) When in doubt, consult your vet!
Items for your hiking dog first aid kit
- medical records
- antibiotic ointment
- gauze and tape
- Musher’s paw rub
- dog booties
- something soft for your dog to lay on
- wet wipes
- collapsible bowl
- first aid knowledge (Red Cross app)
1. Electronic medical records
Keep electronic medical records on your phone. Most vets will email you records on request. Keep these with you in case you need to make an emergency visit. Paper is always an option, but many hikers are trying to save weight and space. I download the most up to date PDF version to my phone for easy access.
2. Antibiotic ointment
Ointment cream prevents cuts and abrasions from getting infected. Make sure to carry some, especially if you are hiking in areas with thorns or cacti.
3. Gauze and tape
These two work great together. You can use the gauze to control any bleeding. The tape can hold the gauze in place. Tape can also function as a makeshift muzzle. It may be hard to imagine muzzling your dog, but a muzzle may be required if your dog is in pain.
4. Musher’s paw rub
Preventative medicine is better than fixing symptoms. Musher’s paw salve does exactly that. If used daily, the rub will protect pads from cracking and chafing. My dog enjoys his nightly paw rub with this salve after a long day of hiking.
5. Dog booties
If you notice hot spots or lacerations on your dog’s paws, cleaning and covering the wound is key. By having booties on hand, you can prevent paw injuries from worsening or even occurring at all. Rough, sharp terrain is the perfect time to use booties throughout the whole hike.
Tweezers are vital for backpacking human and dog first aid kits. Keep a pair in your pack even if on a short hike. Tweezers are great for removing thorns and ticks. A strong tick medication is important, but ticks can still latch on for a short period of time.
7. Camp towel, t-shirt, bandana
A towel or shirt is a great way to protect your dog from rough terrain if they need to lay down. My camp towel doubles as my shower towel and my dog’s towel. I plan to use it as a tourniquet for both of us should the need arise.
8. Wet wipes
I carry these for both of us. For your dog, wet wipes are great for cleaning dirt, mud, and blood away from wounds.
9. Collapsible bowl
Even if you are out on a short hike, ensuring access to water for your dog is key. The weather can change, temperatures can rise, and your dog can easily get dehydrated. Carry a collapsible bowl with small amounts of food and water in case your hike goes longer than expected, especially in dry climates.
10. First aid info
Whether it be a book or an app, access to first aid information for your dog is important. By knowing how to react to injuries, you can stabilize your dog’s injuries and protect their health. Check out the Red Cross Pet First Aid app listed above. The app isn’t just great for a hiking dog first aid kit, but everyday around house.
With luck you won’t need any of these items, but with preparation you will be ready to handle anything!
Do you carry anything else in your hiking dog first aid kit?