Looking to hit the trails with your canine companion? Dogs love to explore new scents and surroundings, but you’ll need to be prepared for more than just a typical walk in the park.
To ensure you and your dog have a safe trek on the trails, Brad Kriser, healthy pet expert and owner of Kriser’s, a multi-unit retailer specializing in all-natural pet food and supplies, offers the following advice on what to do—and what to bring— in case your dog does one of the following:
· Ingests harmful water – Lake, pond or stream water can be toxic to your dog if ingested. In some cases, it creates Giardia—an infection in the small intestines. If your dog drinks contaminated water, give him treated, fresh water to try to flush his system. If symptoms occur, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain or fatigue, visit a vet for additional treatment.
· Injures a paw – If you discover a cut on your dog’s paws, soak the paw in sea-salt water, remove any debris and use a disinfectant to clean the wound. Bandage the wound with three layers of rolled gauze in a taught manner. Use an anti-inflammatory spray, such as Dr. Rose’s Remedies Skin Treatment Spray, to help the irritation.
· Is stung by a bee – The first thing you should do is look for the pest/stinger to remove it. Be sure not to break it or more poison might go into your dog’s blood stream. Clean the area with a baking soda and water paste. If the irritation continues, consult your vet about giving your dog an over-the-counter antihistamine, like Benadryl, to counteract reactions.
· Walks through a poisonous plant – If your dog comes in contact with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac, do not touch his coat until you are wearing protective gloves. Even though a dog’s coat adds a great layer of protection, vulnerable spots with less hair, like the ears and stomach, can react to poisonous plants. To help prevent infection, bathe your dog in warm water, using a mild shampoo and rinse thoroughly to remove the plant’s oil. If your dog continues to itch, consult a vet about an antihistamine.
· Gets bit by a venomous snake – The best way to react is to stay calm and immediately find a veterinarian. Restrict movement in your pet as much as possible, even if it means carrying your dog. Do not try to treat the bite yourself by applying ice, removing the venom or applying a tourniquet. If you are nowhere near a vet, a snakebite kit can also be used. Other preventative options include snake aversion training or vaccinating your dog against snakebites.
If your dog is in the appropriate shape, have him hike with his own pack, carrying a first-aid kit with supplies. This is especially important if you plan on hiking or camping in a location that’s not close to medical help.