Vail pets: Hiking dogs also need first-aid kits |

Vail pets: Hiking dogs also need first-aid kits

Nadine Lober
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado “-Whether we take our Vail Valley dogs on long hikes or take them camping, we should always have an emergency kit with us.

There are some basics to bring along with you as venture into the wilderness. As discussed previously, porcupines are abundant in the mountains and our curious dogs will go after them even if they have experienced the uncomfortable effects of the quills in the past.

In order to remove quills immediately, the easiest tool to have would be small pliers. Grab the quill close to the skin and pull straight back. You will get some resistance at fist but tug hard and get them all out. If any are left in, then you should get back to town and get your dog to your veterinarian to remove the deeper ones.

Once the quills are pulled the site of entry will bleed. You can apply some pressure and the bleeding will stop. Antibiotics are not usually necessary.

If your dog goes leaping through the forest, as I know some do, then there is a chance that they may cut some part of their body or even get a stick embedded in them. For lacerations, the fist thing to do is to clean the wound with clean water. A little container with chlorhexadine or some sort of diluted iodine would be ideal.

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The emergency kit should have an antibiotic ointment, some gauze and a roll of stretchy wrap to apply pressure to the wound if bleeding or to simply cover the wound and keep clean. Sometimes lacerations require stitches, and the sooner that’s done the better.

Let’s say that your dog gets a bad case of diarrhea and you are in the wilderness camping out, not returning to civilization for a few days. Then, it would be handy to have some Immodium AD. This will help slow down the diarrhea, but remember that it probably will not cure the problem that caused the diarrhea.

Remember to also alter your dog’s diet to a very bland food, such as rice and low fat cottage cheese or maybe lean hamburger. Dogs should not drink from stagnant water holes and should not eat rotten stuff found on the trail. I know that it is hard to avoid sometimes.

Now, if you have one of those dogs that are known to eat anything they find and gets colitis often, then your emergency kit should include an antibiotic that helps clear colitis and a probiotic that helps put the good bacteria back in the intestines.

If you have a dog that has lighter pigment around the eyes and nose and other parts of the body, then good sunscreen would be beneficial.

Do not start with long hikes at the beginning of the season, but gradually work your dog into longer hikes so that he does not get too sore. If you have an older dog, or one that get sore from over exercising, then bringing anti-inflammatories would be beneficial to give to your dog after the long hike. Remember that human anti-inflammatories should not be given to dogs, they can cause stomach ulcers. See your local veterinarian to get the appropriate anti-inflammatories and the right dose.

Remember, to give them plenty of water, and do not let your dogs get too close to the faster flowing rivers right now as they have strong currents and the dogs can get carried along easily.

Enjoy the summer with your loyal companions and take them out to enjoy the great hikes in the Valley.

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