Guide To Applying First Aid To Your Dog While Camping Or Hiking

Miranda Merchant 

Our dogs’ safety and health are as important as ours and we need to take responsibility for them while camping or hiking. In this article we answered the following questions about how to take care of our dog during an emergency:

  • What are the most common dog injuries you can come across and how should we treat them on the scene before taking your dog to a vet?
  • Why is it important to have a first aid kit for your dog in particular?
  • What are the most essential items to add in your dog’s first aid kit and what are their purposes?
  • Two best-seller ready-made lightweight first aid kits to buy from Amazon

Let’s start with the first topic.

The most common dog injuries and how to treat them

  • Traumas, spinal injuries and eye injuries

Dogs that suffer from traumas caused by falling or hitting should be immediately taken to a vet after applying the necessary first aid such as stopping the bleeding with gauze , if needed,  without wasting time. That applies to dogs with spinal injuries and eye injuries since eye injuries can easily get severe and one of the most dangerous injuries is the injuries that happen to the spine. Those injuries carry the risk of leaving your dog paralzed and it needs immediate vet treatment according to

  • Burns

Burns can happen because of a fire you make to cook while camping or hiking. You should cool down the burned area with cool running water for 20 minutes right after your dog burns itself. You can use burn ointments to treat. Bandage the burn afterward to prevent it from catching a germ.

  • Bites, cuts and oral injuries

injured dog

Picture from:

To treat another animal’s bite, sterilize the bite wound and try to stop the bleeding with a gauze. After that, spread some wound ointment to the gauze and put it on the wound. That will prevent dry bandages to stick with the wound. Never pour antiseptic directly into an open wound. In the end, bandage the wound very well. For tick bites, grasp the tick as close to its head with tweezers and gently pull it out. Sterilize the area after making sure that nothing is left inside the skin. Apply the same process for cuts but first, remove if something pierced into your dog’s skin.  For oral injuries again apply some simple first aid sterilizing and protecting the wounds until you take your dog to a vet to see if there is anything serious.

  • Broken bone points out that we need to apply pressure to the fractured area with a sterile bandage or a clean cloth and make sure the dog doesn’t move that area at all. Do not try to push the bone back in.

  • Bruise and swelling

Apply ice on both of these injuries. Some wound ointment may be helpful for bruises after the ice treatment.

Prepare a first aid kit for your buddy

Whether you're an adventurous traveler or not, you probably have an emergency kit somewhere in your home and car. Needless to say, it is very important to have it with you, especially when traveling. But what if you have a dog and you go out with him/her often, do you have a first aid kit for your dog too? The answer to this must be ’’Absolutely yes!’’. Since they are at risk of injury as we are, we must have a first aid kit for our dog, too. That kit must involve items that we should always have with us to keep our dogs safe. So what are these items? Why are they necessary? You will have the answers below. Let's find out what we should have in a first aid kit for a dog and prepare one if you don’t have any.

  • Hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol, burn and wound ointments or sprays

First and one of the most essential things to have in a first aid bag is an antiseptic. Both hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are used for preventing microorganisms to get on the wound. Having either of them will be fine. Also, burn or wound ointments or sprays will help the damaged area heal quicker than they normally do and you can use them to spread on a bandage before putting it on a wound to prevent sticking.

  • Thermometer, heat and ice packs, blankets and towels

It is vital to monitor your dogs’ temperature outside. A thermometer is crucial to have at this point. Always keep your dogs temperature at a normal level. To prevent your buddy from getting too hot, you can put an ice pack under its blanket. And if your dog is cold, put hot packs under its blanket. For very messy situations, a towel can help you clean your dog. Therefore a blanket is a must either to keep your dog warm in cold weather or to comfort your dog in a panicking situation.

  • Bandages, cotton, gauze and band-aids or tape

After you apply first aid, you will need protective bandages to cover the wounds. It is better to have a lot of them in the bag. Cotton or some pads will help you clean the wounds and apply ointments or sprays to them. Q tips can replace them if you don’t have cotton. Moreover, gauze is a sterilized tampon used for stopping the bleeding at the first stage, to prevent blood loss. It’s a must to have it in your first aid bag for sure. To keep the bandages together you will need a first aid tape or simply band-aids.

  • Twizzlers, tick and flea sprays, syringe and scissors

Dogs’ biggest enemies outside are ticks and fleas. While you can use sprays to keep them off of your dog, you will need a twizzler to remove the tick if it finds a way to get on your buddy. But first, train yourself on how to remove a tick from a dog’s skin the right way. You don’t want to leave a part of the tick inside your dog’s skin. Indeed. And of course, you should NOT throw the tick on the ground. It may find you and your dog again. Ticks can find their victims by sensing their carbon dioxide release. So you need to kill the tick before it comes back again and make sure the blood inside the tick does not splash on you or your dog since the blood may carry illnesses. You can try pouring alcohol on the tick so you don’t have to kill it by stepping on it or hitting it with a stone. Latter ways are too dangerous because you risk splashing the blood the most this way. And well, if you have syrups to give your dog, then an oral syringe is a must. Also, you can syringe antiseptics into an open wound if you don’t want to touch it. In addition, you will need a scissor to cut bandages or tapes, etc.

  • Gloves, flashlight, extra leash

Gloves are necessary to have, whether you deal with a severe wound, burn or a simple scratch for hygienic purposes. Flashlights are quite advantageous to see the damaged areas better. Supposing that you lose your dog’s leash, having an extra one in the first aid bag will save the day.

  • Your dog’s prescribed medicines and vet Documents

As might be expected, if your dog is already prescribed some medicines, you need to place them into the first aid bag to keep giving them to your dog while you travel. In an emergency, you may have to take your dog to a vet immediately, in this case, you better have your dog’s documents with you.

Two ready-made dogs first aid kit from Amazon

If you are too lazy to prepare your own kit then check these two very economic and lightweight first aid kits that are ready to be shipped from

‘’You don’t have to worry about your dog getting injured’’ says Kurgo and introduces this great portable and small kit to us. It is easy to carry indeed as it’s only 0.41 Kilograms and it involves 50 pieces of the most vital first aid items. Buy one for your buddy from this link and put it in your rucksack or the back of your car.


Weighting only 425 grams, this first aid kit is as good as the first one and also has more space in its bag so you can add more items in it. It consists of 42 pieces and is ready to be taken to adventures. Buy it right here.

All in all

Never forget to take your dog to your vet as soon as possible to check if there is anything serious that is not apparent in your dog after applying the necessary first aid treatment. Never underestimate a little innocent-looking scratch and take caution before it harms your loved one by causing an infection. Unfortunately, I know some friends whose pets died from a single scratch from street cats. You know your dog better than we do so you can add more items to your first aid kit according to your dog’s personality and needs. Everybody should train themselves on how to apply first aid and some vital life-saving maneuvers. That’s a fact. Therefore, no matter how hard it is to see your dog in pain, you should learn how to be calm in such situations without turning into John Wick.

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