Part of creating an overall healthy routine for dog wellness (and yours too!) begins with going for daily walks. It's fun to take your dog with you on walks and hikes, especially now that the warmer weather is here, but if you're walking regularly, whether that's an easy local trail or traveling for a challenging hike, there’s a good chance your dog could get injured. How should we prepare for a possible injury, and what should we do if your dog does get hurt?

You can prepare for mishaps before you leave the house by gathering a few everyday items to carry with you.  If you often walk or hike with your dog you should be prepared for the occasional mishap. Consider taking a bag containing water, a dish, and a first-aid kit which should have tweezers, gauze and gauze tape, vet wrap tape, antibacterial ointment, Benadryl, and a small clean rag in it.

Dangers on the trail and how to prepare

Cuts and paw injuries

Small cuts and pad injuries are caused by anything sharp like glass or other debris. Check the wound immediately to assess what your dog needs. You’ll want to get your dog home right away to clean the wound and remove any object in the wound. Then you’ll want to bandage the wound with gauze. Most dogs can walk on three feet, but you might have to carry the dog if it’s small enough.

Insect stings and bites

Dogs are just as (or perhaps more so) prone to insect bites and bee stings as humans. If your dog is stung, inspect the area for a stinger and pull it out with tweezers. Clean the area and apply ointment if it seems red and irritated. If your dog's reaction is bad, give it some Benadryl (1mg per pound of weight). You might want to wait until you get home to give him this drug as it may make your dog sleepy.

Heat exhaustion

Your furry buddy may not slow down in the heat, so be prepared for him to suffer from heat exhaustion. If you see your dog slowing down, panting, or drooling excessively, he may have heat exhaustion.

Though dogs have a coat, their fur often keeps them cool, so for most breeds, shaving your dog isn’t a preventative measure for heat exhaustion. Instead, carry a lot of water with you, especially if the dog is active and the day is hot. Give your dog the water to drink, but also wet a rag or a towel and apply it to his neck or abdomen. Take your dog home as soon as he can walk or carry him if you’re able.

Sprains or strains

If your dog is incredibly active, she might experience a sprain or might strain a muscle. If your dog starts limping, check first to ensure there’s no cut. If it turns out to be a sprain, the best therapy is rest. Walk her home slowly or carry her if she is small enough.

Be cautious

Remember your dog might have a terrible reaction to pain or discomfort. Approach an injured animal carefully, even if it’s your best friend, to avoid a “fear-biting” incident or other aggressive behaviors. Approach slowly and talk gently to your dog. Watch for signs of distress like a fixed challenging stare, growling, baring teeth, hair standing on end, flattened ears, snapping, or lunging.

If your dog is distressed, you’ll need to immobilize it to keep him (and you) safe while taking care of his wound or injury. You can wrap a small dog in a towel, but a large dog may need to be crated. If your dog is distressed, wait until the crate arrives or until your pup settles down.

Extremely frightened dogs aren’t necessarily submissive, so even if you see your dog has its tail between its legs, your dog could still bite you. Also, scared dogs run. If you feel like your dog might try to flee, try to leash it or cut off their escape path.

Avoid the instinct to hug your dog when injured. Your dog may feel trapped and react negatively to the hug. Just keep talking gently and tend to its wounds.If your dog bites you, and especially if a dog you don’t know bites you, visit your doctor immediately.

What to do after your dog is safe

Once you’re safe and finally home, call your vet. Explain what has happened to the dog and what measures you took to take care of the problem. You might photograph and send an image of an injury or swollen area for your vet to inspect. A follow-up visit with the vet is a good idea to make doubly sure your dog is okay.
One of the best ways to help your dog in a crisis is to ensure they’re as healthy as possible to begin with. Part of ongoing good health is regular care and checkups with your vet. Dog wellness plans or pet preventive care plans can help you save money on your regular visits, keep your dog healthy and happy, and make sure you have a little spare cash in case your pup gets injured. Contact us today to find out how Wagmo dog wellness plans can help you safeguard your dog's health.