Just last month, our neighbor’s dog cut his paw pad while out on a walk–which got us thinking: what would we do if one of our dogs were injured while dog walking? Today we have a guest post from Patrick Rice, one of the co-operators of VetWraps, a site that provides easy access to first-aid and health products for pets of all kinds.
If you walk your dog often there is a good chance they will get hurt at some point, so being prepared is essential. We never want our dogs to hurt and seeing them hurt while on a walk and away from home can be scary.
There are many things that could happen while out for a walk from cuts to stings to sprains, here we will go over some of the most common injuries from walks and how to be prepared if they happen to your dog.
First Aid Kit
If you do not carry a bag while walking your dog, you may want to start. Having a small backpack or bag with first aid supplies will ensure that you are prepared if your dog gets injured during your walk.
Essential first aid items include alcohol wipes for cleaning wounds, tweezers for removing foreign objects, over the counter Benadryl for pain, gauze and vet tape for wrapping wounds, and an antibacterial pain-relieving ointment.
Including a portable water bowl and some water is also a good idea as well as a small rag or bandana.
Insect Stings and Bites
Just like us, dogs can be very irritated by insect bites or bee stings and can easily get these injuries while out on a walk.
If your dog gets bitten or stung during your walk you can alleviate the pain for them with a couple simple tricks.
If stung check for a stinger and remove it with tweezers. You can also add a small amount of ointment to the area if it is especially irritated. Normal over the counter Benadryl will help with the pain and can safely be given to dogs. A general dose is 1mg for every pound of body weight. However, this can make them sleepy so you may want to wrap your walk up short and head home after giving it so your dog can rest and heal.
Cuts and Paw Injuries
Dogs that walk often have toughened up their paw pads but are still likely to get injuries to their paws while walking.
A piece of broken glass or even grass awns can cause cuts to your dog’s paw pad.
If your dog hurt its paw you will want to examine it immediately. Check if there is anything stuck in the paw and remove it with tweezers. Clean the injury and wrap it with gauze and vet tape.
Luckily dogs are pretty good at walking on three legs so they should be able to get back home easy and without injuring their paw further. If you have a small dog, consider carrying it home so it can rest its paw. Check out this article for more information on paw injuries and how to take care of them.
Sprains and Strains
If your dog gets especially excited during a walk or you like to take your dog hiking, they may get a sprain or strain their leg.
If your dog starts limping on your walk, or you see swelling around their legs they may have a sprain or strain.
Be sure to check your dog’s paws to make sure they are not limping because of something they may have stepped on. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to do about this kind of injury other than head home immediately and let your dog rest.
Dogs have a naturally higher body temperature than humans, not to mention a coat of fur, so they can get heat exhaustion easier than us.
If you are walking your dog on a hot day make sure to bring plenty of water for your pup and take some breaks in the shade to prevent heat exhaustion.
If your dog slows down and is panting or salivating excessively, they may be experiencing heat exhaustion. Take your dog to a shady area if you can and give them plenty of water.
You can also help cool them down by applying a wet rag or water to their abdomen and neck areas and fanning them down. Head home immediately and if able carry your dog.
No one wants to see their dog hurt, and if it happens while away from home it can be even worse. As a general rule if your dog is injured while on a walk, treat them as best you can and head home immediately.
If your dog is small you can carry them, or you can have someone come pick you up in a car if your dog has trouble walking.
Keep your medical kit with you on every walk just in case and keep an eye on your dog as they are likely to hide their pain.
Remember to call your vet when you get home to verify if you need to bring your pet in.
With this knowledge you can walk safely and enjoy your exercise without worrying about what could happen because you will know how to deal with it.