October 25, 2008

Keep those puppies safe!

And now a weekend safety tip for the hikers and dog lovers among us!

I know you try your best to keep your dog safe on the trail, but what if - despite all your precautions - something happens and your pet gets hurt while you're hiking, hunting or camping? Obviously, the first thing you want to do if your dog ever suffers a serious injury is to get him to the vet immediately, but what if that's not possible? What if you need to partially remedy the injury before you can get safely him to the doctor?

If this could happen to you, and you're interested in learning about first aid for your more helpless hiking companions, you might want to pick up a canine first aid book. There are lots of general first aid books for dogs out there, but if you have a dog that regularly accompanies you into the backcountry you should probably investigate those books that are tailored more specifically to these active outdoor animals (as opposed to books for those dogs who are meant only to be house pets).

I recently came across a nice canine first aid book: Dr. Randy Acker's Field Guide to Dog First Aid: Emergency Care for the Outdoor Dog. This slim, easily portable guide is clear and easy to read, and gives plenty of emergency tips (other than "hurry back to the car and get your dog to the vet") on topics from bleeding and lacerations to drowning to frostbite. For example, I learned that hunting dogs will frequently get “abraded eyelids” from hunting intensively through underbrush for their quarry. (While uncomfortable for the dog, this is usually not an emergency and can be treated with an application of antibiotic ointment.) I also learned that if your dog gets frostbite, you should warm the areas with moist heat applications, and never rub the frozen tips of his ears or tail because they might break off! Good to know.

Hopefully none of this will ever be necessary for you and your dog friends. God forbid your dog ever suffer a “sucking chest wound” (p. 57). But it’s always good to be prepared, just in case. As Dr. Acker says, “with some basic training, the proper first aid supplies (link), and a little common sense, injury and illness are both preventable and treatable.”

Did she say "sucking chest wound"?!!


Bill Coughlin said...

Do you think I can get the book at the library?

Liz said...

I was certainly grateful when Lucy almost choked to death that my neighbor new that you had to hold her mouth shut and blow into her nose to get her breathing again. I guess I should be even more grateful that he was willing to blow into my dog's nose!