Story by Ian Horgan |

May 24, 2018 |

Hello, it’s your brand ambassador, Shanna, here to talk about an important topic – dog first aid.

Dog First Aid When Camping

Camping season is here and I would not hit the road without my pooch, Milo.

When most of us think about spending time camping with our dogs, whether that’s dry camping/boondocking or glamping, we typically think about things like whether our furry friends will be allowed where we want to stay, and if we will be able to take them on the trails with us.

Be Prepared

More importantly, or at least as important as those details are, is being prepared for of injury or sickness that might befall our pet. While it’s not as fun as planning the trip and trails and nights by the campfire, preparing for pet first aid is essential. If you’re going to bring your dog with you when camping, it’s up to you to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Don’t wait until you need a first aid kit to wish you had assembled one.

Ask a Pro

So, to put together a list of essentials for a basic first aid kit for your dog, I decided to ask a pro. My friend, Dr. Heather Powers, is a veterinarian at Bodhi Animal Clinic in San Diego. She has cared for all my dogs, and my cat, through wellness, illness, and eventually end-of-life.

I asked her to answer a few questions that would be helpful for putting together a general pet first aid kit. Depending on the area in which you live, there will likely be specific things you should add to your kit, so be sure to check with your vet before you head out on your next trip. The peace of mind is worth it!

Without further delay, here are my questions (Average White Van) and Dr. Powers’ replies.

Average White Van: What are the most common issues you see from hiking/being outdoors with dogs?

Dr. Powers: The most common problems are hypersensitivity reactions like hives and facial swelling, lacerations, footpad injuries, heatstroke, and here in the Southwest, rattlesnake bites. We also see cases of Giardia infection from contaminated water (diarrhea is a symptom).

AWV: Before someone heads out on a camping or hiking trip, what do you recommend they do for their dog(s)?

Dr. P: I advise owners to be sure their dog is current on all vaccines, including Rabies vaccination. Also, be sure the dog is on heartworm prevention and flea/tick control. Ticks are not as big of an issue on the West Coast as they are on the East Coast or in the South, but they are present in wooded areas and areas of dense brush growth.

AWV: What do you suggest are some of the basics for a pet first aid kit?

Dr. P: For a hiking/camping/traveling first aid kit, I recommend these items:

I have linked to individual items (affiliate), you can decide if they are the best product for the type. If you don’t want to build it yourself, here’s a link to a complete doggie first aid kit.

One More Thing

Another thing I’d consider adding is a life jacket if you’re going to be taking your dog near water. Even a strong swimmer can fatigue easily—it’s a small price to pay to keep your best friend safe.

What else would you add? Do you have a first aid kit for your dog? Where are you headed in your Wayfarer van?

(originally posted, in a slightly different version, on photo credit: shanna trenholm)