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What to Do for a Dog Wound When Hiking in Colorado

July 23rd, 2018 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

A woman hikes with two dogs in Colorado. Josie is prepared for dog wound injuries with supplies in her backpack.

In this article, you’ll learn how to care for a dog wound when hiking: 

(1) What supplies you’ll need — and how you can improvise
(2) What to do for a bleeding paw
(3) What to do for a chest or abdomen wound

One minute you and your dog are climbing through aspen forests or trekking across open space in Douglas County, and the next minute?

The unexpected happens.

Your dog steps on a barbed wire, brushes against scrub oak and cuts himself, or accidentally runs into a foreign object (like a stick).

Breathe deep. Don’t panic. You can handle this.

Here are Dr. Melanie’s tips for what to do for a dog wound when hiking.

Even if the wound seems minor, call your veterinarian and/or contact an emergency vet near your hiking location as soon as you can.

First aid supplies you’ll need

Ideally, you have some basic first aid supplies in your pack:

  • Plenty of clean water
  • Bandage pads (like gauze pads or Telfa pads)
  • Bandage wrap (like Co-Flex or an Ace bandage)
  • Medical tape

How to improvise: If you don’t have bandage materials, you can use a bandana or a sock.

Dog first aid bandages for hiking

Examples of different types of first aid bandage options for dogs

What to do for a bleeding paw

First, flush the wound with water.

Don’t try to clean it. Just run water over it to wash it out.

Then, apply a bandage pad to the surface of the wound, wrap it with stretchy bandage wrap (like Co-Flex or an Ace bandage) and secure it with medical tape.

“The main thing,” explains Dr. Melanie, “is you want to keep the paw wrapped and stop the bleeding. You want to give the wound some pressure and keep it clean — but not too tight.”

Paw wounds are like human head wounds…

There can be a lot of blood.

A small wound can bleed intensely because dogs have arteries in their paws.

It’s possible your dog may bleed through the bandage.

In these cases, if you can carry your dog, that would be best. If you can’t, you’re going to need to keep re-bandaging the wound.

What to do for a dog chest wound or abdomen wound

Once again, you want to flush the wound with water and apply light pressure to stop the bleeding.

With a chest wound or abdomen wound, too much pressure can hurt your dog’s ability to breath.

Just lay the bandage on there to cover the wound and loosely apply pressure to stop the bleeding.

If you have a Co-Flex or Ace bandage wrap with you, you can loosely wrap it around your dog’s entire torso.

If your dog has a foreign object coming out of his or her body, don’t try to remove it.

(Removing it has the risk of excessive bleeding.)

Leave the object where it is and get to medical attention as soon as you can.

Other articles on this topic:

Make sure your dog is okay

If you’re hiking near Castle Rock, Colorado, call us at 303-688-3757.

If your dog needs timely attention and we don’t have the capacity to take care of your dog in the way he or she deserves, we’ll refer you to an emergency vet clinic. We want to ensure your pup can be treated right away!

For emergency care after hours, on Sundays, or on holidays, please contact: Animal Emergency & Specialty Center.

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on what to do for a dog wound on a hike. If you have specific questions or concerns for your dog, always contact your local veterinarian or an emergency veterinarian in your hiking area. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call: 303-688-3757.)

© 2018, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

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