One of my favorite things to do — in or out of the city — is hike with my dog. But did you ever wonder what you would do if your dog got hurt out on the trail, with no veteranarian in site? I asked the top experts for some savvy suggestions and this is what they said.
Quick Fix for Canine Cuts & Bruises
Living near hiking trails has a way of unleashing a dog lover’s adventurous nature — lucky for dogs. But runs, hikes, and all-out romps in the wild put your dog at risk for minor mishaps. Fortunately the same first-aid fixes that work for humans also work for dogs.
Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD, author of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats (Rodale), recommends holistic remedies, especially when you can’t reach your veterinarian right away.
Chris Mangini, DVM, of Woodstock Animal Care in Vermont, hits the mountain trails regularly with his Bouvier des Flanders, Ziggy, but not without gauze pads, needle-nose pliers, and superglue.
Help for your dog’s injuries on the trail
Here’s a handy chart for treating common trail injuries until you can get to the vet.
|The Injury||The Quick Fix||Holistic Remedy|
body cuts and scrapes, cracked or blistered pads
|Once you’ve cleaned and dried them, mend body cuts or cracked paws with superglue (cyanoacrylate): Part the wound, pour glue into the crack, and pinch closed. For raw paws, try dog booties.||Arnica montana 30C, as first remedy • Calendula tincture, 6 drops to 1 ounce water, apply with gauze • Calendula 30C, for large wounds • Phosphorus 30C, for profuse bleeding|
thorn, sticker, cactus spine, quill, insect bite or sting, animal bite, snakebite
|Use needle-nose pliers to pull out anything in the wound. Pliers can sometimes do the trick for porcupine quills, but seek a vet’s help if they’re in the mouth or throat. Wash animal bites with natural soap and water. Apply direct pressure only if bleeding profusely. For snakebites, see a vet.||Hypericum 30C, for plant punctures • Ledum 30C, for animal bites, snake bites, and insect bites or stings • Lachesis 30C, for poisonous snakebites|
animals, toxic pond water and plants
|Symptoms: Vomiting, excess salivation and urination, twitching, trembling. Mix 5 tsp. activated charcoal granules in 1 cup water. Spoon-feed 1/4 to 1 cup. Call National Animal Poison Control Center (888.426.4435).||Nux vomica 30C, a few pellets on the tongue every 15 minutes for a total of three doses. Discontinue if symptoms worsen.|
chemical, electrical, campfire
|Symptoms: White skin or scorched fur. Saturate gauze with Urtica urens (6 drops to 1 ounce water). Keep moist by adding more solution. Bandage if necessary.||Arsenicum album 30C, one dose only|
|HEAT STROKE||Symptoms: Excessive panting, rapid heart rate, passing out. Cool body and head gradually with water, wet towels, and ice packs. Move to well-ventilated, shady area. Offer water to reduce dehydration.||Belladonna 30C • Glonoine 30C, if no improvement within 30 minutes|
Note: A version of my article appeared previously in Natural Solutions magazine