My friends Lori and Ray have the biggest hound hearts around – they have no less than six adopted greyhounds in their household. The dogs are all amazing, and are always ready for a good hike in the great outdoors. We walk the hounds in phases so that we are sure to have control of the hounds that are with us.
We consider this a good first step in preparation for taking the dogs out on a hike. This brings to mind being prepared for your hounds in the event of the need for pet first aid while on any outdoors excursion. Do you know where the nearest veterinarian clinic is near your extended hike? Would you know what to do if your dog was suddenly bitten by a snake while out on a trail? What if your hound had an accident while out on the hike? Topics such as these are addressed by a number of local and national organizations.
CPR Seattle is a local American Heart Association Training Center which offers certifications to individuals and businesses in CPR. More specifically, they offer classes in pet CPR and first aid. In the Pet CPR and First Aid course, they discuss how to aid your animal in the event of an injury. Students in the class receive a completion certificate once the course is completed. The course content addresses:
- Restraining an injured animal
- Checking vitals
- Treating serious bleeding and shock
- Care for injuries and wounds
- Medical emergencies
- Environmental emergencies (animal bites, snake bites, ticks and more)
- Common pet illness and conditions
Technology is also available to play a role in your pet’s medical care. PetTech is an online resource through which local classes offer CPR and first aid care for your animal. They offer PetSaver Training as well as an app that gives you an immediate hands-on tool for issues such as:
- Fractures & limb injuries
- Insect bites & stings
- Heat stroke
- Frost nip/Frost bite
- Seizures and convulsions
Each issue on the app lists definitions, causes, signs and actions for survival – all critical in the event of a serious injury or medical event, and enables timely prevention for any issue that can be mitigated or avoided by immediate and proper attention. The app also offers a section specifically addressing poisonous items, with plants listed alphabetically. When you touch the name of the plant on the app, you get a color picture of the plant with a description, making the identification of such a plant a snap. It also gives information on signs of poisoning and actions for survival if poisoning is suspected.
The American Red Cross website is also a useful resource for pet safety. As the warmer months approach, it is important to keep in mind that our hounds need to be protected from the heat, just as humans do. If your hound appears to be in distress from the heat, the Red Cross suggests the following measures be taken:
Determine if the signs and symptoms are indicative of a heat stroke:
- Collapse, body temperature 104° F or above, bloody diarrhea or vomit, depression stupor, seizures or coma, excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, salivationIf you are suspicious of a heat stroke:
- Get your dog out of direct heat
- Check for shock
- Take your dog’s temperature
- Spray your dog with cool water then retake temperature
- Place water–soaked towels on the dog’s head, neck, feet, chest and abdomen, turn on a fan and point it in your dog’s direction, rub Isopropyl alcohol (70%) on the dog’s foot pads to help cool him (but don’t use large quantities as it can be toxic if ingested)
- Take your dog to the nearest veterinary hospital
As we continue our adventure on our hike through the local trail system, we keep in mind the following tips when out with one (or many!) hounds. Here are a few additional reminders for walking one (or multiple hounds) in any outdoor setting:
- Make sure your hound is wearing a collar and an identification tag for any outdoor excursion. This becomes critically important in the event you and your hound(s) get separated on your hike.
- Always bring plenty of water and a portable bowl with you on the hike, for both you and your hound(s). It never hurts to have treats on hand as well!
- If walking multiple hounds, make sure that they all get along – a walk or hike with newly-acquainted hounds closer to home is a good idea so that you (and others walking with you) are aware of their behaviors with and around the other hounds and humans!
- Have a portable first aid kit on hand for both you and your hounds (The Humane Society offers a comprehensive list of what to carry in your pet’s first aid kit).
To find out more about any of these resources, please visit: