It’s summer, and while you may not be taking the usual vacations this year, how about exploring your city’s natural attractions? “Staycations” are popular these days, so why not include your dog in the fun? It’s a chance to visit areas of your city you’ve heard about, but never seen. So gear up to become a tourist in your own town and don’t forget to pack supplies for Rover. If you’ve never put together a outdoor first aid kit for your dog, now is an excellent time to do so. It's really quite easy with the right supplies, and you'll be glad you did. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Are you a city girl or guy who frequents the local gallery stroll? Or maybe you enjoy the local lake, river, or beach scene. Perhaps there are bike trails near your home. Many states have national parks with hiking trails and other scenery with wildflowers or birdwatching. For fans of road trips, turn your cross-country trip into a day drive to a less-populated destination. For these scenarios, you’ll probably pack supplies for yourself like food, water, sunscreen, shade, and even a first aid kit. For excursions longer than your typical errands around town, your dog will also need some essential equipment.
You’ve seen the unexpected things your dog finds in your own backyard, so don’t expect him to be ant less curious once you’re out of the house. The unfamiliar smells, sounds, and sights are sure to pique his curiosity, which means he might find an unpleasant surprise or two – or even get a cut or a scrape. Ensure you’re not caught unprepared by keeping a pet first aid kit in your car for emergencies. The last thing you want is to be away from home with an injured dog and have no way to care for him.
For minor cuts, scrapes, and bumps, pet first aid is similar to that for people. Do the same thing you’d do for yourself. Gently rinse the wound and pat dry. Then apply an antiseptic ointment, a gauze pad, and wrap in a self-adhesive bandage (which is more comfortable for pets since it doesn't stick to fur). For more serious injuries or illness, always consult your vet before giving your dog any oral medication that’s not made specifically for dogs. Over-the-counter products that you may have on hand can be toxic to dogs, so always err on the side on caution.
At the minimum, carry bandages, blunt scissors, gauze pads, and ointment . Even better, keep a dedicated dog first aid kit in your car. These kits often include a toxic foods list or even an instruction booklet that can guide you until you can get to the vet’s office. Besides the injury itself, your dog may become distressed or unruly, which is also upsetting for you. Keep calm and clearheaded knowing that you have the right information in your kit to keep your pet safe.
Depending on your activity, you may need to plan for extreme weather. If your dog has a short coat or low body fat, he may need some help with his temperature regulation. Where other dogs might enjoy the snow without getting the shivers, he’ll probably need a coat or sweater to have fun outside in the winter. Heavy-coated pups can be prone to overheating in hot weather. Provide them with a cooling scarf and carry an instant ice pack in your kit for extra refreshment.
You love Rover, but you don’t want his slobber on your cup when he gets thirsty! A great option is a collapsible silicone bowl that can be used for water on the go. Another convenient product is a water bottle with an integrated dog bowl . This is an effortless way to ensure you’re always prepared to hydrate yourself and your pup. For mealtimes, choose a portable food bowl with a top closure, and pre-fill it. Keep it in your car, and you’ll be prepared to take that spontaneous day trip with your pup any time the notion strikes.
Some dogs can become easily overstimulated on outings, so it’s a good idea to plan downtime for you and your pup. This can be especially important if you’re trying to care for an overwhelmed or injured dog before transporting him to the vet. To help an agitated dog relax, try using a calming balm. This is a portable twist tube that contains soothing ingredients like chamomile or lavender, which you can rub onto your dog’s paws or neck. It’s another item that will easily fit in your pet’s first aid kit.
Just like humans, dogs can get insect bites while romping through the outdoors. If you’re planning a nature walk, especially in the summer, carry an anti-itch spray to use on any uncomfortable hot spots your dog may develop. If you find that your dog is scratching excessively, especially in one area, use the spray to soothe the spot until you can further investigate and solve the problem.
Now that you’ve packed your first aid kit, get outdoors and have some fun with your dog. You’ll have a worry-free outing knowing that you’re prepared to care for Rover with products made just for him.