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PRENTATIVE FIRST AID MEASURES FOR DOGS
With the weather warming up in many parts of the country, dog lovers everywhere are taking their dogs out more frequently for hikes in the country. As anyone knows, rambunctious dogs with spring fever are more prone to accidents, whether a small cut on a pad, encounters with wild animals, or a dislocated limb. Although these injuries are not always avoidable, many can be prevented with proper training, awareness of your environment and conditioning.
Can you correctly apply a bandage to stop bleeding or protect a wound in an emergency?
In case your dog is severely injured on the trail, do you know what to do until you get him to the nearest veterinary clinic?
When you are out in the country, be aware of the terrain that you will be covering. Are there any open mines or logging in the area? Are there short drop-offs or high cliffs that a dog may fly over while chasing a rabbit? Be aware of the potential hazard of snow melt that would cause a normally quiet river to become a raging torrent swollen with debris and rocks that could quickly sweep your dog downstream. One false step by the dog shown crossing the stream and he could be swept under in the swift current below the waterfall. Be aware also of culverts and pipes that may pull your dog in.
In the spring, wild animals are more sensitive to people and their dogs, as they have newborns to watch over and protect. Skunks, rabbits, raccoons, foxes, prairie dogs and other wildlife should be avoided when possible. They may have rabies or harbor fleas or lice that can transmit distemper, plague or other obscure illnesses to the dog or their owners. Make sure you examine your dog thoroughly after a hike in the woods. If there are poisonous snakes in the area where you will be hiking, learn which ones they are and their normal activity. You may want to consider training your dog to avoid snakes before you go on your hikes.
Build up the weight in a dog pack gradually, and gradually increase the length of your hikes. Don’t load up your dog’s pack and plan an all-day hike the first weekend the weather turns warm.
Since you and your dog have not been able to walk or hike as much during the winter months, start out on shorter hikes at first. This will help condition your dog for the longer hikes ahead, and prevent sprains, sore pads, heat stroke and other issues. If you have your dog carry a back pack, start reconditioning him by slowly building up the weight and the distance he has to carry it, so he will be in full stride when you go on longer trips.
Before you head out, learn basic dog first aid and purchase a dog first aid kit to carry with your own first aid pack. With proper preventative methods and awareness, you and your dog can have a safe and enjoyable time in the wilderness. Order the book First Aid for the Active Dog, by Sid Gustafson, D.V.M., and include it in your first aid kit today.