Dog Gear, Gear, Hikes

What you need in a Hiking Dog’s First Aid Kit

June 9, 2022

Already have a human first aid kit for hiking and camping? Wondering what ELSE you might need for your dog? There’s no need to double up commercial first-aid kits for you and your pup as most elements can be shared but there are some extras to bring and take into consideration. The dog-specific pieces can also be shared with humans and you might find them quite useful!

Listed in detail below, some items that are good to have at home, in the car, on the trail

Whiskey and I have been hiking since she was a puppy and with the addition of Bourbon, we’ve had to deal with lots of minor issues while in the backcountry and on roadtrips without reception or vets nearby. Even at home, we’re able to deal with minor emergencies without having to pay for a vet visit.

When I’m hiking I always have a small first-aid kit and I add extra pieces depending on the length of the hike and the risk factors as well as the size of the pack I’ll be taking. I’ve never seen most of these products listed in ready-made canine first-aid kits that you can purchase so I thought this list might be good for people that are active and in the wilderness with their dogs.

Consider where you are going, the environment and temperature, as well as any medical issues your own dog might have. Always bring extra clothing for warmth, and shade. And let me know in comments on anything I may have missed!

Trail Dog First Aid Checklist

Items in your Human First-Aid Kit should have that can be shared with your Pet

  • Gauze
  • Adhesive tape
  • Swabs
  • Ice Pack
  • Scissors/ knife
  • Gloves
  • Bandages
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Saline
  • Tweezers
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Splint
  • Eye wash- non medicated eyewash can be used on dogs
  • Polysporin/ antibiotic ointment
  • All-purpose skin soother -Skincare for sunburns, rashes, chapped lips, bug bites, and healing cuts and scrapes
  • water-proof bag
  • towel
This is minimum what I carry in my daypack
This all fits into a small bag in previous photo called “first aid kit”

Trail Specific First Aid Kit Items

  • Blister Packs
  • Zip Ties
  • Lighter
  • Water Purification Tablets
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Electrolyes
  • Multi-use tool/ Swiss Army Knife

Trail Dog First Aid Kit additions

  • Benedryl (Diphenhydramine), Reactine (Cetirizine)– Pills are the most used item in my first-aid (human or dog). These I use for any allergic reaction including bug bites
  • Tick remover– if you have a chance of ticks in the area, clearly also for humans
  • Tweezers– very useful with the tick remover but also splinters, cactus spines, shards of things that get imbeded
  • Pup Wax -nose and paw wax balm for dogs, I use this nightly when hiking on boulder fields and the paws are about to be cracked (or are already cracked) to keep them moisturized as well as dry noses
  • Dr Dobias Skin Spray– Wonderful for skin scrapes and closed wounds as well as insect bites. Also great on humans
  • EMT Gel– Fantastic for paw cracks and tears in the skin. I was able to stave off Bourbon’s paw fully cracking with this gel, pupwax, wrapping and a bootie while hiking for 8 days in a row.
  • Duct Tape– as much as the adhesive tape in a regular first-aid kit might help humans, I’ve found Duct Tape is very helpful for dog patients. It’s also wonderful for fixing gear that breaks and holding boots in place for crazy running Vizslas.
  • Superglue– or stapler but superglue is much smaller to carry on treks out (many of my friends will carry a stapler to staple wounds)
  • Dog-friendly bug/tick spray– I’m still working on finding the magical dog-friendly bug spray but I’ve used Cedarwood-based, citronella based, and I would like to try PERMETHRIN next. Regardless, throw a pet-friendly spray in
  • Emergency Bootie– slightly larger size than usual, universal boot (not left/right) to accommodate bandages underneath if needed. I use muttlucks and duct tape this one when needed.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide– to in duce vomiting immediately after ingesting a non-corrosive poison (do not induce vomiting if you think it might be corrosive), commonly while hiking, if your dog eats mushrooms, or human feces that may be laced with drugs, anything that may have drugs (including edibles), poisoned meat, etc
  • Activated Charcoal+ powdered milk– if your dog has eaten something and is reacting (you did not induce vomiting in time) already reacting to the effects. I add the milk to make it more palatable and it also coats the stomach to prevent absorption while the charcoal works to bind the poison. Mix with water into a paste with a syringe pump or bowl if your dog will eat it.
  • Vet Wrap– Extremely useful for paw injuries, holding bandages in place, or sprains. I use it for myself when I consistently sprain my ankle. Sticks to itself and is non-adhesive to anything else. Also useful for boots and harnesses that rub.
  • Gravol/Famotidine– Whiskey has a sensitive stomach so this is more Whiskey-specific. When her stomach is very gurgling and she’s not wanting to eat, I give her Famotidine and it settles. Whatever drugs your dog may need, of course, bring some in your first aid kit
  • Emergency leash/ Rope + carabiner– leashes and collars break or get lost, an extra rope can really help, be made into a quick harness, or help muzzle a dog in pain.
  • Dog sling/bag/ability to carry out an injured pet– depending on the size of your dog, whom with, and where you are going, make sure you have the ability to carry your dog out
  • Bandana or cloth– you may need to drench a piece of cloth in water to cool a dog down, and emergency it can be very helpful to cover your dog’s eyes, or muzzle your dog while working on an injury, especially if you are alone


Be cautious of these items and research ahead of time if the ones in your kit are dog-friendly or not

medications– some medications can be shared with your dog, and some not. Make sure you have an understanding of the dosage and which are poisonous, this includes medicated eyedrops
creams/oils– some ingredients that can be used for humans like certain essential oils can be dangerous for dogs
bug spray– DEET is poisonous to dogs, even while spraying, make sure your dog is upwind
sun screen– Many types of sunscreen are potentially toxic if if a dog licks it off

Keep your puppies safe!

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