Fixes in the Field
How to help your dog if it’s injured far from civilization.
Imagine this. You’re taking in the scenery from a hiking path. Your dog bounds in front of you. Ten yards away, it investigates a rodent burrow. Suddenly, it yelps. You know something is wrong, but you’re in the middle of nowhere. What do you do?
The difference between an enjoyable outdoor trip with your dog and one that ends in tragedy is preparation. From deadly encounters to painful problems, your dog can face a number of injuries and illnesses outside.
Learn what the experts have to say about common injuries and illnesses, and how to prevent mishaps and treat your dog if you can’t get medical attention right away.
Field fix No. 1: Paw laceration
When it occurs: Dogs can lacerate their paws a number of ways, including stepping on glass, sharp rocks, or other objects that cut the pad and cause it to bleed. Paw laceration is one of the most common outdoor injuries.
What experts say about prevention: Before taking your dog outdoors, make sure it’s in shape for it. You can toughen up your dog’s paw pads by getting it used to outdoor terrain. Riedel recommends walking your dog for 30 minutes a day on a variety of surfaces, including cement and gravel, before heading on a hiking excursion.
How serious is it? If your dog has a lacerated paw, the injury is likely painful but not serious. However, each case should be examined individually. "Dogs can bleed so severely it becomes a major problem,” says Charles DeVinne, DVM, a veterinarian in Peterborough, N.H., who has treated many injured sporting dogs.
How to treat the injury: If your dog lacerates its paw, clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide or clean water, bandage your dog’s injury, then take it to a veterinarian at the next opportunity.
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