Pet Summer Hiking Series – Part Six: ER Trail Tips

Dog bites…and bee stings…and cuts…OH MY!


Emergencies are scary whether you’re at home or on the trail.  Take my tech tips along and apply them to keep your pet safe until you reach veterinary medical attention.

Avoiding emergency situations is obviously preferred, but being prepared if they happen is priceless.  Having the necessary supplies will prevent an emergency from becoming a tragedy for both you and your pet this summer.

Dog Fights

Avoiding negative dog encounters is the best way to keep your pet safe. If your pet is aggressive toward other dogs or people; yield the trail to let others pass by safely.  See Part One of my Pet Summer Hiking Series for Trail Etiquette.

Tech Tips

  • Use a large, long stick to pry apart jaws or dogs to avoid injury.
  • Once the dogs are separated, inspect for wounds and tend to any that are excessively bleeding.
  • Allow your dog to calm down before trying to make them walk back.  He or she may be in shock and extra exercise can exacerbate this.
  • Seek veterinary medical attention immediately. 
  • Untreated bite wounds can lead to infections. Most need to be treated with antibiotics, because believe me a dog’s mouth is far from clean.
  • IMG_1837
    Godiva, under sedation, having a drain place after a dog attacked her. Thanks Dr. Teresa!

Insect Bites/Stings

Nevada and California are home to bees, wasps, fire ants, poisonous spiders and scorpions.  Bites or stings from these can cause mild hives, facial swelling, vomiting, difficulty breathing and even paralyze parts of the body.  Do not apply pressure, this will spread the venom further.  Often diphenhydramine is given to stop the allergic response. Be sure to check with your veterinarian for the proper dosage BEFOREHAND. 

Tech Tip

  • Use a pair of tweezers or old credit card to remove the stinger.


Cuts can happen anywhere on your pets body.  When working at Lone Mountain Vet Hospital, feet, legs and chest seem to be most common.  Cuts caused by sharp sticks may even puncture a lung.  This is a medical emergency and your dog needs to be tended to ASAP.

Tech Tip

  • Carry a pair of dog booties to protect or prevent cuts on feet.
  • For serious lacerations, apply direct pressure and elevate affected limbs to decrease blood flow.
  • Tourniquets are not recommended unless it’s life-threatening.


Carry a First Aid Kit.  Make a small first aid kit that can be carried on short walks or long hikes.

Godiva and Ruby’s Kit includes:  

A laminated card with First Aid and CPR Care Information About:

  • Treating Cuts/Wounds
  • Rashes, Skin Irritations, Itches
  • Bee Stings/Insect Bites
  • Toenail Bleeding
  • Puncture Wounds
  • Poisoning

Bandaging Materials

  • Band-Aids (for human use)
  • Square gauze of various sizes (sterile if possible)
  • Surgical Sponges (sterile)
  • Non-stick pads
  • First aid tape
  • Bandage rolls – gauze and Elastikon
  • Sterile draping material


  • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) for allergic reactions
    • Obtain dose for each pet from your veterinarian
  • Pain medication: Tramadol (narcotic) and Rimadyl (NSAID)
    • Both were prescribed by my veterinarian based on my dogs’ weights
    • Ask your veterinarian if either of these is appropriate for your pet
  • FortiFlora (probiotic/anti-diarrheal)

Wound disinfectant (povidone pads/swabs and alcohol pads)

Triple antibiotic ointment for skin

Eye wash solution (saline)

Styptic powder

Solar blanket

Non-latex gloves

Emergency Drinking Water

The summer has just begun.  Follow my tech tips and stay safe on the trails of the Sierra!IMG_4274

I update my blog twice a week, and will be adding more information about pet safety and wellness.  Exciting topics like fox tails, heat stroke, and porcupines are coming up soon!  If you have any ideas you’d like me to write about, please leave a comment and add it to my agenda.  I love being an LVT and I’d be thrilled to answer any questions you have.



Author: Aubrie Ricketts

Experienced Licensed Veterinary Technician, Executive Master of Business Administration - University of Nevada, Reno. I love marketing and promoting preventative medicine and pet wellness. I have a dedicated passion for veterinary anesthesia and pain management.

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