Backcountry health & safety

First aid supplies

A complete first aid kit for both humans and K9s should be tailored to the specific needs of the region or area. Also, consider how you package your supplies to protect from snow, rain and extreme heat. As a foundation, here are a list of items to consider.

Cuts and abrasions

Booties – use to prevent cuts from rough or icy trail conditions (dog should practice wearing them before they are needed)

Roller Gauze (2”x 4 yards)

Sterile Roller gauze (4” x 2 yards)

Pair of scissors

Triple antibiotic ointment

Surgical super glue

Bandages (2” x 3”)

5” x 9” pads

4" x 4" pads – use for punctures

Gauze tape

Eye wash

Hydrogen peroxide

Iodine – use to clean wounds (make sure to dilute)

Razor - used to shave the fur to inspect an injury

Skin stapler

Sam splint

Vinyl gloves

Nail trimmer


Styptic pencil

Stings/bites/contact dermatitis

Tweezers – use to remove ticks (after removing, disinfect with alcohol pads)

Benadryl cream and pills - uses: bee stings and allergic reactions (take 1 tablet or 25 mg)

Brush – use to remove foxtails, which can be inhaled and lodged in the ear canal or between the toes; can puncture the skin and cause infection; can cause damage to vital organs if ingested (violent sneezing and snorting is an indication)

Sponge – use for bathing dogs after possible poison ivy/oak contact or skunk spray

Tecnu soap – use as an outdoor cleanser to remove plant oil from your skin.

Deet – mix one cap of the oil with one pint of water in a spray bottle to treat insect bites (apply a cold compress to the area and spray it with Benadryl spray to relieve the itch and pain)

Insect spray (ready to use and leak-proof)

Cortisone – usd for poison oak (can cause topical irritations on hairless areas of dog’s body; apply to relieve pain)

Soap - for general use or to wash off possible poison oak

Credit card - use to scrape stingers out

Hemostat forcepts


"Baited" water - to encourage hydration, add chicken broth for extra appeal or Cytomax for extra electrolytes


Protein bars and candy

Waterproof matches/lighter

Extra dog food

Non-perishable dog treats

Water – 8 oz. per hour per dog

Plastic bags

Pocket knife

Blanket – use for shelter

Towels (2) – use one as bedding and second to wash or cool dog

Lightweight nylon tarp or poncho – use in certain weather conditions

Muzzle and extra leash for restraint

Plastic dropper - 1ml


Moleskin - prevents blisters and hot spots

Stethoscope – use to monitor dog’s heart rate

Alcohol pads

Liquid alcohol

Tongue depressors

Pen light/light sticks

Pencil and paper – use if you suspect poisoning (take note of what your dog ate and head back to the car; call your vet or animal poison control center)

Needle and thread

Seasonal items

Spring/summer supplies

Additional water/electrolytes

Thermometer – used to observe rising temperature above 104 degrees F and possible heat stroke: remove from sun; apply wet towels on head, chest, abdomen and feet; let stand in water; avoid icy water)

Sunscreen (use on the dog's nose, too)

Instant ice packs

Precontact poison oak spray

Thermal bag - to prevent overheating of ointments, pills, sprays

Fall/winter supplies

Instant warm packs – use to treat frostbite

Extra blankets - use for warmth, and treating hypothermia (if dog's body temperature drops below 95 deg F, shelter dog from cold; wrap with towel; hold close to you body)

Duct tape (equipment failure and bootie repair)


ASPCA National Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435

American Veterinary Association: (800) 248-2862.


Copyright 2010 California Karelians
San Diego, California