As a dog sitter, I have a pack of pups every day, and almost every day we hit the trails. For the amount of times we have spent in nature, I have been extremely lucky to rarely have used the first aid kit stowed in my day pack. In fact, the only living creatures who have used the kit are me and a fellow hiker we stopped to help during one of our adventures.
My first aid kit is made for humans, so I was really excited to get one for dogs. It turns out, they aren’t that much different!
The company’s line of dog first aid kits features three sizes and styles, which vary depending on how long an adventure will be. The Heeler is small, lightweight, and easy to pack for a day hike. Perfect for my crew.
Here is what you will find inside the small waterproof pouch:
- Two sterile non-adherent dressings, 2-by-3 inches
- Conforming gauze bandage, 2 inches
- Two antibacterial hand wipes
- Elastic bandage, self adhering, 1 inch
- Triple antibiotic ointment
- Two antiseptic wipes
Sprain or strain
- Triangular bandage
Medical instruction and instruments
- Pet first aid manual
- Splinter picker / tick remover forceps
Medication (when giving to animals, only give doses prescribed by your veterinarian)
- Antihistamine (diphenhydramine 25 mg)
After tucking the pack into one of the pup’s packs, we headed out for a hike. At a break, we stopped to open the kit and see what we thought of its contents.
A few things stood out right away. This is a small kit. It’s meant to be small, but that means it really is for one emergency use, and a minor emergency at that. Of course, this is usually the kind of problem you are most likely to face — a scrape or cut that needs to be treated and covered on the trail. The contents of the kit will help you with that.
I was happy to see that it includes a triangular bandage and gives you instructions on how to use it as a muzzle. Any dog first aid class will teach you this skill. It isn’t difficult, and the instructions walk you through the process. A hurt or scared dog may lash out and snap at you, even if he’s your own loving baby. Muzzling will keep you safe so you can help your dog.
I was also happy to see the roll of self-adhering elastic bandage. If your dog has ever been bandaged at the vet, you have seen this stuff. It’s great! It’s stretchy and sticky and does a wonderful job of holding a bandage onto fur without causing the animal any discomfort when it is removed. It’s such a great item, I added it to my human first aid hiking kit! Unfortunately, the roll found in the Heeler wasn’t very sticky, and I wasn’t able to use it as intended. I was able to tie it together to keep a bandage I put on Riggins’ leg in place, however.
Another standout item is the antihistamine. If you don’t have this as part of your hiking or even dog-walking gear, stop right now and go get some. If your dog gets stung by a bee, this medicine can give him relief or buy you time to get to the vet in more serious cases. (Be sure to ask your vet how much you can safely give your dog before there is a problem.) I’ve found that dogs have a very high tolerance to this drug. Much higher than I do. The amount I would give Riggins would knock me out for a few days!
I also love the inclusion of the splinter picker. Tweezers like these can be extremely useful on a hike to remove a splinter, small pebble, or tick. Personally, I’m not great at getting ticks off dogs when they have already become embedded. I’m a little worried that the tweezers included in the kit wouldn’t provide enough control or a tight enough grip. Luckily, none of the pups in my care got a tick for me to try it out on!
I would have liked the Heeler to include a pair of scissors. Many small human and dog first aid kits don’t have this item. It makes bandaging difficult when you can’t cut the wrap. When the pack and I bandaged up a fellow hiker who tumbled down a hill, I found myself trying to cut a bandage with my teeth, my knife, and anything I had handy. I managed to eventually cut the material, not well, and not without cutting myself, too! To be safe, throw a small pair of scissors into your pack next to your first aid kit. Just in case!
Riggins and his friends did a marvelous job summoning their inner Laurence Olivier to act injured for us to review the Heeler. I’m happy we didn’t have a real reason to use the kit, and I hope it stays that way!
Quality: The quality of Adventure Medical Kits for humans quality is great, and the dog line is no different.
Style: The Heeler is small enough to carry in a day pack, and its reclosable and waterproof packaging gives you easy access to the items you need.
Function: Although a couple of items disappointed, overall the kit has what you need to help your pup if he gets hurt during a short excursion.
Creativity: It’s a first aid kit. It doesn’t need to be creative, just functional.
Value: The Heeler is only $10. Even with its limitations, this is a great deal.
The Heeler is a solid small kit, and it’s inexpensive enough to buy one for your car and one for your day pack. If you are looking for a larger first aid pack, Adventure Medical sells two other dog adventure kits that are built to last for up to four days on the trails.
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