Trail Fixes

How to Treat Your Buddy’s Bumps, Bites and Burns

North America is blessed with 44,000 walking and hiking trails, offering everything from spectacular scenery and magnificent vistas to cascading waterfalls and beautiful wildflowers. To unleash enjoyment of the great outdoors with your dog, take along these first-aid fixes, which work for both humans and pets.

The recommendations come from Richard Pitcairn, doctor of veterinary medicine and author of Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats. He recommends tucking remedies into the backpack, so you’re ready to handle any lacerations, punctures, poison, burns, insect bites or heat stroke that happen along the way. They are a quick, safe way to counter any unpleasant side effects from adventurous romps.

Injury: Lacerations and Tears

Quick Fix: Flush out the cut with clean water. Remove obvious debris like sticks, hair and gravel. Apply calendula lotion. Add six drops calendula tincture to one ounce (two full tablespoons) of water; saturate gauze pads and tape them in place. Wash minor wounds that do not need professional care with soap and water and dry carefully. Clip hair from the edges of the wound.

Homeopathic Remedy: Apply Hypericum/Calendula ointment twice a day until healed.

Injury: Insect Bites (Bee, hornet and wasp stings; centipede, scorpion and spider bites.)

Quick Fix: Rub in a drop of nettle extract (Urtica urens tincture or glycerin extract) directly on the sting. Using a dull knife, holding it perpendicularly to the skin, scrape across the area of the sting a few times. This will grab the stinger and pull it out without pain. Do not try to grab the stinger with your fingers or tweezers, because that will squeeze more poison into the wound.

Homeopathic Remedy: Administer internally for all insect bites, give Ledum 30c, one pellet every 15 minutes, for a total of three treatments.

Injury: Poison (From ingesting dead animals, toxic pond water or plants.)

Symptoms: Vomiting, excess salivation, tears and frequent urination and defecation; muscle twitching, trembling and convulsions; and severe vomiting.

Quick Fix: Mix five teaspoons of activated charcoal granules in one cup of water. Spoon-feed one-quarter of a cup up to one cup. Call the National Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

Homeopathic Remedy: Nux vomica 30c, two pellets, whole or crushed. Place on the tongue every 15 minutes, for a total of three doses. Discontinue if symptoms worsen.

Injury: Heat Stroke

Symptoms: Excessive panting, rapid heart rate and/or passing out.

Quick Fix: Move to well-ventilated, shady area. Offer water to reduce dehydration. Cool body and head with water. Apply continuously to cool the body as much as possible. Place ice packs around the body and head during transport to the veterinarian.

Homeopathic Remedy: Place two pellets of Glonoine 30c on the tongue. Administer Dr. Bach’s Rescue Remedy formula: two drops in the mouth every 10 minutes until you arrive at the veterinarian.

Injury: Burns (Chemical, electrical, campfires.)

Symptoms: White skin or scorched fur.

Quick Fix: Saturate gauze with Urtica urens; six drops to one ounce of water. Keep moist by adding more solution. Bandage if necessary.

Homeopathic Remedy: Administer Dr. Bach’s Rescue Remedy. (Reference: Give internally, two drops on the tongue every 30 minutes.

Richard H. Pitcairn, Ph.D., doctor of veterinary medicine, is a founding member of the Academy of Veterinarian Homeopathy, where he teaches professional and advanced courses on the practice. Visit

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