JoAnna Lou
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Dog Airlifted Out of Calif. Forest
A hike turned into an overnight excursion for a couple and their dog

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine ended up carrying his 50 pound dog for two miles after the poor pup tore the pads on his paws during a trail run. I wondered what I would do in the same situation. Unfortunately, I'd probably be stuck because I don't usually carry first aid supplies and I definitely don't have as much upper body strength as my friend. The ordeal certainly got me thinking.

Even the most well-conditioned dog can become injured on a hike or run, so it's important to have a plan if something should go wrong. This is even more important if you're trekking in a remote area.

A couple in California learned this lesson the hard way while on an afternoon hike at Angeles National Forest last weekend. During the outing, their Labrador mix, Baxter, cut his pads and soon grew too tired to complete the hike. The couple couldn't carry the 80-pound dog, so they were forced to call the police and wait overnight for help to arrive. The next morning a rescue helicopter airlifted the couple and their dog to safety.

I don't run or hike in remote areas, so I usually rely on the fact someone can come get me if there's an emergency. But after hearing this story, and knowing what happened to my friend, I think I'm going to start carrying a few basic supplies with me. Torn pads are fairly common for active dogs, so bringing disinfectant and gauze on our next outing is probably not a bad idea.

What do you bring with you when you run or hike with your dogs?

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

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Submitted by Bill | August 5 2011 |

I have so far been lucky. I do hike quite often with my golden Caesar. He has cut his pads a few times but we were always near to the trail head when it happened. The 2nd time he actually pulled one of his rear nails out, it bleed for quite awhile and he had a hard time getting around. If this would have happened in a remote area I don't know what I would have done. I do now carry a first aid kit with anti septic and gauze pads and bandages.

Submitted by Deb | August 6 2011 |

I don't hike in the wilderness with my dog but we do take daily walks. I always carry my phone with me and also peppermint spray just in case we meet up with strays. I've never had to use either one and hope I never do. There was a time I could have used the spray but didn't have it then. You just never know.


Submitted by Elene | August 18 2011 |

I have a VERY rambunctious two year old Cattle Dog mix so I usually come prepared for anything when I go hiking. I actually purchased a Ruffwear backpack for him to wear because I was tired of carrying all of his gear. I usually carry Solid Gold Paw Balm with me along with gauze and some surgical tape just in case. I also carry an inordinate amount of water and tons of treats in the unlikely event his seemingly boundless energy starts to wane. He's a good boy but he's got a pretty good habit of getting into trouble on hikes.

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