These Are The Most Common Hiking-Related Dog Injuries, According To An ER Vet

Accidents happen — here's what to look out for 👀

When you take your dog out for a hike, you always plan on having a great time in nature with your best bud. But everyone knows that accidents happen, and sometimes your dog can get injured while on the trail.

The Dodo spoke to an emergency vet to find out what the most common hiking-related injuries are in dogs and what pet parents can do if their dog gets hurt while on the trail.

What is the most common hiking injury in dogs?

“Musculoskeletal injury is one of the most common hiking-related injuries,” Dr. Fleur Jones, an emergency vet with Veterinarian Emergency Group (VEG), told The Dodo. “Limping is usually the sign you’ll notice first.”

Musculoskeletal injuries are sprains, strains and tears of muscles, joints, tendons, nerves and spinal discs. Depending on the severity of the injury, your vet will either suggest at-home or surgical treatments.


Other common injuries Dr. Jones sees in her emergency vet clinic are small wounds caused by rocks or branches while a dog is running, as well as tick bites.

“In certain parts of the country, we see a face full of porcupine quills after a dog gets a little too close,” she said.

What symptoms point to injury?

According to Dr. Jones, there are a few key symptoms pet parents should keep an eye out for when hiking with their dog.

“Being hesitant to walk as far, acting ‘off,’ sometimes not as interested in eating,” are all signs that your dog may be hurting, Dr. Jones said.

If you do notice any of these symptoms while out on the trail or after you’ve returned home, Dr. Jones said it’s best to carry your dog off the trail, if possible, and contact your veterinarian or an emergency vet ASAP.

“Call your closest ER vet — Veterinary Emergency Group is open 24/7 in our 50+ locations, and you can always call and speak with a doctor,” she said. “They can let you know what to do in the car while you get yourself to a vet as needed.”


How to avoid injury while out on a hike

“Keep your pets on a leash or close by you as much as possible to dissuade them from running crazily and getting hurt or getting too close to wildlife,” Dr. Jones said.

She also said that keeping them leashed will also prevent dogs from going into wooded areas, where ticks are more common, lessening their chances of getting infected with a tick-borne illness.

Never hesitate to contact your vet with any questions or concerns about taking your dog for hikes or if you suspect an injury, and for added peace of mind, pack a dog-friendly first aid kit in your hiking backpack before you hit the trail.