Camping is one of my favourite activities; being outdoors, the smell of the campfire and hiking through the woods are some of my best memories from childhood. As part of our summer safety series, we are going to discuss camping with your furry best friends, and how to keep them safe.
Before you go
Take note of the nearest Veterinarian in the area you will be staying. You may never need the information, but it is best to know the directions, phone number, and hours of operation, just in case.
If the camping location is in the United States, make sure your pet is up to date with their vaccines, so crossing the border is as efficient a process as possible.
Make sure to take a first aid kit for yourself and your pets, including tick removal gear, bandages, paperwork for your pet (including vaccine records), an extra leash and collar, Benadryl, extra medication they may need, and a flashlight.
Keep your pet's proof of identification tags (i.e., Rabies tags, tags with their name and owner's phone number) on at all times. Even better, have your pet microchipped at your Vet's office. A microchip is the only identification that will stay with your pet at all times and can be read at any Vet clinic or Humane Society if they get lost.
Don't forget their dog food!
As we have discussed in previous blogs, fleas, mosquitos, and ticks are ready and waiting for our pets outside. Make sure your pets are on parasite prevention medications monthly, and that you check your pets at least once daily to remove any ticks which are on their body.
If the mosquitoes are biting, using a mosquito repellant that is sprayed on a dog bandana, then placed around your dog's neck can help to reduce their numbers.
Fireworks, Campfires, and other scary things
While we may enjoy all the experiences camping has to offer, many of the aspects of camping can be frightening to our furry companions. If you or others at the campsite will be using fireworks or a storm is coming, keep your pets safe from the terrifying noises. Many animals will run away to try to escape the danger of fireworks or storms. Whether that means staying in the car with them or driving to a different location where it is quieter for the moment, trying to keep them happy and calm is the best course of action.
In the car, harnesses that clip to seatbelts offer a safer ride for animals. When hiking on a trail, a short leash or gentle halter lead is a great way to ensure your pet doesn't run away from you to meet an unsuspecting wild animal. Avoid retractable leashes which may entangle your dog in bushes or trees, or enable them to run to a place where they cannot be seen.
Heat stroke is no laughing matter, see our previous blog for more information on how to prevent this disease. Always bring cold water and a dog bowl with you and offer your pet frequent drinks.
Keep white-furred animals out of the sun. Animals can sunburn too, but the white-furred ones are the most susceptible.
Pets are not great at keeping themselves away from delicious food. Remember to keep a lid on human food in coolers to prevent your exploratory pup from eating things they shouldn't. Even better, keep the food in a cooler on a picnic table, or tucked away from wild animals as well.
When you come home
Remember to bring in a fecal sample to your vet to ensure your pet did not pick up an intestinal parasite along the way!
If you have any other questions about how to keep your pet safe in the outdoors, give us a call!