It’s summer time during COVID, and most people have taken to camping as a getaway. There are many campgrounds that are pet friendly, but do you know what you need to do so YOU are ready? Below we have some tried and true tips on camping with your furry bestie.
1. Ensure Your Dog is on Parasite Prevention Medication and up to date on Vaccinations
Romping through the woods is one of the best parts of camping, hiking the trails and discovering new picnicking spots. While we use bug spray/ repellant for ourselves, we need to ensure our furry friend is also protected from biting insects. If your dog is not already on a heartworm, flea and tick preventative medication call your veterinarian to get them started. When out camping you can possibly expose your pet to wildlife encounters as well as bacteria. Ensuring your pet is up to date on all vaccines give you the peace of mind that they are protected from Rabies and Leptospirosis. Make sure you check your dog (and yourself) for ticks, leeches or other parasites before bedding down for a nap or for the night.
2. Bring a leash, collar and ID
Many campgrounds have leash length limits, as well as other dog-specific policies. It is always best to follow the rules set out by the campground. If there are no rules, be mindful of your pet’s general safety. A bright collar, with an ID tag showing their name and a phone number that you can be reached at is the easiest way to ensure they will be returned to you. If you find you tend to camp far away with limited cell service, consider a microchip. These handy devices show a code that is linked to your information, and most microchip companies also require an additional emergency contact person so they can also be contacted in the case of your pet getting lost and you are unreachable. Leashing your dog on your hikes may seem counter-productive, but you are most likely to encounter wildlife while out with a dog. To avoid bears, skunks or other animals you can add bells to your dog’s collar to frighten away potential threats or just keep them leashed. If walking on a popular trail, leashing is sometimes safer as many people throw their garbage including glass bottles into the woods and your dog is at risk for getting cuts. As well, there are many GPS based collars that when walking in the deep back woods can ensure you know where your off-leash dog is.
3. Food and Drink Safety
You may have a game plan for your own food, but if your dog is a grazer leaving their food out isn’t always the safest thing when you’re camping. Always remember to seal up dry and canned food in airtight containers and store them safely with your own. Don’t leave food out for your pet, and try to wash out the bowls immediately for canned food or store the dry food bowls with the rest of your food products – just the smell of food in a bowl can interest wildlife. Ensure that your dog always has access to fresh water. Avoid letting them drink from puddles or slow-moving creeks as they can be hosts to bacteria that can cause many issues including GI upset and Leptospirosis. There are many handy pet portable water bottles available, or portable pet bowls to ensure on your hikes your dog has access to fresh water.
4. Pet First Aid Kit
Good to have when on a hike or in your house, always bring a pet first aid kit when camping. You can buy them at pet stores, St John Ambulance or other major retailers. Good things to have in your pet first aid kit include: saline solution for rinsing wounds, self-adhesive bandages, gauze, tick twister, flea comb, quick stop styptic powder and single use gloves.
5. Campsite Safety
Camping may be a fun adventure, but if your dog isn’t used to sleeping in a tent, laying by the campfire or generally being outdoors in the summer heat all day then you may want to get them used to it first. Try introducing the tent in your backyard, let them explore while you air it out. You can try feeding them in it to coax them in if they appear nervous. Always a good idea to put on booties or socks on your dog so your air mattress and tent don’t get holes at night as well. If your dog is a little nervous and already crate trained, you can bring along their crate so they have something familiar. Try setting it up in the tent (if your tent is big enough) or put it in a shady place so they can nap in the shade. Make sure you give your dog lots of opportunities to rest in the shade or even a quick swim in the lake is a good way to ensure your pet cools down. Also, remember to not let your dog too close to the firepit, just one spark can cause a burn on their skin.
Camping is a great way to get out and active with the family and can be a wonderful time with your dog too! Follow these easy tips and you can have a safe camping getaway!