Now that the snow is starting to disappear, we can start to think about heading out camping! In preparation for the camping season, we recommend preparing your pet in the following ways:
Before you start packing:
Talk to your veterinarian and make sure your dog is healthy and up-to-date on all required vaccinations, particularly rabies.
Discuss appropriate flea and tick control. Ticks can carry many dangerous diseases and love to hang out in tall grass and wooded areas. Also, be sure that your dog is protected against heartworms, which are transmitted by mosquitoes and have been reported in some of the provinces in Canada (not Alberta).
Have an appropriate collar or harness with an identification tag (with a cell phone number on it). Microchipping your dog will provide an additional measure of protection in the event that your dog becomes lost.
Packing for Your Dog:
Bring water for your dog to drink if a water supply is not available at the campsite. Do not allow your dog to drink out of any running water, such as rivers or creeks, as these harbour a zoonotic parasite called giardia. Animals and humans can get a disease called beaver fever from a giardia infestation. Your dog should continue to eat his regular diet during the trip; pack enough food and treats to last for your entire stay. Pack a food dish and water bowl. Bring bedding and toys to keep your dog occupied as well. Take a copy of your dog’s health records and vaccination reports, especially important if you are crossing into the states. Other essential items include a leash and collar or harness, a carrier or other means to confine your dog when necessary, bags to pick up your dog’s waste, a first aid kit and any medications your dog takes regularly.
What to Do with Your Dog While Camping
Once at the campsite, keep your dog on a leash or otherwise confined so that other campers are not disturbed and your dog is not at risk for becoming lost or injured. Be aware of keeping your dog away from things such as campfires and cooking utensils that can cause injury. In particular, keep him away from the left over grease from your grill or BBQ – this will make him very sick.
While camping, check your dog’s fur and skin regularly for ticks as well as for plant material like thorns or burrs. Plant materials should be brushed free of your dog’s hair, if possible. Remove ticks promptly by grasping the tick near the skin and pulling gently and slowly away from the skin. Wear gloves when doing so. Do not handle ticks with bare hands as they can transmit diseases to you as well as to your dog.
We hope that you have a lot of fun this coming summer camping!!
Animal Care Centre of Strathmore