Camping is a great way to spend a summer vacation. It's also one that allows you to bring your pooch along. Here are some tips to keep your pet safe and ensure that your dog has a really good time. And remember to keep your furry pal leashed — you never know what dangers are lurking in the great outdoors!
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DEALING WITH TICKS
Don’t leave home without making sure your pet has proper protection against fleas. And, if you are heading into tick country, be sure to apply the relevant repellents. A handy gadget called a Tickkey will quickly and easily remove a tick right away instead of waiting until you get back to your camping site. It fits onto a key chain and will remove ticks from people, too.
A fold-up camping cot is a great idea for your pet to sleep on both in the tent at night, and also when you are all enjoying a barbecue around a campfire or a picnic on the beach. This will help to keep creepy crawlies, insects and fleas out of his fur, and also remove any cold or heat emanating from the ground. Look for one that is quick and easy to assemble without tools.
Make sure you have doggie sunscreen in your kit. Pets with pinks noses and tummies are more susceptible to skin cancer. Put on sunscreen with a minimum SPF factor of 15. Special pet sun wipes with a SPF factor of 15 are great for protecting your pet from the negative effects of basking in the sun. And, as with people, re-apply often.
STAYING PROPERLY HYDRATED
Hydration is key to keeping your pet healthy, especially in the hot summer weather. Make sure you have plenty of water available at all times. Also, it’s really important to be able to recognize if your pooch is dehydrated and suffering from heat exhaustion. This happens when they are running about and don’t give their bodies an opportunity to cool down. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which can be fatal. Watch your dog's tongue. The first signs of exhaustion are the tongue hanging long and large outside the side of the mouth. Your pooch's lips will pull back as it attempts to get more air into its lungs. Dogs often walk in circles, looking for a place to lie down, and their eyes start glazing over. It’s important to get the animal out of the sun as quickly as possible and apply an ice pack or a Ziploc bag with ice to its tummy area. The idea is to get its temperature down as quickly as possible. And seek veterinary help. A collapsible bowl is great to pop open and serve water anywhere and at any time.
FUNCTIONAL FOOTWEARLightweight doggie shoes with rubber soles are great for hot terrain, whether it's sidewalks, mountain paths or the beach. They are functional because they ensure that your pooch doesn’t cut himself, burn his paw pads and even get stung. Have your dog try them on before you go on vacation to ensure they fit and so that your pooch is comfortable wearing them.
If you are camping by the beach or near a river, it's important to ensure your dog is wearing a flotation device. Not all dogs are strong swimmers. A flotation device with a handle will make it easy to grab him and pull him to safety in an emergency. The Surf and Turf jacket doubles up as an insulating waterproof layer by removing the floatable inset. It has two handles for easy pick-up and a hook for a leash.
THE JELLYFISH DRILL
If you are heading to the beach, be sure you have a first aid kit that caters for jellyfish stings, as they can very painful. Here is how to handle such a situation:
- Wear rubber gloves to avoid touching the tentacles, which can result in you being stung too.
- Pour rubbing alcohol on the tentacles (70 percent solution or more). This will prevent the tentacles from triggering more stings into your dog.
- Sticky tape can be helpful to remove tentacles. Also pour seawater or sand over anything stuck in the dog. Do not use fresh water, as this can release toxins.
- Make sure you know how much Benadryl to give your dog and keep the dosage in your kit so you have the information on hand.
- Pack the sting sites with a paste consisting of baking soda and water to soothe the sting.
- Cold compresses help numb the sting and reduce swelling. Apply them for 10–30 minutes. Then, alternate with a towel covered hot compress, 5 minutes on and 5 minutes off until it cools, to bring healing blood back into the area and flush out the poison. Alternate cold and hot packs for 20 minutes.
A pet tent is a great piece of equipment to set up for shade and weather protection for your pet, even if he’s sleeping with you at night. Pop-ups like those used often by show cats are spacious, and easy to open and close. If you prefer a traditional tent that your pet can actually sleep in, there are ones that are easy to construct and set in place for the duration of your trip.
ACTION TOYSMake sure you pack durable toys for interactive fun and games on land and also in water. There is no shortage for floatables in a variety of shapes to keep your pooch engaged. These made from Zogoflex are buoyant, pliable and a challenge for even the toughest chewers.
Next: Best Dog-Friendly National Parks
IDENTIFICATION ON THE GO
Identification is a lost pet’s ticket home. You can never have too much ID. All pets should be microchipped and wearing a tag on a collar. But if you are away from home, it's a really good idea to add an additional tag giving information about your holiday destination. Twigo tags are easy to make up at home or even at the campsite as they require no engraving and are instantly personalizable with a ballpoint pen. The ink is “set” by submerging the tag in boiling water for three minutes.