Summertime is for Camping. Protect your Pet!

Summer is almost here, and for many people, that means travelling to their favorite camping site for some leisurely fun in the sun. Fresh air, recreational activities, camp food, campfire, and some well-deserved relaxation are all part of camping. Unfortunately, there’s a host of problems caused by animals and insects, weather, fire, and nutrition that can affect your pet’s health.

Some camping experiences, like a soggy campground, are just part of camping. Emergencies and accidents should not be considered routine camping.

First Aid

First Aid kits are readily available at your local pet supply store, online pet supply vendors, or you can make your own. Be sure to check the kit contents regularly to make sure that nothing is out of stock or out of date. Know how to properly use each component in the First Aid kit, especially products like activated charcoal and syrup of ipecac. Used incorrectly, they can be dangerous. For a list of general things in a first aid kit, please check here.

Some local organizations of the American Red Cross and some veterinary offices also offer pet First Aid classes. A First Aid class is a wise investment; it could actually save your pet’s (or family member’s) life.

Camp Nutrition

Camping is often a good excuse to indulge a little – s’mores by the fire and all sorts of snacks and treats that you would not normally eat at home. This is OK for humans, but not for pets. Even in the best of circumstances – at home on a steady, well-tolerated diet – pets have sensitive digestive systems. Camping, with all of the activity, good food, and lack of routine can be very dangerous to pets. Ingestion of fatty foods can lead to pancreatitis, and picnic foods; such as corn-on-the-cob may be eaten cob and all, and then become lodged in the intestines. These foods can quickly turn into an emergency situation. And a First Aid kit won’t help in these cases either. Prevention of “dietary indiscretion” is a must while camping.

Exercise and Fitness

Just like humans, pets can become out-of-shape and overweight. A common misconception about dogs is that they are always in shape and are natural athletes and swimmers. This is not always the case. Sore muscles, stiff joints, difficulty swimming, and heat exhaustion happen to pets, too. Also, be aware of your pet’s activity levels and do not push your pet to swim, mountain bike, hike, etc., if they are not in excellent shape and used to the activity. Consider a pet life jacket if water activities are on your agenda. Dogs can tire easily while swimming if they are not used to it (much like their human companions).

Other Cautions

Loud Noise Phobias – Is your pet afraid of fireworks, thunder, or gunshot? Most campgrounds require that pets be leashed anyway, but take special care to make sure your pet is safely leashed or crated if any of these loud noises are expected. A frightened animal can become a lost and injured animal very quickly!

Insect Bites and Encounters with Other Animals – Know the potential dangers of the area you will be camping in. Bears, ticks, cougars, bees, spiders, skunks and porcupines may be threats to you, your family, and your pets.

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