We are planning to do some camping this winter with our dog. What should we consider before taking the dog camping with us?
Craving a Campfire in The Heights
Dear Craving a Campfire,
While camping with your furry friends can be fun, it’s not without some risk and better enjoyed if you’ve prepared well. Our friends at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine have some advice on making the most out of camping with your canine.
Make sure campground allows pets
First of all, make sure that you choose a campground that will work for you and your dog.
“Many campgrounds allow pets, with certain rules and regulations,” said Dr. Mark Stickney, clinical associate professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.
Often, the rules regarding pets can be seen posted on their website or answered over the phone.
“Most rules will include things such as having your pet on a leash, making sure they are supervised at all times and requiring proof of vaccinations,” Stickney said. “Even if they don’t require health records or vaccination certificates, it’s a good idea to bring them along just in case.”
Pack essentials for your pup
Just as you need to pack food and other essentials for yourself, don’t forget to pack necessities for your pets as well. Some items you’ll need to bring are plenty of food, a pet first-aid kit, a harness and a leash. Even if the campsite has natural water resources, such as streams or lakes, you must still bring plenty of water for your pet to drink throughout your stay.
“Your pets will want to drink out of any pond and lake in sight, but there are many different diseases they can catch by doing that,” Stickney said. “So you don’t want that to be their primary source of water.”
Keep your pet close to camp and on leash
Coming into contact with wild animals is a definite risk when you are out in a national forest or grassland. Although most of the wildlife you run into want to keep away from you as well, you should have a way of containing your pet just in case.
“If your pet does get into a tussle with a wild animal, you do not want to get into the middle of it,” Stickney said. “There is a very good chance you will be bitten or harmed.”
Your best method of action is calling off your pet or to try scaring away the wild animal.
In order to prevent such situations in the first place, it is a good idea to keep your pets close to you throughout your camping expedition and to have a leash or harness available at all times.
Before setting off on your camping adventure, make sure your pets are up-to-date on all of their vaccinations, especially rabies. Depending on the campsite’s location, you may consult with your veterinarian about any other vaccinations that your pet may need as well as discuss appropriate flea and tick control.
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