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Camping and Hiking with Your Dog Part II: Safety Tips

If you haven’t read Camping and Hiking With Your Dog Part I written by Chuck & Don’s, click here! They provide great tips for what you’ll need to pack for your dog and how to plan ahead in case of an emergency!

Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy all that nature has to offer! Sharing camping and hiking experiences with your dog can be even more enjoyable. Just as we would prepare ourselves for a week or weekend in the woods or at the lake, there are several considerations to take or discuss with your regular veterinarian before bringing your beloved dog(s) with you.

Preventative Medicine
Be sure your pet is up-to-date on vaccinations, and flea, tick and heartworm preventative. Bring a copy of your pet’s medical records if you are crossing state lines.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: never ever leave your dog in a parked car. A parked car can reach up to 102℉ on an 80℉ day after ten minutes. It can cook up to 120℉ after 30 minutes.  While outside, stay in the shade whenever possible, and avoid hiking during the hottest part of the day. Keep an especially close eye on your dog if they have a smooshed face (brachycephalic) and/or dark coat. Offer plenty of fresh water from a collapsible water bowl or doggie water bottle.

Food & Water
If your dog will be doing a lot of hiking or engaging in more exercise than normal, consider bringing along 15-20% more food for each meal. Discourage your dog from drinking from stagnant water sources to prevent illness from bacterial contaminants, such as Giardia, which can cause diarrhea and gastrointestinal (GI) upset. Offer fresh water often.

Creepy Crawlies
Be sure to check your dog’s skin, paws and fur for thorns, burrs, and ticks. Remove ticks using a thumb forceps by grasping near the skin.

Forest Hazards
Dogs can become injured chasing wildlife, stepping in holes, and getting punctured or lacerated from sticks or branches. Consider keeping your dog on a leash, using voice commands and/or purchasing a hunting vest for protection.

Lake Hazards
If heading out on a boat or dock, have your dog wear a life jacket with a handle, so that you can quickly and safely pull your pet out of the water. Avoid bodies of water containing blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) and don’t allow your pet to swim or drink in contaminated water. If you can’t drink out of it, neither can your pet! Always have fresh, clean water available for drinking. If your dog swims in scummy water, rinse him/her off immediately and don’t allow your pet to lick the algae off of fur. Call a veterinarian if your animal shows any symptoms of cyanobacteria poisoning.

Camp Safety 
Keep your dog away from camp hazards such as campfires, fish hooks, fireworks, etc. In cold weather, pack a foam pad, warm blanket or fleece dog jacket for sleeping.

We hope our camping and hiking with your dog packing guide and safety tips help keep your dog safe. Before you leave for your trip, make sure you know how to get to the closest animal hospital from your camping site just in case your dog does experience an emergency.

For more great tips, check out The Complete Safety Guide for Camping with Dogs by Redfin here. Wondering what to bring along for yourself, or maybe you’re new to camping and backpacking? Jen Reviews has a comprehensive guide, How to Pack for A BackPacking Trip, here!

Images Courtesy of R A Bassett Photography.


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