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On the road    At The Campsite   Fleas & Ticks

Camping with your dog can be a joyous experience for both owner and dog.
Dogs are thrilled with the new sights and sounds of a campsite.

 Here are a few tips that may make camping with a dog safer and more enjoyable.

Check with your destination to be sure whether dogs are permitted.
 Pets are prohibited at many state and national parks. 

Many private campgrounds allow dog but it is of utmost importance that you respect the other campers around you.

On the road 

Once you are on the road, be aware that pets need regular breaks and can get carsick just like humans.
Fresh air is vital so leave the window down six inches or install a pet vent - a secure, adjustable grill that fits between the window frame and the glass. Pet vents are best suited for dogs. Never leave your pet in the vehicle as they dehydrate more quickly than people.

Dogs generally travel well in the rear section of a station wagon or 4WD as long as they can see. Safety harnesses, available from pet shops, are advisable but not legally required.
 Cats, however, need to be transported in a well-ventilated cat-carrier that's shielded from direct sun. The car's air conditioning must be used to keep a stable, comfortable temperature.
Feed your cat dry food before your trip to settle it's stomach 

and provide dry food and water at rest stops.

Stop somewhere with space to let your dog have a run or to walk your cat on a lead. If you travel regularly your pet will learn these breaks are their chance for a toilet break - but be responsible with any droppings by collecting them with a shovel, poop-scoop or a plastic bag. This applies to caravan parks and camping grounds as well.

Like children, pets enjoy having familiar items with them even when on holiday. Toys, food - even your pet's litter box - add comfort and security. This is particularly important for cats. Maintain the same behavioral patterns you keep at home. Keep feeding times regular and sleeping arrangements the same. If your dog requires a muzzle, bring it with you.

 At The Campsite

For first timers try a mid-week camp or off season camp to get your dog used to camping without the hordes of other campers around.

Consider a pre-traveling vet visit

Get current on ALL shots and vaccinations and obtain a Rabies tag for your dogs collar.
Many parks and campgrounds won't let you past the entrance station without it.

Consider a possible Lyme disease vaccine.

Obtain a current copy of their records and vet's phone number.

Get a proper dog license & ID tags for your dog-
thier name, your name and address and phone number.
If you have a cell phone that you're bringing while you're on vacation get your dog a tag with that number on it, not your home number, so in case your dog wanders off someone can get ahold of you. 

Temporary tags may be a good idea -
name and phone number of where you are staying.

Microchips, tattoos and pet registries are also available.
It is always best to have both the tag form of identification with phone numbers AND a permanent identification that is part of the dog.  The former allows anyone who can get hold of the dog and can read the ability to quickly notify you of where your dog is.  (This is why I include my cell phone, since the dog is most likely to become separated from me when we are away from home.)  The latter allows your dog to be identified in the case that he slips free of, or otherwise loses his collar.

Bring medications and copy of prescriptions. 

Remember to create "down time" for your dog. Your dog needs some quiet time to relax just like you and the kids do.

If you're walking your dog on a running or cycling path, curb (sit/stay or close heel) your pet as folks go trotting or wheeling on by.
It is important that both your pet and the public know that your dog will remain calm and controlled.

More importantly, you must be (1) physically able to restrain your dog (or dogs) in the presence of distractions, such as a running deer or squirrel, and (2) responsible enough to prevent the dog from being a nuisance to other people or animals.

Be certain before setting out -
Make sure that the leash, snap, collar and buckle are in good condition and will not break if the dog suddenly lunges after the rabbit that's been teasing him unmercifully from just ahead on the path.

Some people like to use retractable-type leashes to give their dogs more freedom. While these are fine where allowed, I've found that they more easily tangle around bushes or other people.

Dogs are required to be on-leash

 on most maintained public trails. 
In many places, the leash is required to be 6 feet or less in length. You should always respect these rules.
The reasons for this are numerous, I'll list a few examples here. Your dog might frighten others by running up to them. Even if she's friendly, people that are afraid of dogs might become agitated and get seriously injured indirectly through falling or backing into something in their fright. Your dog might chase other animals, scaring them, injuring them, or being killed or injured by them.

Carrying an additional collar and leash is a good idea in case of loss or breakage.

Probabaly the most important item I can stress is keeping your dog on the leash. It is for your dogs benefit as well as the environment's. Wild animals, (snakes, mountain lions, bears, coons, skunks, etc.) can hurt a curious or playful dog. There are also ticks, fleas, foxtails, burrs, etc. that can plague your dog. It is important that you protect him from them and vice-versa.
Also, you can be cited in many public areas for not having your dog on a leash

Other Dogs on the Trail

Not all dog owners are responsible with respect to their pets behavior on the trail. Some will even allow aggressive dogs off-leash. Encounters with these dogs can result in a fight between your animal and theirs, even if your dog is leashed, so be prepared to prevent this occurrence. Although I've personally not had a problem yet, a fellow hiker who has repeatedly run into this scenario offers the following advice: Always carry a can of Halt!, which is a mild pepper-spray, the exact same stuff many local letter-carriers have on their belts. It can be bought for around $6.00 in many cycling stores, and is legal and definitely works. He points out that while he hates to hurt the dogs (the owners are the ones that really need the correction), his and his dogs' safety comes first, plus, it's more humane to stop a fight before it starts. The stuff has no lasting effects and can be washed out of the dog's eyes or whatever with water. Halt! has a range of only some 15' or so, and if there's a wind blowing, you or your dog can get a "back-blast" from it if you're not careful.  He always makes every effort to resolve the issue in other ways but if he thinks an attack is coming (you learn to read their body-language after awhile), he uses it and just keeps going.

Clean up after your dog.

 A helpful suggestion is to stuff a paper towel tube with plastic grocery bags for easy cleanups. Make a mitt out of a bag, scoop the poop, and turn the bag inside out around your fist full of doggy dung. Tie the bag and toss it in a trash can.

Free poop bags for pets

It is imperative that you pick up after your dog. 
 No one wants to step in or near dog poop. 
 Don't believe that just because there is horse manure on the trail that it's OK to leave your dog's poop there.  Manure very quickly decomposes and is generally seen as a more acceptable "trail hazard". 

 Any kind of irresponsible behavior on the part of dog owners is just one more reason that non-dog people will use to get trails and campsite closed to our four footed companions.
Always try to have the minimum (negative) impact on trail and campsites, wildlife and other trail users so that we can all continue to enjoy hiking and camping with our canine companions.

Obedience train your dog.
You don't need to have a dog that is trained to fetch your slippers for you . . .
rather one that behaves well and listens to basic commands like sit and stay.

Never stake your dog out and leave it.
Walk your dog, give it FRESH water to drink couple times a day (particles of nature tend to get in their bowl) .
Bring their regular food bowls, food and treats.
To avoid problems, keep them on their regular schedule.  
Provide a cool comfortable environment for it while you're away swimming, hiking or what have you.

Try to get a site with some shade for your dog. 

 Bring their chew toys and dog brush.

Always bring their collar and leash.
Extras may be a good ideas. 

For unexpected situations, pack first aid items for your dog and also a towel.

Pet First Aid Kit Checklist 
  • Your veterinarian's phone number 

  • Gauze to wrap wounds or muzzle animal 
  • Adhesive tape for bandages 
  • Nonstick bandages (i.e., Telfa pads) to protect wounds or control bleeding Towels and cloth 
  • Hydrogen peroxide (3 percent) 
  • Milk of Magnesia or activated charcoal to absorb poison (Be sure to get the advice of your veterinarian or local poison control center before inducing vomiting or treating an animal for poisoning.)
  • Large syringe without needle or eyedropper (to give oral treatments) 
  • Muzzle (soft cloth, rope, necktie or nylon stocking ) or use a towel to cover a small animal's head. Do not use in case of vomiting.
  • Stretcher (A door, board, blanket or floor mat) 

  • I (The Webmaster of The FUNdamentals of Camping) advise that you contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet is injured or ill. First aid and the recommended first aid kit are not a substitute for veterinary treatment. However, knowing basic first aid could help save your pet's life.

    Visit the site below for more first aid information and your pet(s)

Obtain the phone number of a vet in the area where you are staying. 

Make sure your dog is getting enough exercise.
 But consider the effect of activity and energy levels on your dog health. 

Be aware of how weather conditions effect your dog -
heat, cold, rain etc.

Dogs don't tolerate heat well. Their bodies get hot and stay hot. During the summer heat, avoid outdoor games or jogging with your pet
 (dogs can also get blisters on their feet from the hot pavement).
Be sure your dog has access to shade and plenty of cold clean water.

Signs that your dog is in danger include:

reddening of the tongue and gums
thickening of saliva

Move your pet to a cool room if you notice these symptoms. If your dog is staggering and noticeably distressed call your vet and give your pet a cool bath.

National Safety Council

Make sure you have complete control over your dog at all times.
Keep them on their leash
(I own and bring my Pit Bull camping. One camping trip the campers next to us failed to keep their dog on a leash when one day the dog wandered into our campsite. My dog was on his leash and on his own property. Needless to say my Pit Bull defended his territory.)

Do not allow your dog to bark.
 Frequent and continued barking disturbs other campers and the wildlife.

Closely supervise your dog around children, other visitors and other dogs. (see above)

Make use of designated dog walking areas.

Give your dog time to adjust to their new surroundings.
 Give them time to rest. 

Watch that your dog doesn't get tangled around tent poles or stakes, tables, trees, rocks etc. 

Remove any leftover food after your dog eats.
This food could attract unwanted insects or wildlife. 

Be courteous of others while walking your dog.
 Keep your dog calm and controlled.  

Many books and other Websites insist that you "meet & greet" neighbors to know your dog better and realize they are not dangerous

Some people don't want to meet your dog, not everyone is a "dog person". 
 (could be allergic to dogs) !
If you're following campground rules which typically state your dog must be leashed at all times, there will be no chance meeting -
and only TAME pets are allowed that don't pose a nuisance to others.
  Therefore a meet and greet is unnecessary

I don't bring my dog into anyone's campsite uninvited.  I merely walk by and say "Hello!" if anyone is around. 
Because of the size and markings of my dog 

Click Here for enlatged photo
people often strike up a conversation with me about him. 
 If they do not we just keep on walking.
 My goal is that they merely be seen in a "non-threatening" light.  

On another note -
Why do you go camping?
Is one of your reasons to be left alone to enjoy the peace and solitude of camping which the great outdoors brings?
I know I don't want people comming up to my campsite when I'm tring to relax from the city and the people who bother me knocking on my front door, etc . . .

- just my opinion

Consider your dogs sleeping arrangements.

Be aware that your dog may have increased exposure to ticks and fleas.
Have the proper tick/flea collars, repellents or use Frontline applications.
Other diseases can also be obtained from wild animals and insects. 

Advantage is excellent for fleas but does not get ticks. Frontline does a good job on both. These are both once a month applications. Some of the other products like Revolution and Sentinel are taken internally instead of applied to the skin.
Also make sure that you keep up his heartworm prevention program. Many people now give heartworm preventative year-round.


Ticks pose a real threat to your pets in the bush. The paralysis (or scrub tick) can easily kill your dog. To check for ticks run your fingers over your animal's head, ears, back, neck and legs feeling for small lumps. Extract ticks with tweezers by grabbing the tick as close to its head as possible, and pull gently, ensuring you do not leave the head.
Ask your vet for pre-trip advice. 

 Snakes A dog can't tell you when it's been bitten so if it starts behaving unusually (nausea, shock, weakness, respiratory distress) check for puncture marks. Around 75 per cent of snakebites occur around the face and neck. Once you have a confirmed snake bite, restrict all activity, keep the dog warm and seek urgent veterinary assistance.

If your dog should happen to get loose and runs off,
leave your jacket or shirt the last place you saw the dog. 
Usually it will return there and lie down on your clothing. 

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