Hello, summer! It’s time to dust off the lawn chairs and head out and explore the great outdoors! Many of us look forward to camping season every year, with so many wonderful places to explore on Vancouver Island, and what camping trip would be complete without your best friend along to enjoy it too!

Camping with your pet can enhance your experience and create great summer memories, but bringing a pet along takes some consideration and preparation. At this time of year, Veterinary Hospitals see an influx of camping related problems such as:

• Chemical and Herbal Toxicity
• Physical Injury such as lacerations, swimmers tail etc.
• Tick bites
• Oral injuries to the teeth or mouth
• Hot Spots

Chemical and Herbal Toxicity can occur when your dog ingests something they shouldn’t, and this can happen anytime and anywhere. The best way to avoid this from happening is to try to ensure that your dog is exploring a safe area clear from garbage, other animal waste/decay, and any plant life that may be harmful to your pet such as mushrooms or toxic plants. If you believe your pet has ingested a toxic substance and is showing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, trouble balancing, a sensitivity to light or noise and shaking, contact your veterinarian immediately.

For more information on what kind of vegetation to avoid click this link:
The Weather Network’s “10 common outdoor plants that can be toxic to your pets”

Physical Injury can be difficult to avoid, especially considering how many of our dogs love a good romp on the beach or at a campsite, and many of our pets love to roughhouse with other dogs during these outings. The best thing you can do is be prepared to address minor scrapes and issues if they do arise by carrying a Dog First Aid Kit with you. Included in your first aid kit, you should consider having the following:

Gauze in different sizes, latex gloves, vet-wrap or an equivalent stretch bandage, medical tape, an antibacterial skin cleanser, alcohol, Epsom salts, cotton tensor bandage, Benadryl. Pet first aid kits are available for sale at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital, or you could put together your own. Being prepared for a cut paw or minor injury while camping could save you a lot of stress and could save your pet’s life!

Tick Bites are a common nuisance for many of our dogs, and some areas of our beautiful Islands are more hindered by the presence of ticks than others. While camping, it recommended that you thoroughly check your pet every day to ensure that there are no ticks on the body, paying special attention to areas around the face, ears, and groin. Carrying a tick extraction tool with you is also a great idea, and will make the removal of the tick quick and easy, should you find one on your pet. As with other parasites, the best way to not worry about ticks affecting your dog is with preventative treatment such as Bravecto, Revolution or Advantix. Talk to your veterinarian about protecting your dog from Ticks and Fleas today.

Oral Injuries can be scary for both you and your pet. The mouth is a highly sensitive area that can be extremely painful if injured. Many of our pets find chewing sticks or rocks a highly enjoyable pastime while relaxing around the campsite, but being mindful of this is a good idea. Not all wood is created equal, some types of wood can cause terrible splinters that can affect the gums and even throat of your dog. Dogs can even fracture teeth or perforate the gums. Instead of allowing your pet to chew on sticks or rocks while enjoying the great outdoors, bring a favourite chew toy, or surprise your dog with an irresistible dental chew to keep him/her busy while you relax in the sun.

Hot Spots are a common occurrence in the summertime for pets. When camping, the combination of swimming and warm sun can be the perfect environment for a hot spot to start. Despite the common belief, a hotspot is not just an area of irritation that your dog won’t stop licking, it is a bacterial infection that escalates very quickly and can lead to some major problems and costs. Hot Spots HURT! The best way to avoid hotspots is to ensure that your pet is thoroughly dried after swimming or being in the water and that there is no wetness trapped at the surface of the skin. When these areas do not dry and become dirty, the warm, moist environment becomes the perfect condition for bacteria to grow. If you notice a hot spot forming, thoroughly cleanse the area with an antibacterial soap, and make sure that it is clean and dry and that your pet is not able to lick or scratch the area. Contact your veterinarian for further advice and treatment.

Being prepared for an emergency while out in the great outdoors is a necessary step to ensure the enjoyment and safety of everyone included, even your pets! Healthy Pets equal Happy Campers!

Written by Andy Lumanta, VA