Dogs are great to have along on a camping trip. Like their human pals, they can get hurt around the camp or hiking a trail. Problem is, your dog can’t tell you what hurts. Here are 5 common problems and how to treat them.
Paw Injuries. Like human feet, dog paws need conditioning to go on longer, higher and/or rougher terrain. If the paws haven’t been toughened up, you may try a quad of nylon booties to protect against cactus, thorns and sharp rocks. Dog paws perspire, so remember to remove the booties every few hours to let the dog’s pads air out. Treat wounds like you would on your own feet (clean and bandage).
Dehydration. An average pooch needs 1 once of water every day per pound of weight. For example, a 45-pound dog needs about 1.5 quarters per day, and more in warm weather. You can check for dehydration by pinching the skin on your dog’s upper back. If it does not quickly rebound after you let go, your dog needs water.
Heat Stroke. Dogs vent heat primarily through their nose and tongue to cool themselves. They have fewer sweat glands than humans, so they can’t cool themselves as easily. Symptoms of heat stroke in your dog include a dry mouth and nose, as well as being sluggish, confused and panting excessively. If your best friend has these symptoms, find shade and pour cool water on its belly and legs.
Hypothermia. Dogs can lose body heat fast, especially smaller dogs. Hypothermic symptoms include dilated pupils and shivering. If your dog is huddling with you it’s time to bring him into your sleeping bag and warm him/her up.
Ticks. Ticks are generally out in spring and summer. They are found under dense overgrowth and/or near water. You’ll generally find one when petting or brushing your dog. Applying an over-the-counter tick protection will help, but not all the time. Check your dog for ticks at the end of each camping day. If you find one, remove it by grasping it close to the skin with tweezers and pulling gently until it comes out. Then apply a disinfectant or antibiotic ointment to the wound.
And on that happy note, have a great time camping with your dog. You’ll both love it!