Top tips for camping with pet pooches this Easter long weekend


Camping with dogs requires much preparation.
Camping with dogs requires much preparation.

THE Easter long weekend is a favourite time for family camping trips, which often includes canine family members too.

PETstock veterinarian Dr Rod Sharpin said it was essential people were prepared for all stages of the trip when taking their pet pooch on a camping adventure.

Dr Sharpin’s top tips for travelling with pets.

THE PREPARATION

1) Start small. Try out some mini trips so your pet gets used to travelling in the car before embarking on a longer journey.

2) Ensure your pet has microchip identification or, at the very least, has a collar and ID tag on it with your current mobile number. A travel tag with contact details including where you’re staying is a good idea.

3) Ensure your pet is healthy before embarking on a long trip and all vaccinations are up-to-date. Ticks are common in Australia and are found in dense bush and long grass. A tick bite can make your pet perilously ill, so it’s important that you arrange flea and tick protection at your local vet clinic before you leave, as well as maintain vigilance when you travel. Just in case, have the contact details for a vet at your destination and, if it’s a long trip, vet clinics along the way.

4) Ensure your accommodation is pet-friendly and call ahead to see if they have any additional requirements e.g. a pet bond, most recent vaccination records etc.

THE JOURNEY

1) Make sure your pet is secure in the car. An unrestrained pet can cause major distractions to a driver and during a collision can become a projectile, causing harm to themselves and other passengers. Use a suitable restraint such as harness and anchor, travel crate or cargo barrier.

2) Bring plenty of food and water when travelling. It’s best to always carry a bottle of fresh water and a travel bowl in case you can’t find a tap.

3) Ensure there is comfortable bedding or a travel crate for your pet to sleep in (don’t forget favourite toys and comfort items).

4) Stop every three hours for toilet and exercise breaks but be sure to keep your dog on a lead in an unfamiliar environment.

5) Remember to bring grooming equipment and poop bags, as well as any medication your pet may need.

6) Most importantly: Never leave your pet alone in a locked car. Pets can die very quickly from heatstroke, even in milder weather.

THE DESTINATION

1) Pets, like humans, can become injured and ill while exploring the great outdoors, and may need immediate assistance. If you see bleeding, apply pressure with your hands or a bandage; if your dog gets burnt, cool the area with running water and apply a cool pack; if they are having difficulty breathing, check that there are no foreign objects in your dog’s mouth.

2) Ensure that you pack a first-aid kit for the trip, prioritising the following: a travel water bottle to prevent dehydration on long walks, and a towel, which can be very useful for lots of situations, including as a bandage, sling or even stretcher to carry an ill pet.

3) Also include bandages and dressings to cover wounds, iodine-based antiseptic cream, gloves, scissors, and tweezers to remove splinters, grass seeds or ticks. Saline should be packed in case you need to wash your pet’s eyes, shampoo for a general wash and pet sunscreen to protect hairless areas like around the nose and on the belly.

4) There’s nothing like cuddling up with your pal in front of a roaring fire, but you do need to make sure your dog is far enough from the flames that it doesn’t get burnt by a random spark. Positioning your buddy (and yourself) upwind from the smoke is also a good idea.

5) Be sure to keep your dog away from the extinguished fire pit and train them to stay away, as it can retain heat as well as leftover debris like food and foil wrap, which are unsafe.

6) Hazards like fish hooks, kebab sticks and firelighters are also popular pooch chew-toys that are dangerous, so make sure these items are stored or disposed of carefully.

7) Ensuring that your dog avoids drinking stagnant water is important, as is keeping them away from toxic plants.

8) Visit www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poisons if you need to find out more information about a plant that’s commonly found where you plan to camp.

9) Nights out in the outdoors can become chilly for humans and pets alike. Make sure your furry friend stays rugged up and warm with a jacket, travel bed, warm cushions and blankets.