Pre-travel health advice for camping with dogs

Your dog is part of the family, and the great appeal of going camping is being able to take your dog with you. As part of your pre-camping trip preparation, it is a really good idea to think about everything you will need to ensure that you, your dog and everyone around you has a wonderful camping trip.

The Camping and Caravanning Club have a wide range of beautiful, dog-friendly camping sites to choose from, and to help your four-legged friend enjoy a safe, healthy and happy holiday with us, we have put together a handy pre-camping trip guide.

Before you go

  • Make sure that your dog is appropriately socialised and able to obey simple commands
  • Ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date
  • Administer preventative flea and tick treatment
  • Obtain a copy of your dog’s veterinary records and note down your vet’s phone number to take with you in case of an emergency
  • Ensure your dog is fitted with a suitable collar and ID tag highlighting their name, your name, address and phone number (mobile is best)
  • Make sure that the lead, snap and collar are in good condition and won’t break if your dog suddenly lunges
  • If you haven’t already done so, it is a really good idea to consider microchipping your dog so you can be reunited quickly should you become separated
  • Consider taking your dog to the vet for a pre-travel check-up to ensure that he is fit for travel
  • Pack a first aid kit for your dog containing: vet’s phone number, gauze to wrap wounds or to use as a muzzle, bandages to protect wounds or control bleeding, sticking tape, scissors, tweezers, large syringe for oral treatments, vaseline, blanket, towel, gloves, cotton wool and antiseptic
  • Obtain the number of a local vet where you will be staying in case of emergencies

On the journey

Dogs require regular breaks and can get car sick. Plan stops into your journey so that your dog can have a run in the open air

  • Fresh air is vital, so leave a window down six inches or install a pet vent
  • Never leave your dog in a vehicle alone as he can dehydrate very quickly

Seasonal Canine Illness

Animal Health Trust continues to investigate a mystery dog illness known as Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI). The Trust is focusing its latest investigation on five sites - the Sandringham Estate, Clumber Park and Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire and Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk.

Information sheets on SCI are available from both Sandringham Club Site on the illness and contain advice on some of the symptoms.

The AHT is asking all dog owners who have walked their dogs at any of these sites since 1 August 2011 to complete and return the questionnaire.

For more information visit the Animal Health Trust website.

The symptoms to look out for are vomiting, diarrhoea or lethargy usually within 24 to 72 hours of dogs having walked in woodland during the autumn.

What to do next
The Animal Health Trust advises any dog owners who see these symptoms in their pet to seek veterinary advice immediately.

Local Veterinary
Every Camping and Caravanning Club Site has details of the nearest veterinary. The information will be given on arrival to all campers within the site information leaflet and it will be displayed with the information area on-site, or alternatively ask your Holiday Site Manager who will be more than happy to help you.

Information video
The Animal Health Trust has produced an informative video about Seasonal Canine Illness

Final thoughts...

It is worth remembering that dogs can become stressed very quickly when they are faced with unfamiliar surroundings, so be gentle with your dog and really get to know his language. The more you understand your dog’s temperament, the more you will be able to cater appropriately for his needs and ensure that he remains happy and comfortable throughout your trip.

Familiarising your dog with similar scenarios that you will be experiencing on your camping trip is a great idea; perhaps go on several day trips to help him become used to different environments. Taking some camping equipment with you will also help him to become used to different items you will be using, and therefore feel more comfortable during your actual camping trip.

While on holiday, introduce your dog to more activities as the camping trip progresses, keeping him quiet and peaceful during the first couple of days until he becomes used to his surroundings.

It is generally the case that more physical demands will be placed on your dog during a camping holiday, as the trip usually involves increased activity – cycling, walking or hiking. Ensure that your dog is in first-class health before you go away by organising a health check at your local veterinary practice.

Finally, be vigilant regarding weather conditions and how they can affect your four-legged friend. Dogs do not tolerate the heat very well, so during the heat of summer, avoid outdoor games or jogging with your dog, and ensure that he has access to shade and plenty of cold, clean water.

Taking your dog on holiday should be a pleasurable experience for both you and your four-legged friend, and by taking the appropriate steps and precautions before you go, you should all enjoy a fantastic camping holiday, full of happy memories for years to come.