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Outdoor activities tips for pets

With summer just around the corner, June is the perfect time of year to begin preparing for outdoor activities with your pets!

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Here are a couple of activities and tips to keep your pets safe:


It's a good idea to have your dog's vaccines up to date, a vaccine certificate, and current contact information on their ID tag in the case of emergency.

Bring an extra leash or long line and a stake, so that if the campground requires dogs to be on leash you don't have to hold it the whole time.

Build a pet first aid kit! This is something that can be easily forgotten on camping trips, but is greatly appreciated if your dog becomes injured and you don't have a veterinarian close by. It should include items like tweezers, small scissors, bandaging materials, and alcohol wipes.

Portable food and water dishes are a great assets to any camping trip. Being able to bring them with you during hikes or if you are moving camp sites will make it easier for your dog to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Don't forget to bring extra drinking water for your dog, as well as your human companions!

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Bring something cozy for your dog to sleep on, like a blanket or a crate that they are used to sleeping on at home.

Giving them something that smells like home will make sleeping easier for both you and your dog!

Don't forget to practice good campsite etiquette. Whether you are at a provincial park or in the middle of nowhere, it is important to make sure your dog understands the rules and boundaries of their campsite.

Practice their recall, stay, and sit commands before going camping.

Don't forget to check that your dog has had their monthly dose of flea and tick medication before heading out camping. Be sure to bring a tick removal tool along with you, such as tweezers or a Tick Twister, just in case.

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When taking your dog hiking, remember to always keep them on leash on public trails. Not every dog is friendly towards other dogs, and some people are scared of dogs off leash.

If you are letting your dog off leash, make sure they are within range of sight at all times and that they will always come back to you when call!

Bring a bear bell on hikes, or make lots of noise when going to wooded areas.

Bears are foraging at this time of year, and cubs are curious so keep you and your dog safe by making plenty of noise to keep them at bay.

Always clean up after your dog's out on the trail – bring your poop bags!

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Whether it's their first time swimming, or just the first time this year, it's important to make sure every swimming experience is positive.

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Take it slow teaching your dog to swim. Encourage them to follow you into the water and praise them when they get in.

Don't expect your dog to start swimming on day one. Get them used to getting their feet wet, then going up to their belly and then let them try swimming when they are comfortable.

Certain breeds have a much harder time swimming. For example, Bulldog breeds can have difficulty staying afloat because of their big chest and small legs, while squishy-faced dogs like Pugs and Frenchies sometimes have difficulty breathing, thus making them tire more easily.

Get your dog a life jacket while learning to swim, or if they are not a strong swimmer. We recommend keeping a life jacket on your dog at all times when boating or paddle boarding .

After taking your dog swimming watch for any signs of illness (ex. vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy). There can be negative effects for your dog if they ingest too much water, or by drinking contaminated water. If you dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.

If you dog is swimming in water with a lot of sediment, it's a good idea to rinse your dog's coat after they get out of the water. Some sediment may leave them itchy.

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Let's have fun and keep our pets safe and happy this summer!

Pets First with Fairfield Animal Hospital offers monthly tips and information for pet owners in the Okanagan, so that we can all stay safe and have fun with our furry friends in this beautiful valley! Fairfield Animal Hospital offers high-quality, compassionate care for your feline and canine companions.

For more information, please visit our website and Facebook page.

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