Camping with your Canine Companion

Thursday, 26 July 2012 16:49 by Dr. Sarah

Are you looking for an affordable alternative for summer vacation? Do you yearn to explore the Great Outdoors? Are you tired of leaving your dog behind when you leave town? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then this episode of Pet Talk was made just for you! In this special summertime message, our intrepid, happy-go-lucky staff veterinarian Dr. Sarah applies her ready-for-anything attitude to a great American pastime with a twist … canine camping. Aided by Alma, her fun-loving, Goldendoodle co-star, our pet expert is on location in the Colorado woodlands, sharing her insights and practical tips to help prepare you for your next nature-land adventure.

As an added bonus to our readers, we’re including a full explanation of what you’ll need to pack to mount your next expedition into the wilds. And be sure to download the handy checklist version to take the last-minute guesswork out of what you’ll need to pack.

From here on out, camping won’t be complete without your canine companion. So, shake the moths out of your tent, dust off your backpack and buy a pack of strike-anywhere matches. Don’t forget to share your camping stories with other Life’s Abundance customers in the comments section below!

Packing List for Camping with your Canine Companion

Identification tags: If your pup is out of the house, she should wear her ID tags (license, vaccination & home address) labeled with your name, city, state and phone number. For your camping trip, consider purchasing an inexpensive, temporary tag for her to wear along with the standard tags. Some stores have engraving kiosks - simply enter the relevant info (such as your dog’s name, the name of the park where you’ll be camping and your assigned campsite number). If your park of choice doesn’t assign numbers ahead of time, or if you’re camping on a wilderness trail, include the phone number of the nearest ranger station. If there’s space enough, include pertinent information about medical conditions (such as ‘Diabetic’) or behavioral issues (like, ‘Cat Aggressive’).

Leash: In addition to your standard leash and collar (make sure they’re in good condition while you’re at it), consider bringing back-ups. It’s a good idea to have one short lead, especially if your destination is heavily wooded - you don’t want Max’s retractable lead wound around a couple of trees when he’s in an excited state.

Tether or Crate: You need to have a way to safely restrain your dog while you are setting up camp, cooking, etc. - just ask anyone who’s ever tried to pitch a tent while holding a leash - not pretty. If your dog routinely sleeps in a crate, and you’re driving to your campsite, bring it along. Obviously, it’s not something you want to carry on your back if you’re hiking to your site. However, a crate is a safe place she can return to while you’re busy prepping or cleaning up your camp site.

Bedding: Bring an all-weather tarp to place under the bedding to shield you and your pup from the ground, especially for camping in cold weather. Laying on the ground risks exposure, as body heat is quickly absorbed into the earth, and we don’t want you or your dog experiencing hypothermia.

Cold Protection: To further protect your pup, especially if she has a short or thin coat, pack a doggie sweater for her to wear. Again, there’s no reason to risk hypothermia.

Booties: Depending on the terrain, presence of ice on the ground, prevalence of fire ants or if your dog has weak footpads (i.e., predisposed to tearing, not uncommon in older dogs), booties are a good solution for paw protection. Don’t forget to do some trial runs with the booties before you leave … wearing shoes for the first time takes some getting used to.

Food and Water: Don’t wing it when it comes to having enough food and water. Do not simply trust the safety of streams, rivers and lakes as a source of hydration, for you or your dog. It’s rare these days to locate natural water that isn’t tainted by giardia, toxic chemicals or other harmful bacteria. If you insist on using water from a natural source, bring giardia tablets (follow the label instructions) and a tiny bottle of bleach (you only need a couple of drops per gallon) to purify the water. When it comes to food, pack two extra days of dog food beyond your planned stay. Preserve the food in a sturdy water-proof container. If your campsite features a “bear box” (a storage container high off the ground, often on a pole), please use it - it’s there for a reason. If you don’t have travel bowls, pack your pup’s regular ones – even these can evoke a measure of comfort in an unfamiliar environment.

Toys: Even though the Great Outdoors may captivate your attention, boredom’s a distinct possibility after your dog has marked his or her territory and sniffed around the camp site a couple of times. If your dog is fearful under the stars, a favorite toy from home might provide a measure of comfort.

First Aid Kit Items: Chances are, you already plan to take some first-aid items … by adding a couple of more products, you’ll be well prepared to handle many canine emergencies, too.
Take the following items and keep them safely stored in clear storage bags … that way, you won’t waste precious time in an emergency situation digging through your backpack.

Bandages: Vetwrap (self-stick gauze), butterfly bandages (used to close open wounds), waterproof surgical tape, duct tape, 4” X 4” gauze pads and non-stick sterile pads
Styptic Powder, to stop bleeding (Kwik Stop is a good brand)
Small Scissors
Tweezers
Hemostats or needle-nose pliers
Small razor (to shave hair from injured area)
Irrigation syringe (to flush eyes and wounds)
Ear and eye ointment (ask your vet or vet tech for which brands for common conditions)
Triple antibiotic ointment with lidocaine (that last part will help with stinging, painful wounds - check with your vet)
Medication for insect stings in both a topical spray and oral capsules (again, talk with your vet about brand choice and dosages)
Hydrogen peroxide (to disinfect the wound)
Towel
Muzzle (if your dog is in pain, you need to take steps to prevent him from biting you or others while addressing the emergency)

If you are planning a camping trip in a remote location, it would be wise to consider enrolling in a back-country EMT course, which should be available through your local community college.

It sounds like a lot of work, but if you’re adequately prepared, you’re more likely to have a blast. Enjoy your trip!

(Please note: Always consult your veterinarian on your first aid kit regarding items, brand choices, dosages and guidance on their uses.)

Tags:   , , ,
Categories:   Dr Sarah | General | Newsletter Articles | Videos
Actions:   E-mail | Permalink | Comments (1)

Successful Aging - Maintaining Strength and Mobility

Thursday, 21 June 2012 16:35 by Dr. Sarah

Welcome to the next installment of our Successful Aging Series! In this episode of Pet Talk, we’ll discuss issues that effect many creatures as they age – maintaining strength and mobility. Watch as Dr. Sarah dispenses her valuable veterinary insights about nutrition, weight control, and the importance of strength training for the preservation of healthy bones and muscles. If your dog or cat exhibits gimpiness, or just isn’t as lively as in younger years, you’ll be especially interested in learning about what options are available to you to make a positive difference in their lives, now and long into the future. Our good doctor explains how pain may be at the root of some problems, while in other cases diet may be responsible for a hitch in the get-along. Additionally, we’ll reveal some simple exercises you can do with your companion animal to make them feel better and age with grace. Be sure to share this important health message with your friends and family!

(Consult your veterinarian before starting an exercise program with your companion animal.)

Categories:   Dr Sarah | Videos
Actions:   E-mail | Permalink | Comments (1)

Successful Aging - Cancer in Pets

Thursday, 24 May 2012 14:26 by Dr. Sarah

Welcome to the first installment of our Successful Aging Series! In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah addresses one of the most frightening and heartbreaking illnesses that afflict companion animals – cancer. According to the most recent data, nearly four million dogs will be diagnosed with cancer this year, which is why we’re dedicating an entire episode to “the C-word”. To aid you in your quest to help your fur kids age successfully, Dr. Sarah shares the latest news about our current understanding of how companion animals age and the obstacles they encounter later in life. Additionally, Dr. Sarah discusses prevalent pet cancers, what sorts of treatments are available now, and groundbreaking research into potential therapies and preventatives. Don’t miss this episode, as you’ll also discover news from the National Cancer Institute about its ambitious agenda to eradicate this silent killer. We encourage you to share this timely and vital message with your friends and family!

Categories:   Dr Sarah | General | Newsletter Articles | Videos
Actions:   E-mail | Permalink | Comments (5)

Competing Brands Pet Food Recall

Monday, 14 May 2012 12:10 by Dr. Sarah

You may have heard about the recent pet food recalls in the news and have some questions about salmonella poisoning. Although no Life's Abundance products are involved in this recall, we want to make sure you are aware of this current situation, as you may have friends who feed their companion animals one of the brands involved. In this video, Dr. Sarah discusses the details of this most recent recall and provides you with the information you need to know about the salmonella bacteria - including symptoms of salmonella poisoning and preventative measures to help avoid the further spread of infection. Watch this important video message and pass it on to your fellow pet parents.

Categories:   Dr Sarah | General | Videos
Actions:   E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0)

Treat Your Pet to Good Health

Wednesday, 25 April 2012 15:43 by Dr. Sarah

Even though we act like it’s true, pets aren’t just like people. Ingesting empty-calorie snacks every once in a while can have a much greater impact on pets than humans, and not in a good way. Even feeding a diet of premium food may not offset the potential damage of ingesting “junk foods”, which often contain unsavory ingredients including artificial flavors and colors. In this particular health equation, it isn’t just a matter of subtraction (or taking away the bad stuff). Thanks to Dr. Jane’s wholesome recipes, you can actually add nutrients to your companion animal’s daily intake. In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah reveals how simple it is to make a positive change. If you want to provide your fur kids with the best possible nutritional advantage, you owe it to yourself to watch the latest episode right now. And, please, share this vital message with your friends and family, too!

Tags:   , , , ,
Categories:   Dr Sarah | Newsletter Articles | Videos
Actions:   E-mail | Permalink | Comments (5)

Talking About Ticks

Thursday, 22 March 2012 14:36 by Dr. Sarah

If ticks were human-size, they’d be one of the scariest creatures on the planet. Even though ticks are tiny, they’re still an awful nuisance, especially if you don’t know how to minimize contact and the damage they can inflict if contact occurs. Over the course of the last couple of decades, large swaths of the U.S. have been churning out bumper crops of ticks, even in urban areas, and tick season is right around the corner. Thank goodness we have Dr. Sarah on-hand to clear up misconceptions about these little blood-suckers and to share helpful tips for dealing with these creepy-crawlies. If you and your companion animals plan to spend any time outdoors over the next few months, be sure to watch the latest episode of Pet Talk right now. And, please, share this video with your friends and family!

Lymph Nodes

Friday, 24 February 2012 14:34 by Dr. Sarah

Did you know that your dog’s lymph nodes play an integral role in his or her immune system? Fortunately, examining them is easier than you might think. In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah’s joined by her lovable cohort, Alma, to show you exactly where canine lymph nodes are located so you can do a quick exam in your own home. Our good doctor reviews the normal sizes of these paired nodes, and how to know whether or not they’re inflamed. And, you’ll hear about common causes of inflammation, too. Most importantly, Dr. Sarah recommends that you make this check-up part of your monthly routine, to track possible changes in your dog’s health. This episode is jam-packed with information, so be sure to share it with your friends and family!

Categories:   Dr Sarah | General | Newsletter Articles | Videos
Actions:   E-mail | Permalink | Comments (2)

Canine Vestibular Disease

Friday, 20 January 2012 16:25 by Dr. Sarah

Have you ever noticed your dog leaning his head to one side, as if listening to something, for extended periods of time? Or worse, his eyes twitching or suddenly losing his balance? If so, he could be suffering from Canine Vestibular Disease, which is fairly common among older dogs. The symptoms have led some to refer to sufferers as “Head-Tilt Harry”. Fortunately, this condition is generally not grave, but when it occurs, it can be very frightening for pet parents. In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah talks about the possible causes of CVD and what you can do to minimize the symptoms.

Categories:   Dr Sarah | General | Newsletter Articles | Videos
Actions:   E-mail | Permalink | Comments (3)

Pet Massage

Friday, 16 December 2011 13:44 by Dr. Sarah

Does your dog exhibit symptoms of stress? Did you know that massage can help melt away woes? Best of all, pet massage is a snap. Just in time to take the stress out of the holidays, Dr. Sarah is ready to lend a helping hand – or two! In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah shares pointers for creating a soothing environment for your furry four-footers, as well as the basic techniques you’ll need to safely massage your companion animals. After watching this short episode, and a little bit of practice, you’ll be sending your pet kids off to a blissful state of relaxation.

Categories:   Dr Sarah | Newsletter Articles | Videos
Actions:   E-mail | Permalink | Comments (2)

Rules for the Dog Park

Wednesday, 9 November 2011 16:21 by Dr. Sarah

If you haven’t made time lately to take your canine companion to a local dog park, you’re both missing out on some serious fun! In this episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah’s on location at the Spring Canyon Dog Park in Fort Collins, CO. With the help of her Goldendoodle co-star, Alma, Dr. Sarah will share the code of proper dog-park conduct, for both canines and humans, to ensure maximum fun for everyone. Learning about companion animal etiquette has never been so much fun!

Tags:   ,
Categories:   Dr Sarah | Videos
Actions:   E-mail | Permalink | Comments (2)