Bush camping can be super fun for you and your dog but nobody wants to bring home nasty ticks!
We love getting away from it all into the bush (no phone reception!) with our dogs, but we've learnt the hard way - it's better to be prevention is better than the cure when it comes to keeping you and your dogs safe from ticks.
Three main types of tick affect dogs: the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), the bush tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) and the paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus). The first two can prove carriers for a range of infectious agents, but rarely cause fatalities.
Not so with the deadly paralysis tick. Around 20,000 dogs are affected each year in Australia by the poison of the adult female. The good news is the success rate for treating dogs for tick poisoning is now a respectable 95 per cent. Treatment however, can be costly so prevention is always better than cure.
Last year we went camping in Big River State Forest (Dogs are allowed in State forest camps as long as they are under control at all times) and came home with what we thought was an allergy...... it was not!
Don't worry he's fine we were lucky they were only tiny seed ticks! This year we didn't take any chances, both our dogs were dosed with Nexgard days before leaving. We used to be a bit judgy about chemically treating our dogs but after the first scare we just weren't taking any chances in an area we know there are ticks.
At the end of this article we have tips on supporting your dogs health while chemically treating them.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND TICKS?
You should be checking your dog morning and night while camping for ticks. Look in ears, under arms - all over really. You can feel and see larger ticks but smaller ones as above are often found by locating what looks like itchy bites with craters. If you find a tick, first establish which type of tick you have
In our case they were so tiny we couldn't even get them with tweezers so went straight to the vet and dosed with a tick treatment which killed them.
Consider saving the tick in a jar of alcohol for later identification in case the dog shows signs of illness. Dispose of ticks without skin contact. (We burnt ours)
Bring your dog a few camp luxuries to help keep them comfortable and clean. Beds are also a great way to let your dog know this is their camp and to stay close. Be sure to avoid long grass areas as these harbour ticks and mites. (ticks don't jump but transfer from the grass as your dog brushes by.
Our dogs have very short coats and always get annoying mozzie bites, we use MOOV insect repellent (sprayed away from faces and rubbed in) several times a day, especially after swims. To help deter bites. NEVER USE CHEMICAL HUMAN SPRAYS LIKE THOSE CONTAINING DEET. These contain neurotoxins which can kill your dog if ingested by licking. If you are using these sprays be sure your dog never licks you either.
Help dogo feel at home in camp with a few familiar toys. You don't want them wandering off to find adventure. Always have your dog under control and visible supervision. Be sure they are wearing dog id tags and are microchipped. If your dog is prone to chase critters and hasn't mastered good recall you will need to bring a long lead or rope to make sure they don't break camp.
Our dogs wear dog bandana's while camping for two reasons. #1 we can tell them apart! From a distance our boy's look the same so dog bandana's are a great way for us to know distinguish which one we are telling to stop doing something!
#2 In the Aussie bush temperatures can sore during the day, so as well as always having fresh bowls or water, shade and in most cases a river nearby we like wet their dog bandana's to help keep their necks cool.
Bush camping is the perfect way to test the durability of our Pethaus bandana's, giving them an extra rough thrashing and getting them as dirty as possible!
Our new 2019 flannel "Lumberjack" & "Woodsman" bandana's stood up to some hard knocks from the boys.
Quick wash in the river each day and a dry on the tent they were good as new.
It's important to give your dog foods that will support their gut and immune system when dosing with chemical treatments which can upset their stomachs.
Try smoothies with Kefir, kale and spirulina. Adding fermented veggies to a main meal and even using a probiotic supplement can help. Ensure meals are extra nutritious over a few days before and after treatment. Adding a multivitamin such as Natural Animal Solutions Digestavite Plus, and making sure they get lots of raw meaty bones to help keep stools firm.
Hunde is an animal nutrition blog written by Clare Kearney and full of loads of great tips for keeping your best friend in top condition.
Check out more dog camping tips in our previous blog post "DOG FRIENDLY ESCAPES PT3 - CAMPING WITH YOUR DOG"