Camping and hiking is a great way for your dog to experience new sights and smells, get some exercise, and spend time with you. However, the outdoors may expose you to some unwelcome and dangerous pests, like ticks. If you’ve spent time in wooded or grassy areas while hiking or camping, you may have encountered ticks before — and been at risk for tick bites.
Although most ticks are harmless, some tick bites can transmit bacteria that cause illnesses like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever in both humans and their pets. With winter coming to an end, and camping season around the corner, we’ve outlined what you need to know about treating tick bites, along with other first aid tips for both you and your pet.
How to Safely Remove a Tick
If your pet is bitten by a tick, it’s important to know the proper steps to take in order to execute a safe removal. If you do not remove a tick properly, you could increase your pet’s risk of Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted fever.
Step 1: Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
Step 2: Gently pull the tick upward, using a slow and steady motion until it is out of your skin.
Step 3: Seal the tick in a bag or container to bring it to your healthcare provider for testing.
Step 4: After removing and disposing of the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands.
Tick Prevention for Dogs That Love the Outdoors
Most dogs love to spend time outdoors, so you should routinely check them for ticks. Also, ticks can migrate between hosts, so it’s possible for pets to bring ticks that can transfer to their owners or other pets. Be sure to follow these prevention practices to reduce the risk of a bite and/or tick-borne illness for your pet and yourself:
- Regularly bathe your pet with lukewarm water and/or tick shampoos that are formulated to kill live ticks upon contact.
- With a fine-toothed comb, brush areas where ticks will burrow on your pet like around the ears, between the legs, between the toes, under front legs, and around the tail.
- Reduce tick habitats in your yard by keeping grass trimmed and applying pet-safe pesticides.
- Keep pets up to date on veterinarian-approved flea and tick medications.
Must-Have First Aid Items for Camping with Pets
Before going camping or hiking, print out the first aid kit checklist above (for both humans and pets) to ensure you are prepared for any emergency.