By Sébastien Lacroix, journalist
Interview with veterinarian Marie-Claude Lavallée
Before taking your best friend camping, make sure he or she is ready!
Because an animal that normally has behaviour issues won’t change overnight when he’s “on vacation”! “A dog that isn’t sociable at home won’t be any friendlier in a campground,” warns veterinarian Marie-Claude Lavallée, owner of the Hôpital Vétérinaire du Bas-Richelieu, who was involved in creating a dog run and an animal refuge in Sorel-Tracy.
Start preparing early
She believes that pets have to be prepared well ahead of time to get them used to being around strangers and other dogs, using different training techniques. “If they bark at home, they’ll definitely bark in the campground,” she emphasizes.
Plenty of exercise is also a good way to have a “good dog” that won’t disturb all the neighbours.
“We often say that a tired dog sleeps well,” notes Lavallée. “If you can wear him out during the day, you’re more likely to have a quiet night.”
If this doesn’t work, you’ll have to take more drastic steps. “If he’s not friendly, you’ll have to tell people so. You can put a muzzle on him and keep him on a leash to make sure he doesn’t go for other dogs or campers,” she says. “If you have to leave him on his own and he can be aggressive, you’re best to bring a cage and place it near the RV, rather than putting him on a leash.”
It’s also important to provide a good air conditioning system
if ever you leave your dog alone in a trailer or a motorhome. “There is a real risk of hyperthermia (sunstroke, heatstroke),” says the veterinarian. “It’s like leaving him in the car when it’s over 25 degrees (about 80 F) outside. Leaving a window open isn’t enough. If he’s left alone, you have to make sure that it’s cool inside and he has access to water.”