While we are loving all of the beautiful signs of spring here at camp, it also means that "rash" season is upon us. As you know, we are out hiking and playing in nature all day with the dogs so unfortunately, it's impossible to avoid certain flowers and plants that can irritate the skin.
While we do have many open fields, we also spend a good amount of time in wooded areas where pesky plants that can irritate the skin lurk and what plants are causing allergic reactions in our furry campers is next to impossible to discern. We have our most common and well known rash causing plants such as Poison Ivy, Nettles and Spurges. We seldom see them (actually we have never come across Poison Ivy but we are always on the look out for this easily recognizable plant) and if we find any plants that give us pause, we remove it at once. However there are of course many rash causing plants mixed up in the lovely greenery at camp and it is impossible to eradicate all of them across our 56 Acres of natural environment.
Another reason that it is difficult to prevent rashes for our campers is that dogs (like humans) each have different allergies and are sensitive to different things. A plant that may bother one dog may have no reaction on another. Eva herself has two white pit bulls with the pink and sensitive skin that are more susceptible to a rash than any of her other dogs. These two very dogs can be playing side by side all day - and one may contract a skin irritation and the other may be fine. The next day, it could be the dog that was spared a rash the day before actually contracting a rash while the other pup is just fine.
We do our best to prevent rashes but more so are careful to keep an eye on the dogs and treat at the first sign of irritation. We look the dogs over daily and hose them off to remove normal pollen. We also have a special shampoo that we can use to bathe a camper if we see signs of irritation. With the owner's permission we may also administer Benadryl to keep symptoms at bay. However, it is most helpful if the owners let us know beforehand if their dog has any allergies or is sensitive to any elements of nature. Luckily, we rarely have to take a dog to the vet BUT if they are suffering or the rash is very bad we certainly would not hesitate to make an appointment and take a dog to be treated.
We love our environment here at camp and have learned to accept all parts of nature even those that might be a little irritating. Hiking and playing around in nature is a part of the camping experience and just like mosquito bites - rashes happen!