Ready, set, camp! Summer is here and that means the perfect time to try camping with your dog. While this type of trip does require some preparation, it could be a memorable experience that far exceeds merely boarding your dog while you are gone for the weekend. Following these tips will help you feel like a pro when camping with a pooch.
Assess Your Dog’s Camping Readiness
Before heading off as a pair for an exciting weekend among the trees, it’s important to determine how ready a dog is to go camping. This begins with considering the animal’s basic personality. For dogs whose idea of a favorite activity is sacking out on the sofa, the appropriate level of readiness might indicate a campground that’s family friendly.
Pets who love to explore are often well suited to a camping trip that includes activities such as
following hiking trails and splashing in a lake or a creek. Addressing the dog’s basic personality
is fundamental to planning a camping experience that’s safe, low on stress, and just plain fun.
If a dog tends to become carsick, it’s a good idea to consult the pet’s vet about using a mild anti-
nausea medication en route. It could make the ride more pleasant for both pet and owner and you’ll reach camp in much better spirits!
Do Some Research
One nightmare scenario is arriving at the selected camping destination with tons of anticipation, only to spot a “No Dogs Allowed” sign on the front gate. Calling the site in advance or performing some basic online research is an easy way to avoid this unfortunate surprise. Even
sites that welcome pets often have restrictions, such as whether it’s permissible for dogs to be off-leash.
A very important part of planning is learning the rules and regulations associated with camping,
whether the site is on private or public land. The destination of choice might be public land that’s
a national park, a state or a local park, a national forest, or land controlled by the Bureau of
Land Management. Rules vary greatly, often according to whether the area includes dispersed
campsites or backcountry camping.
Many national parks prohibit backcountry camping with dogs. In some parks, dogs are off limits
on trails. When dogs are welcome, staff members at the respective managing agencies can
recommend which trails are likely to be more friendly to dogs than others are.
Pack the Right Stuff
Filling a vehicle so full that there’s barely room for owner and dog is counterproductive. The idea is to pack light but take sufficient items for emergencies and basic dog needs. This typically includes:
• A tent with double vestibules and entries that can accommodate owner and dog while
sleeping or in inclement weather
• Plenty of water and a few extra days of food
• A dedicated dog water bottle and lightweight/collapsible water and food containers
• A canine backpack for hikes away from the camp area
• A blanket or sleeping pad
• A reflective leash/collar plus a clip-on light that flashes
• Pick-up bags for dog waste
• A brush and a comb
• Favorite toys for rainy days
• A first aid kit
“Must” items for the camp first aid kit include a bandana to make a muzzle, flat tweezers plus mineral oil to remove ticks, a space blanket for cold or shock, iodine to clean wounds, tongue suppressors for a splint, needle-nose pliers to extract thorns or quills, paw booties or wax, and pet first aid instructions. The kit should also include emergency contact information for you and your vet at home, as well as a telephone number and driving directions for a veterinarian or an emergency clinic near the camping area.
Stay Safe While Away
Many steps for camping safety are the result of exercising common sense. For example, human and dog food should be out only during a meal. Otherwise, they can quickly attract unwanted wildlife to a camp area.
Even with dogs who are consistently obedient to voice commands, use of a leash is oftenadvisable even when it is not required. This is a sound way to prevent a dog from wandering into a patch of poisonous plants, getting stuck in some brambles, or inadvertently rendezvousing with a bear. The week before camping is the perfect time to brush up on commands to leave objects alone and to return when called.
Have Alternate Activities in Mind
Rain, wind, and snow happen, sometimes when campers least expect them. While a large,warm tent is a cozy place for dog and owner to hang out when the weather doesn’t cooperate, it’s a good idea to plan on the possibility of alternate activities to enjoy.
A letup in the rain is the perfect time to have lunch on a riverbank or a deserted beach or just
roam through the area surrounding the campsite. When the weather absolutely refuses to take a break, curling up with a favorite toy for the dog and a deck or cards or a new book for the owner in a warm, dry tent is an ideal choice.
Practice Good Camping Etiquette
Everyone appreciates good camp neighbors. That applies to campgrounds, too. The first step in being a thoughtful neighbor while camping is following all applicable rules and regulations. On any camping trip, the dog should be with its owner constantly, never left alone in a tent or in a vehicle.
Many campgrounds require that dogs be kept on leashes with an extension of no more than 6 feet. Even in areas where there is no leash requirement, it is just plain neighborly to keep a dog on a leash to avoid annoying or frightening other campers. Upon hearing an unleashed dog move through the trees or the brush, a hiker or a camper might well mistake it for a predator. The more popular a camping area is, the more dog waste it accumulates. The resulting soil and water contamination is harmful to the environment. Owners need to use pick-up bags to remove waste their dogs deposit while camping.
To make sure a dog is on its best behavior, an owner should make ample use of basic obedience commands on any camping trip. Obedience training doesn’t go on vacation. It could prevent an injury and shows respect for camping neighbors who would prefer not to have a furryguest around their campfire.
You’ve picked your destination, and everything’s organized and packed. It’s time to answer the call of the wild. Camping with your pooch is a wonderful chance to shed some stress and bond with your best friend. Enjoy time together in a tent, exploring new territory, and lingering by a campfire. Then start planning your next camping adventure. Don’t forget to pack all your Dog is Good camping gear favorites– comfy tees and cozy camping hoodies are the perfect items to bring along on your adventures!