What outdoor adventure is better than camping with dogs? For some, a camping trip wouldn’t be complete without their furry companion. Dogs are curious by nature and so they love to be included in outdoor activities. However, camping with dogs requires extra planning to make sure that both you and your dog have a great time. After all, you are responsible for your dog’s health and safety when camping out in the wild.
Having a successful camping trip is all about being prepared. And to avoid a mess, consider following these tips to make sure you and your four-legged-friend are set up for camping success.
1) Find the Right Campsite
First things first: find the right campsite where both you and your dog can enjoy a relaxed camping holiday. Look for campsites on flat and even terrains with no presence of wild predators and poisonous plants. Most state parks allow dogs but remember not all campgrounds are created equal. You can find endless lists of local dog-friendly camping sites online. But you should check out “Hipcamp” if you’re having trouble finding the right campsite.
For those in America, places like Acadia National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Shenandoah National Park, Zion National Park, Arches National Park, and Mt. Rainier National Park offer campsites where dogs are allowed. That being said, you’re still not allowed to bring your dog on hiking trails inside these parks. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact the park officials and ask their policy on pets.
2) Schedule a Veterinarian Appointment Before Leaving
Whenever you’re planning to go camping with your dog, it is absolutely necessary to have your dog’s health checked-up by a vet before leaving home. Some places may require proof of vaccinations so you should get a printed medical report from your local vet. Always make sure your dog is up-to-date on required vaccines. We highly advise giving preventive medications for fleas, ticks, and heartworms to your dogs.
Be ready for emergencies and know where the nearest animal hospital is. Double-check with your regular veterinarian to ensure that you’re on top of all preventative care. Your vet can ensure your dog is in tip-top shape and ready for the camping trip. But if your dog’s health isn’t optimal, it’s better to keep them at home with a trusted caregiver while you’re out.
3) Practice Obedience Commands at Home
It’s important to keep your dog safe and well-trained at the campground. But that won’t be possible unless you practice some basic obedience commands with your dog at home before the camping trip. Your dog should at least be able to respond to his/her name and follow basic commands like “stay” and “stop”. The more commands your dog knows the better.
Dogs who can respond to basic commands are less likely to annoy other campers and not harm themselves in the wild outdoors. If your dog ventures out too far or if they encounter something dangerous, being able to respond to basic commands will help avoid unwanted incidents. That is why you should make it a top priority to learn how to keep your dog well-trained and teach them some basic commands a few weeks ahead of the trip.
4) Have Pet Specific Medical Supplies
Just like you, your dog can get injured while camping. A first aid kit is the first step in being ready should an animal emergency happen. Dogs tend to get distracted by a lot of things and wander off to unsafe places without you noticing them. Accidents happen when you least expect them and having a pet first aid medical kit will help you treat common canine injuries and ailments. You should be prepared to treat minor cuts, bruises, and insect bites.
You can buy a first aid kit for your dog in any of your local pet supply store. If you have any questions about how to use any of the equipment, the best person to ask is your veterinarian. Seeing your dog injured is traumatic and you won’t be able to do much if you haven’t got proper medical supplies. So, make sure that your pet first aid medical kit has the following items:
- Latex/Rubber Gloves
- Adhesive tape
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Antiseptic wipes, liquid, powder or spray
- Antibiotic ointment
- Styptic powder
- Sterile saline solution
- Slant-tipped scissors
- Sterile, non-stick gauze pads in several sizes
- Petroleum jelly
- Hot/Cold packs
- Rectal thermometer
- Canine First Aid Reference Guide
5) Bring a tether and stake
Most campgrounds require dog owners to have their dogs leashed in the campground. But you can’t be holding your dog’s leash all day long as you need your hands free to set up your camp and do other things. So, consider bringing a tether and stake to tie your dog down. Depending on how big your camp area is, you can choose to bring a leash anywhere from 10 to 20 foot long. Having your dog on a leash gives you a peace of mind whenever you’re preoccupied with something and can’t keep an eye on them. Plus, your dog won’t be able to wander off and chase wildlife on their own.
Preparation is key in all things outdoors. When you bring your dog with you on a camping trip, anything can happen. So, you need to prepare well in advance and take a few additional supplies to ensure that you and your four-legged-friend have a great time camping outdoors.
How do you prepare for camping with your dog? Let us know in the comments below!
Want to try solo camping? Do check out this blog post "5 Solo Camping Tips For Beginners".