Camping With Dogs: 7 Tips To Make It Successful
You may have been wanting to experience the great outdoors in your free time, but you also don’t want to spend it without your beloved furry friend. As a dog owner, I would like to take my dog on trips that I know I will enjoy. However, I always have to take my dog’s safety into consideration.
Camping is a must-try outdoor activity with your dog. It may sound inconvenient and risky at first, but in fact, it is surely exciting! I’ve gathered some crucial points on how you can have a hassle-free experience when camping with dogs.
Table of Contents
- 1. You Must Know Your Dog’s Camping Personality
- 2. Your Dog’s Physical Capabilities Are A Critical Knowledge Before Even Planning To Camp With Them
- 3. Research And Make Sure The Campsite You’re Going To Is Dog-friendly
- 4. Pack Up For Some Pest Protection And Dog First Aid Kits
- 5. Keep Identification On Your Dog When Going Out On Camping Trips
- 6. It’s Time To Start Gearing Up For Your Doggie Bag!
- 7. Last But Not The Least, Always Practice Proper Campsite Etiquette
1. You Must Know Your Dog’s Camping Personality
You’d be able to understand how your dog is going to behave outdoors by going out on small trips or picnics first. Some dogs would suddenly become overly energized and would run around everywhere out of excitement after seeing a bigger field. Make sure that you can control your dog’s behavior outdoors. Having an untrained dog may result in dangerous situations such as:
- Food and campground garbage cans could be ravaged by your dog
- Other dogs in the campsite may not be as friendly and having them bump into each other may result in a disaster
- Your pooch might bark at everyone he doesn’t know and cause inconvenience to the other campers.
But of course, if you plan to keep your dog on a leash all the time, you don’t have to get your dog have a gold star in basic training. However, this will take a lot of fun from both you and your dog. It’s best, to be honest about your dog’s personality. If your dog is aggressive, it’s better to leave them at home.
2. Your Dog’s Physical Capabilities Are A Critical Knowledge Before Even Planning To Camp With Them
Is your dog physically fit? Is she old? Overweight? Dogs are loyal to their owners, if they are having a hard time keeping up with you, they would still do and would never show distress until the last minute.
If your dog is a couch puppy, it will make sense to condition him first before going on long trips. You can gradually increase the trips once you see that he is getting the hang of it. Just like humans, walking long distances would take a toll on our body if we haven’t been active in physical activities for a while.
Young dogs are full of energy, but they still have growing bones. Take note that they can injure themselves (same with smaller dog breeds) if they are not used to uneven terrain and stepping on rocks and other things in the wild.
Take caution with older dogs as they may not be able to keep up with you as much as younger dogs do. Older dogs are more sensitive to discomfort. It’s advisable to ask your vet first if your dog would still be able to take whatever physical activity you have in mind.
3. Research And Make Sure The Campsite You’re Going To Is Dog-friendly
There’s nothing worse than having to go to a campsite, all readied and excited only to find out that dogs aren’t allowed. It is best to call ahead or research online to find dog-friendly campgrounds and trails. Find out about the rules and regulations for the campsite of your choice as some may only welcome restrained pets, have leash laws, and may require a fee for each dog.
4. Pack Up For Some Pest Protection And Dog First Aid Kits
I used to live in a rural area, and woods surround the house. My dog Vegeta loved running in the wild, and he would usually come home safe and sound, but there are times that he would take ticks along with him. There were also times he comes home with small injuries. The worst was he came back bleeding with a gunshot wound. Luckily, it missed him and wasn’t fatal, but it taught me a valuable and life-changing lesson.
You never really know what’s going to happen out there, so it’s best to be prepared.
For your dog’s pest protection:
- Make sure that your pup has vaccinations for Lyme disease, heartworm, rabies, and is up to date with his flea and tick medication.
- Brush your dog after hikes and check behind and inside his ears, under the collars, armpits and especially between his paws. These are the places where ticks usually hide. Flat-blade tweezers and mineral oil can be helpful for removal.
- You can also bring insecticidal garments, and blankets and beds for the dog that have been treated with permethrin.
- Always put your dog’s food and water away at night. These might attract the larger pests (such as bears) and wander around your campsite.
For your dog’s first aid kit:
When Vegeta got scratched by the bullet, most of the things I need for first aid can be found at home. You can put these in a small bag as first aid for your dog:
- Hydrogen peroxide and antibiotic ointment
- Cotton balls
- Towels and blankets
- A first aid book for dogs.
It’s also advisable to have your dog’s paperwork around: vaccination and medical records and emergency phone numbers just in case of a critical emergency.
5. Keep Identification On Your Dog When Going Out On Camping Trips
Make a laminated card along with all your dog’s information including vaccination records, health history and all of your contact info. It’s a good idea to put this ID tag on his collar and harness. You can also microchip your dog and make sure all of his chip information is up to date.
6. It’s Time To Start Gearing Up For Your Doggie Bag!
When you start packing for a trip, you should also think of your furry friend. Camping supplies for your dog are essential as they are for you. Here’s a camping pack list for your dog to get you started:
- Lightweight food and water bowls
- Measure your dog’s food and place them in a sealed in plastic bags or
- Sleeping bag and blanket
- Dog first aid essentials as described above
- Grooming tools for your dog
- Extra reflective leash/collar and clip-on flashlight
- Poop bags.
Dogs love having a job to do at all times, so you can put him to work and make him carry his camping supplies. It’s best to keep it light for your dog. Make sure that he is comfortable in wearing his dog backpack before you start your trip.
You can also include other things like sunscreen for your dog or his favorite toy. Something familiar to your dog might help him be cozier when camping.
7. Last But Not The Least, Always Practice Proper Campsite Etiquette
You may love your dog, but not everyone does. Being thoughtful of your fellow campers is essential. Your dog may knock down campsite trash bins or just poo anywhere since it’s a vast, unfamiliar place for him. Dog poop and scattered trash is unpleasant to everyone. Make sure to pick up and properly dispose of your dog’s wastes.
And remember, always keep your dog under control. It’s just natural to never leave him unsupervised as a lot of unexpected situations may still come up. As much as possible, have him stick near you at all times.
Camping with dogs is a lot of fun once you have everything in check. Nothing beats a getaway spent with your beloved pet. A lot of people believe that camping with dogs is a lot of work, but all of that work will be very much worth it in the end. It’s better to take caution than to be sorry in the end. I hope these points would help you the next time you plan to go camping with dogs. Planning to go on a trip with your pet for the weekend? Tell us in the comments below!