Valuable Tips for Camping with Your Dog
You are likely like many dog owners, you want to have your four-legged friend with you as much as possible, including camping trips.
Being outdoors and spending special time with your dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience for both of you. Camping with your dog creates many benefits such as reinforcing your connection, encouraging more trust between you and your dog, and getting them involved in activities that will keep them strong and healthy. Overall, camping with your dog can be so much fun.
Before going on a camping venture with your dog, consider these tips.
1. PLAN AHEAD
Be prepared to ensure both you and your dog have an enjoyable and safe camping experience:
- Check the campground pet policies and rules.
- Schedule a check-up of your dog with the veterinarian and get required vaccines.
- Create a travel route with enough places to stop so your dog can relieve themselves.
- Consider if your dog needs obedience training to interact better with other dogs and people.
- Invest in good-quality gear and accessories, including correctly sized collars and harnesses.
2. TAKE A PHOTO
Most dog owners have many photos of their dog but, it is important to take one before your camping trip just in case your dog gets loose or lost. A recent photo will be invaluable to help find them.
3. UPGRADE YOUR Dog ACCESSORIES
If you have not upgraded the accessories used by your dog, doing so before your camping trip will ensure you and your dog have fun and stay safe. A well-fitted collar and harness are critical. Also consider:
- Tie-outs that can be wrapped around a tree or staked into the ground
- Reflective harness for night walks
- Life jacket for water fun
- Portable water container
- Collapsible bowl
- Pad or light-weight bed to relax and sleep
4. TAKE A TRIAL RUN
Depending on the temperament of your dog or their experience with longer trips, you may want to prepare your dog for the eventual camping trip. Some ways to do this include:
- Take longer walks.
- Spend more time outdoors – include their favorite toys and use a reward system to encourage outdoor time.
- Increase social time with other dogs, including play dates and taking them to a dog-park.
- Have a camping practice night in your yard. Try to make it as authentic as possible with a tent, fire pit (if possible) and with friends or family around.
5. BRING PLENTY OF TOYS
A new outdoor environment will be stimulating but don’t forget to bring some of your dog’s favorite toys, especially if the weather doesn’t allow the outdoor time you were anticipating.
6. THINK DOG HEALTH– BRING A FIRST-AID KIT
Always bring a pet-friendly first-aid kit for a camping trip with your dog. Some essentials items for your dog’s first-aid kit include:
- Veterinary records
- Recent list of any treatments or medications
- Non-stick bandages
- Adhesive tape
- Tick remover
- Pet-safe sterile eyewash
- Digital thermometer
7. PLAN ACTIVITIES THAT ARE DOG-FRIENDLY
Some dog-friendly camping activities include:
- Hiking on trails
- Walking or relaxing on the beach – as recommended by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, remember that your dog needs shade
- Boating or kayaking
- Exploring parks
- Playing outdoor games
Don’t forget to bring dog waste bags.
8. PROVIDE EXTRA HYDRATION
If your dog is outdoors and being active, they will need more water than usual. Use a collapsible water bowl when away from your camp site and a large outdoor-safe water bowl when at the site. Always keep water bowls in the shade.
9. KEEP YOUR DOG LEASHED
Many campgrounds have requirements for keeping dogs on a leash, and it’s the best way to keep your dog safe. This includes keeping your dog on a leash when participating in activities, both on and away from the campground. Your dog does not need to be on a leash when sleeping in a secure place overnight.
10. WATCH OUT FOR WILDLIFE
Dogs are naturally curious and will be excited to be in a new environment. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association cautions dog owners to be watchful for wildlife, including plants. Also, never let your dog drink from stagnant water and be cautious of lakes, ponds or rivers that could be infected by algae. It is always best to research local plants where you will be camping to identify potentially poisonous plant-life. And, never let your dog eat dead wildlife.
11. NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG UNATTENDED
Never leave your dog unattended while camping or traveling. This includes in the car, at the campsite, at dog parks and during activities. Your dog may be well behaved with other dogs and people, but you don’t know if other dogs or people might behave in a way that is not expected.