Camping With Your Dog
Dogs love anything outdoors, so it makes sense that you would want to and should take them on your camping trips. That being said, you need to take special precautions when taking your dog camping. Here are some tips that can help you pull off the perfect canine camping trip.
1) Prepare For Ticks & Fleas
Flea and tick protection is always important, but it is especially so when you are about to head out into the wilderness. Fleas, and especially ticks are much more prevalent out in nature and the last thing that you want to do is turn your visit into the woods into a heart worm introduction.
Before you head out, make sure that your pet is up on their flea and tick medication. If you have fallen behind, make sure to get them caught up several weeks in advance of your camping trip.
Also, keep in mind that your dog can not tolerate the same insect sprays that we can. Dogs are very sensitive to DEET, the active chemical in most human insect repellents. DEET can cause digestive distress and can even lead to seizures with canines, so stick to an insect repellent that is designed for use with dogs.
2) Bring Extra Food
The last thing that you would want to do is run out of dog food when you are out camping. Securing more food if you run out is not an easy proposition, so it never hurts to bring extra with you.
Of course, chances are good that your dog will not each much in the woods. The slight stress caused by a change in environment will likely cause your dog to cut back on eating for a day or so, this is normal.
If they do have an appetite, it will be good to be prepared. Your dog will be using extra energy when you are camping so if they want to eat, they will likely eat more than usual. Your camping trip is not the time to stick to your dog’s rigid diet, so let them eat some extra food.
Also, be aware that there might be some wastage with dog food while camping. Insects in the woods can be aggressive and, when you lay out food for your dog, the insects iwll sometimes get to it before your dog finishes.
3) Follow A Packing Checklist
Never been camping with a dog before? If so, you are very likely to forget something that you will need on the trip. It is just too hard to think about everything that you will need unless you have already been in a “roughing it” situation with your pet. Here are some things that most pet owners will need.
- Dog Food
- Pet Medications
- Leash Anchor
- Dog Bed/Blanket
- Pet Specific Bug Repellent
- First Aid Kit
- Can Opener (For Wet Food)
- Dog Waste Bags (Pack It Out)
4) Plan To Secure Your Dog
Camping is all about being free in nature, but that might not be such a great thing for your dog. If you have a meticulously trained dog that is super obedient like a German Shepherd, you may be able to let your dog loose. The rest of us should secure out doggies to prevent them from getting into trouble.
The woods are just too tempting for most dogs and they could easily get into trouble. They might find a scent to investigate or perhaps take off chasing a wild racoon. In either case, you could find yourself trying to find a lost dog which would totally ruin your enjoyment of your trip.
Avoid the stress of a lost dog by planning on keeping yours leashed up. Make it easier by bringing a variety of leashes from a standard 6 foot leash to a 15 foot lead and stake to be used at camp.
5) Keep Your Dog Warm At Night
If you are camping in the fall or winter, you should give some considerations to your dogs comfort at night. You might think that their coat of fur will be enough to keep them warm, but your dog is probably used to the comforts of civilization, just like you are.
Bringing a blanket for your dog to curl up in or to throw on top of them can turn a miserable night into a comfortable one. Why should your dog not get the same creature comforts that you get just because they have fur.
Want your dog to have a good time on the trip? Keep them warm.
6) Scout A Good Location
Not all campsites are created equally, and some are just downright unfriendly to dogs.
Before you commit to a campground, check to see what kind of limitations are placed on pets. Some state parks might only allow dogs at camp, while others might not allow them at all.
It might seem crazy to deny access to a dog, but there are some good reasons for this. For example, some parks choose to limit canine access to prevent any damage to protected local wildlife or environments.
If you are unsure about restrictions placed on dogs where you intend to camp, call ahead of time. A park ranger can make sure that you are in the know about regulations and might give you some good tips to make the most of your time.
7) Mark Your Pet
You will likely be going a long way from home, and this will be terrain and smells that your dog is not familiar with. What would happen if your dog got lost? Would they be able to make it back to camp or would you be dependent on some good Samaritan finding them and returning them?
Make sure that your pet is properly marked with good contact information so that they make it back to you in case the worst were to happen. At the very least, you should have a collar with a tag that has your phone number. Even better would be to have your dog micro chipped. Micro chipping costs under $100 and is well worth the peace of mind.
8) Be Realistic With Your Expectations
Let’s face it, not every dog will be a camping dog. Some are just not suited for nature and are too domesticated to make it comfortably in the woods.
If this is the case with your dog, you probably already know it. Don’t try to make your Pomeranian puppy rough it like a Labrador Retriever, it will just not be fun for anyone involved. Be honest with yourself and if your dog is just a bit too domestic, leave them at home.