Camping With Your Dog
Looking to take your dog on a vacation? A camping trip is a great option. Many pups enjoy spending time with their pack out in the great outdoors.
But just like some humans love it, and some humans hate it, you should take your time and consider whether or not it truly is a good fit for your dog. And when camping with canines, you also need to make sure you take the time to prepare and pack properly to ensure your trip is fun and safe.
Should you take your dog camping?
It may sound like a good idea to you… but what would your dog say if you could ask her? Be honest with yourself about your dog’s temperament and habits before heading out.
- Does your dog become stressed-out easily?
- Does your dog have trouble responding to commands when there are distractions?
- Does your dog bark incessantly?
- Does your dog resist being tethered on a leash?
- Does your dog have medical issues that may need immediate attention?
- Does your dog frequently run away or wander?
- Does your dog display aggressive tendencies around other dogs or animals?
Packing for Your Dog
Bring water for your dog to drink if a water supply is not available at the campsite. Do not allow your dog to drink out of standing bodies of water. Your dog should continue to eat his regular diet during the trip; pack enough food and treats to last for your entire stay. Pack a food dish and water bowl. Bring bedding and toys to keep your dog occupied as well. Take a copy of your dog’s health records and vaccination reports, especially important if you are crossing state lines. Other essential items include a leash and collar or harness, a carrier or other means to confine your dog when necessary, bags to pick up your dog’s waste, a first aid kit and any medications your dog takes regularly.
What to pack for your dog’s camping trip
Don’t forget to bring these important items along!
- Collar, ID tags, and a short leash for walking
- A stake and a longer leash for tethering
- A crate
- Food, water, and dishes
- Poop bags
- Dog jacket and booties (if needed for the weather)
- Dog brush and tick comb
- Safety light or illuminated leash/collar for night time
- Canine first aid kit (Here is checklist for your dog’s first aid kit)
- Medications (if your dog is on any)
- Contact information for the nearest vet and emergency pet clinic
Health and Safety
- Be attentive to your dog’s health at all times.
- Be knowledgeable of diseases that can be contracted through wildlife, plants, and insects.
- Use flea/tick repellents or collars. Dogs are higher risk in getting ticks and fleas.
- Allow time for your dog to adjust to new surroundings.
- Make sure you provide rest time for your dog.
- Never leave your dog unattended when it’s outside.
- Remove any leftover dog food after mealtime and store in a place which will not attract unwanted wildlife and insects.
- Please note that it is recommended that dogs and other pets not be taken into back country terrain. These areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to rugged terrain, wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
What To Do with Your Dog While Camping
Once at the camping ground, keep your dog on a leash or otherwise confined so that other campers are not disturbed and your dog is not at risk for becoming lost or injured. Be aware of keeping your dog away from things such as campfires and cooking utensils that can cause injury. A “leave it” command is also useful in case your dog begins to explore or picks up something dangerous in his mouth.
Keep your dog close to you during your camping expedition. If you are unable to supervise your dog, be sure he is properly confined. Do not leave your dog confined in a closed car or tied to a stationary object though. Provide a carrier, crate, or portable fencing unit instead. While camping, check your dog’s fur and skin regularly for ticks as well as for plant material like thorns or burrs. Plant materials should be brushed free of your dog’s hair, if possible. In some situations, cutting or shaving the hair may be necessary to remove these items.
Remove ticks promptly by grasping the tick near the skin and pulling gently and slowly away from the skin. Wear gloves when doing so. Do not handle ticks with bare hands as they can transmit diseases to you as well as to your dog.