The temperatures are warming up and before you know it Summer will be here. Time for fun outdoor adventures and for many people that means camping. If you love camping, odds are that your dog will too but it’s important to be prepared. I’ve done a lot of camping with my dogs and I know that when you are out of your home environment, being prepared makes all the difference. Forgetting basic items can make the whole trip more complicated and less fun for everyone, so get prepared to maximize the camping fun!
Do Your Research
First of all you need to make sure that the area you plan on camping allows dogs and what their rules are for dogs. Most campgrounds allow dogs and require that they be on leash at all times. Is there a limit on the number of dogs allowed at your campsite? Does the campground have a water supply? Will there be shade or do you need to bring your own shade? Will it be hot? Will it be cold? Will the ground be hot? Will the ground be hard? Rocky? Covered in ants? What kind of wild animals will be in the area? You are probably not going to have a cellphone signal or Internet connection. Where is the ranger station? How far will you have to go to find help if there is an accident or emergency? Is there a call box or pay phone? Where is it?
Protect Your Dog
Make sure your dog is up to date on his vaccinations, flea and tick meds and protected against heartworms. Be sure your dog is wearing a collar with the proper identifying tags in the event that he gets lost or wanders off. That way if someone finds your dog, they will be able to contact you. Don’t let your dog drink from standing bodies of water, which can contain bacteria and insects. Get familiar with the dangers that exist where you are camping. Are there cliffs? Poison oak, ivy or other toxic plans?
Pack For Your Dog
Be sure to bring plenty of food and water for your dog. You’ll want to make sure that your dog eats his regular diet. Giving him fatty meats from the fire pit and human food scraps could cause an upset stomach and nobody wants to have to get up in the middle of the night to tend to a dog with diarrhea. Don’t forget to pack a dog bed, food and water dishes, and sun block. A sleeping cot is a great way to keep your dog elevated off the ground at night and safe from bugs and other things that might crawl into your tent.
Will you be near water? Planning on swimming or boating? Make sure your dog has a life vest/floatation device especially if he’s not a strong swimmer. Always better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t forget to pack lots of fun outdoor toys! You aren’t the only ones there to have fun. Make sure you have a good leash and a nice sturdy crate or dog fencing to keep your dog contained while you’re cooking and pitching tents.
Check Your Dog Regularly
Even though you are a responsible dog owner and have taken the proper precautions, you’re still going to want to check your dogs fur regularly for ticks, bites, cuts, burrs and anything else out of the usual. Be sure you know the proper way to remove ticks if you find one and how to identify a deer tick and the symptoms of Lyme disease.
You may want to ask your friends, if they have experience camping with dogs, they could have some useful tips. Calling the park ranger where you will be camping is also a great way to get information that will help make your camping trip fun and safe for everyone. Being prepared makes all the difference when you and your dog are out of your element and out in nature.
Have a great camping trip!