The temperatures are warming up, and summer is in full swing. It’s a time for fun outdoor adventures, and for many of us that means camping, especially if we can bring our dogs along.
If you love camping, odds are that your dog will, too. After all, it’s a chance to spend time and bond with their favorite human — you! But it’s important to be prepared.
I’ve done a lot of camping with my pups, and I know that when you’re 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 here are a few tips to get prepared and maximize the camping fun with your dog!
Research Where You’re Going
First of all, you need to make sure that the area you plan on camping in allows dogs and find out what their rules are for dogs. Most campgrounds allow dogs and require that they be on leash at all times.
Make sure to find out the answers to all the questions you should ask before you arrive.
Is there a limit on the number of dogs allowed at your campsite? Does the campground have a water supply? Are shady spots available, or do you need to bring your own shade? Will it be hot or cold? Will the ground be hard, rocky, or covered in ants? What kind of wild animals will be in the area?
You may not 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?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you better prepare for where you’re going and have a plan if you encounter an emergency during your trip.
Protect Your Dog
Make sure your dog is up to date on their vaccinations, flea and tick medications, and heartworm protection.
Be sure your dog is wearing a collar with the proper identifying tags in the event that they get lost or wander 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’re camping. Are there cliffs? Poison oak, ivy, or other toxic plans? If so, you may need to keep your dog on leash at all times to make sure they avoid these hazards.
Regardless, you should supervise your dog throughout the trip, and they should never be out of sight.
Assemble An Emergency Kit
It’s important to assemble a good emergency kit for you and your dog. Pack for where you’re going. For example, be prepared for snake bites if you’re in the mountains or jellyfish stings if you’re near the ocean.
Keep your dog’s medical needs for the trip in mind, too. Does your pet have allergies? Pack allergy pills.
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 their regular diet. Giving them 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 sunscreen. 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? Are you planning on swimming or boating? Make sure your dog has a life vest, especially if they’re not a strong swimmer. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
And don’t forget to pack lots of fun outdoor toys! Humans 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’re a responsible dog parent and have taken the proper precautions, you’re still going to want to check your dog’s 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, as 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!
Have you ever gone camping with your dog? Do you have any tips for people who want to camp with their pups? Let us know in the comments below!