Are you thinking about planning a camping trip with your best furry buddy but aren’t sure where to start? This month we’re going over EVERYTHING you need to know about camping with your dog including planning your trip, packing essentials and other basic tips. Let’s start at the beginning by going over what to know before you go camping with your dog.
WHY BRING YOUR DOG?
This should be the first question you’re asking yourself when prepping the camping trip. Don’t worry – it’s not a trick question, but the “why” is important to how you prepare. For me personally, I love to see my dog thrive and she is at her happiest when she is hiking and running and swimming her heart out. It’s because she loves the adventure that I’m happy to take her along during camping. I know she will be able to keep up with whatever strenuous activity is planned for the day and that she will be content.
Other people might prefer a more relaxed camping trip. Maybe you’d like to spend most of your time floating down a river or catching up on some reading in a sweet hammock. All of that is totally cool! BUT what would your dog like? If your dog has energy to burn, maybe this type of trip won’t be the best for her. Or if you’re hiking all day but your dog is more of a couch potato – same rules apply. Like any activity, just think about what your particular dog finds enjoyable and decide if they would make a good companion for your trip.
KNOW YOUR DOG
Alright, so now that you know your dog is a good fit for your camping excursion, it’s time to look a little more closely at your pooch’s personality to figure out what else you might need to plan.
Here are a few things to consider:
- What are your dog’s bad habits? It is fine to admit it if your dog isn’t 100% on her best behavior all of the time. Everyone should work hard at training their dogs but clearly your dog will not be the perfect picture of obedience overnight. Should you leave your dog at home until they are perfect with commands? I don’t think so, but it’s super important to be aware of your weak spots in training before heading out. Use your bonding time spent camping to further your training and remember that your dog still needs you for guidance.
- What is your dog’s temperament? Is your dog easily anxious or excitable? Maybe she gets nervous around new people or is a little nosy around food. Think about how your dog handles car rides, changes in scenery and other people before heading out. It can help you decide how far to drive and how close you want to camp to other people.
- Does your dog have a high prey drive, propensity to wander, or escape tendencies? It’s okay if your dog has any of these features, honestly, most dogs do. Just keep them in mind when you set up your camp or explore. Always have your dog on a leash or tie out controlled and in a safe environment. It is also extremely important to microchip your pet in case they are ever lost. Microchipping is a common procedure that is done on pets so that they can be tracked back to you in the event of separation. You can lean more about the process via the HomeAgain website. There are also a couple super nifty GPS services you can use such as Whistle and Pod Trackers that let’s you track your pet’s location from your smartphone. Microchipping is great if someone else finds your pet but services like Whistle and Pod Trackers let you see exactly where they are! Totally worth it for paranoid pet owners like Yours Truly.
- Does your dog like to bark? My dog can be a loud mouth. I am not proud of it and have tried a lot of different training methods to curb it but so far, I have not fully succeeded. She generally barks during greetings when she is SUPER EXCITED and sometimes when she thinks she is missing out on something. To curb this behavior while camping, I make sure she has plenty of activity before downtime and that she is occupied while resting. Give your dog stimulating toys and sufficient exercise to keep her engaged.
- Does your dog have any medical issues? This will probably be an obvious consideration if you already know something that affects your dog. Maybe it’s allergies or joint pain of just being susceptible to frequent ear infections but whatever the case, it’s good to think about what you may need for your dog to be comfortable. If you are not aware of any ailments your dog may suffer from, our next tip is always a good idea…
GET A HEALTH CHECK
It’s pretty much always a good idea to make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations before travelling. Having your documentation before taking a trip gives you piece of mind but also will be handy in case a campground requires it. Also, remember to apply flea and tick medication on your dog. You can use monthly flea and tick medications like Frontline or K9 Advantix, or try collars like Seresto for a more direct solution.
You probably do a little researching before you head out somewhere and it’s even more crucial if your dog is coming along. Read up on the campground or outdoor area you plan to camp in and check for restrictions. Double check to make sure if pets are allowed, if there are any fees, or if there are specific leash laws in effect. A quick Google search should be able to provide you will all the answers you need but don’t hesitate to call someone at the park for more details.
If you are still nervous about how your dog might handle the trip just take it easy. Try out a few different scenarios with your pooch and get them accustomed to what your camping experience might be like. Whether it’s shorter hiking trips or practicing using a tie-out, there are plenty of things to practice close to home to ease your fears. Chances are everything will be just fine but its completely fine to work your way up to longer trips!
Keep an eye out for more posts on how to make the most of your dog camping experience!
Have you ever been to camping with your dog?
Make sure to comment with your own pre-planning ideas!
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