Camping With Your Dog
Exploring the great outdoors is no doubt, both a fun and exciting experience, especially as you are given the opportunity to feel nature’s numerous sights and sounds. However, it truly becomes unforgettable when accompanied by man’s best friend (your dog of course). Not only is a camping trip sure to make their tails wag all day long, but as dogs are very curious by nature, they can help you discover many new sights and treasures, you would have otherwise overlooked. Let’s also not forget that, as opposed to humans, your dog requires low-level maintenance upkeep and is much easier to please.
However, like all other trips, the key to having an enjoyable camping experience with your dog is by planning and preparing well. The following are some suggestions on how to camp with your dog for the most outstanding experience.
Visit A Vet
Most first time campers usually forget this very important aspect when traveling with a dog. This vital step is needed to ensure your dog is healthy enough to face the intense trip outdoors. Since you are both going to be one with nature, you are bound to encounter all kinds of insects and parasites.
Save your dog from major discomfort by applying basic tick, flea and heartworm medication before leaving for the trip, as these are common parasites found at most campsites. Also, a good check-up at the vet will determine your dog’s overall health and physical condition as camping can be grueling for dogs too. Keeping the vet’s number handy is also a good idea for quick answers to any complications that may arise.
Find The Right Campsite
It is common that when planning a camping trip, we imagine an open field where we can have lots of fun with our family, friends, as well as our furry companions. However, not all campsites offer those facilities and as such, your choice will determine your camping necessities. It is, therefore, a good idea to first research a range of campsites in order to find the perfect one that will offer you and your dog the experience you desire. Also, as not all campsites are pet-friendly, it will come as a rude shock if your desired choice refuses entrance to your best friend. Therefore, good and thorough research is key.
You will also need to find the best campsites that come incorporated with enough space where you can unpack your camping gear, such as cutlery, tent, dog accessories and camping chairs to relax in after a long hike. With a retractable or folding camping chair, you are also guaranteed easier packing and movement within your desired location.
Stock Enough Food and Treats
It goes without saying that dog treats are necessary. With all the excitement and activity while outdoors, your dog is bound to use up all of his or her energy supplies. In addition, to this, the exposure to various sumptuous smells of barbecued meat coming from other campers may induce the temptation to sniff out and chew on old or leftover foods. Although this may seem natural to them, it is sure to cause unpleasant stomach upsets. And as prevention is better than cure, it’s best to pack enough of their standard dog food, along with their favorite treats or chew toys to them sustained in the long run. The food you bring along can be stored in airtight coolers for camping for some added protection from insects, bacteria build up and weather elements. Remember to also pack along some portable or collapsible food bowls that your dog can eat out from.
While camping outdoors, although there may be various sources of water available in your campsite, not all are good enough for drinking. Even if you might be able to tell the difference, your dog won’t. So stacking up enough bottled water on your camping trip is essential, especially if you are going to be hiking. It’s best to invest in collapsible water bowls which allow for easier access to water for your dog. You never know… the water you drink can be the difference in having a pleasant camping experience to a miserable one; as you wouldn’t want your dog to get sick from drinking contaminated water.
First aid is one aspect that is often overlooked as the excitement of camping makes us forget the health of our fluffy friends. Dogs are also prone to unexpected injuries or illness just like humans. And as mentioned earlier, camping and hiking trips arise intense curiosity in dogs; as the new smells and sounds in the surrounding environment may excite them. While this is all good fun, your dog may not be as overly cautious as you and can risk getting injured.
In the event that an injury takes place, you can be better prepared with a pet first aid kit handy. The kit should come ready with items such as tweezers and mineral oil for removing ticks, pliers for thorns, camping blankets for treating shocks or cold and lastly, the name or phone number of a nearby vet. While we hope for an exhilarating camping experience, nature sometimes may not be so kind, so it is better to be safe than sorry.
Leash, Tether and Stake
Although tagging your dog along for a camping trip makes the experience more fun, restlessness can sometimes kick in. Your canine companion can suddenly become agitated and daring once they enter the camp and may only end up being a nuisance to you. Such edgy behaviour may also endanger your dog, leaving them looking for wildlife to chase, only to get lost in the moment…and lost in reality.
Even if your dog is usually good outdoors without a leash, it is a good idea to bring along one as most campsites have ground rules for pets and keeping dogs restrained. To keep your hands free and enjoy other camping activities, you can also consider packing a tether and stake. With this, you can safely secure your dog to a preferred site without worrying about them wandering off. This way, your dog is also able to have more freedom to roam around albeit restricted.
ID Tag or Microchip
The last thing you want is to turn a camping experience to a search party for your dog. Having an updated tag, as well as a microchip, makes it easier for your dog to be found if he or she eventually wanders off. This also saves you the added stress of always monitoring your pal.
With all the goodies and treats you will be handing out, there is bound to be a fair amount of poop that follows. As always, you are responsible for your dog and whatever they do so packing enough poop bags along for your trip is a must. Both for yourself and other hikers, stepping in piles of poop when hiking can be very annoying! That’s why it’s only fair to clean up the mess to keep the camping experience desirable for all. Don’t forget that most campsites are very strict about cleaning up after dogs and you wouldn’t want to ruin your experience by running afoul of rules.
Although camping is a lot of fun, the temperature outdoor varies from one moment to the next. At times, the nights can be very chilly and your dog is sure to feel the effects. Hence the importance of packing along a few soft camping blankets for a warm and cozy feeling. Sleeping bags are also essential for your camping trip as your dog needs a warm, safe and quiet environment after a long day of play. Why not throw in a few camping pillows to guarantee the well-needed comfort and rest?
Just like kids, dogs are cute with all their playfulness and you surely don’t want your dog to be left out from the joys of life when they step outside. So remember to bring along some outdoor toys such as tennis balls, frisbees or throwers that will keep your dog engaged while you partake in other activities. Also, the toys can also help to prevent your dog from getting bored or afraid of the change in scenery.
Keep a Copy of the Medical Records
In case of an emergency, having a copy of the medical or vaccine records of your dog can be life-saving. In the event that something should happen that requires urgent medical attention, the medical records will go a long way in ensuring that your dog gets the required treatment. Also, if tagging your dog along, medical records are basic requirements at many campsites. You wouldn’t want to get turned back for forgetting them at home.
Usually, before setting off on a trip, we already have a lot of activities planned for ourselves and our hairy pal. These activities no doubt, are what makes the camping experience more fun! However, without the right equipment, the trip will quickly become a burden with all your plans slowly getting erased one by one. For example, when you need to build a campfire, a camping saw is quite handy for cutting branches off trees to feed your fire; as you wouldn’t want to have cuts while using your hands.
Also, camping tents are a major carry-on for your camping trips as it solves the problem of sleeping arrangements and also keeps you and your pooch warm at night. When purchasing a tent, consider the safety of your dog as they can easily crawl out of the tent and wander off. Sleeping bags and camping pillows can also be set up inside the tent to keep your dog snug for the night. And if camping in the summertime, don’t forget to set up your tent close enough to the shade as dogs can easily suffer from overheating.
Water can sometimes be a scarce commodity during camping and that is why a portable camping shower is a great addition for your trip as it not only ensures your personal cleanliness but also that of your dog. You can readily engage your pooch in water activities which we know they love.
Pack a Doggie Bag
As funny as it seems, a portable doggie bag is actually a great trick when getting your dog to carry its own supplies. It is also a canny way of keeping your pal in good shape. An ideal doggie bag may include essentials like the first aid kit for pets that we talked about earlier or even plastic bowls, poop bags, an extra leash, camping bedding, dog-safe sunscreen, LED collar lights and booties. Dogs love to feel responsible and packing a doggie bag increases their excitement levels. However, ensure not to overload the bag to prevent them from tiring out too quickly.
Pack Enough Towels
Trivial as it seems, towels will be very useful during a camping trip with your dog. A towel not only works to keep you and your dog dry, but can also be used to wrap your breakable camping cutlery, or can even work as an extra pillow. Your favorite four-legged pet most certainly will find a stream or pond they will love to roll in and before you know it, they are wet and dirty. This is where the towel plays its part. Also, if rain falls and most of your gear gets soaked, towels can be used to clean off most of the water and dirt on them.
Glow Sticks and LED Collar Lights
Many items often go overlooked when preparing for a camping trip with your dog and glow sticks or LED collar lights are two of them. Yet they are perfect for keeping track of your canine friend especially in the dark as they give off a glowing light which enables you to follow its movement. Of course, you may not want your dog restrained all the time and these items certainly make it easier for you to monitor him or her while you both have fun. The glow sticks can easily be attached to your dog’s collar and you have one less thing to worry about.
Dog Jackets and Booties
If you are camping in a cool environment, it is a smart idea to pack along some comfy jackets for your four-legged companion. Being warm and protected from the harsh climate will ensure that they have enough strength to enjoy the remainder of the trip. Also, booties are a must as they come in useful when camping in areas populated by insects such as fire ants. They also help to keep their paws warm during cold and breezy weather and prevent them from getting sore after a long hike.
Lastly, Have Fun!
Yes, this is basically what it is all about. Camping with your furry pal is a great experience filled with unlimited fun and lots of exercise. Engage your dog in all types of activities and exercises without limiting his or her camping experience. Throw sticks or toys for them to retrieve, treat them to water sports and tag them along for your hiking trips. Camping is truly a great experience with man’s best friend.