Here are 9 helpful tips on camping with a dog like a real pro, the weather forecast is great and you wish to go camping, and leaving your fluffy companion behind is not an option.
Just imagine all the fun adventures that your four-legged companion would miss if you don’t bring her to the camp. With a few tips and proper planning, camping with a pooch can be as enjoyable, and better.
Assess Your Dog’s Readiness
It’s vital to assess your pet’s readiness before you embark on an outdoor adventure. Does she have plenty of experience outdoors? Then a weeklong adventure may be fine for your companion. But if she’s a lounge hound, then a more relaxed trip might be your better bet.
Include the possible considerations for your dog in your planning. If your pet is a cautious pooch who requires a little encouragement to try new things, you will plan a different trip than if your pet is adventurous and bold in new activities.
If you don’t know very well how your dog would respond to camp life, you can take her to a few activities such as picnics and day trips before going on a campout.
Remember, the success of your trip does not solely depend on how you would like the adventure. So plan a trip that will be both enjoyable to you and to your dog.
Look For Dog-Friendly Sites
Remember that not all campsites are suitable for dogs. Before you even begin your trip, make sure that your destination is a dog-friendly campsite.
Just think of the hassle and frustration when you hit the road with your pet only to arrive at the site and find a ‘No Dogs Allowed’ sign. Research online or call ahead to find dog-friendly trails and campsites for whatever outdoor adventure you have in mind.
Be aware ahead of time for wildlife and toxic plants that may pose a threat to dogs, and obey all camping laws.
You can also check on-leash rules if there’s any. Some campgrounds do not accommodate pets being off-leash while others are okay with it as long as they respond promptly to the owners. Check every possible information especially when it comes to rules on how to camp with a dog.
Pack Her Bag
Pack your dog’s bag separate from your stuff. It will make things so much easier for you when everything your dog needs is in one place. Don’t forget to bring her toys, treats, poop bags, and her favorite bed.
Remember that you’re not doing this trip alone. So always consider what your buddy needs for your trip and make sure to pack them.
Bring Extra Food And Water
Like humans, our pets eat and drink much more when doing physical activities such as hiking or exercising. As a general rule, you should be packing twice as much water as you think you and your pet need.
If your dog is average-sized, bring as much as 3 liters of water each day for your dog alone. Also, your canine will need at least as much food as she consumes at home.
Yes, you might be thinking that this adds more weight to your pack. But of all the supplies that you’ll be needing, sufficient food and water should be on top of your list. Don’t cut your pet’s food and water intake just for you to have a lighter pack.
Prepare For Emergencies
Prepare and be ready for emergencies. Make a laminated card with all your contact information and your pet’s identifying info before you start your trip.
Also, make sure that your dog’s tags and microchip information are updated. Unpredictable things happen so it’s critical to be prepared for any emergency. This includes a possible injury to your pet. Bring first aid items for you and for her.
As per the U.S. Forest Service, below are some of the items that they recommend to bring with you if you’re camping with a dog:
- A fold-up blanket for cold or treating shock
- A bandana
- Booties for covering and protecting your dog’s paws if injured (If you don’t have one, toddler socks are fine and do great)
- Tweezers to be used for removal of ticks
- A multitool
- A first aid manual on how to treat pets
- A nearby veterinarian’s important information such as the name, phone number, and location.
These items won’t actually add much weight to your pack. They are small and handy. Don’t think of not bringing these thinking that nothing will happen to your pet.
Yes, chances of needing them are typically low, but it’s always better to be prepared all the time. At the very least, your pup’s first aid should include bandages, antiseptic, and tools to aid minor injuries.
Having an emergency plan is another important aspect of preparing for emergencies. Be familiar with signs of heatstroke such as hypersalivation, raid heart rate, and panting.
Always pay attention to your pet while hanging at camp or hiking. Lastly, keep your pet hydrated.
Observe Proper Camping Etiquette
Remember to be courteous to other campers at the campsite. Keep your pet out of your fellow campers’ area and make sure to dispose properly of your dog’s waste. Learn the rules of camping etiquette and diligently observe them.
Ideally, your pup should stick near you all the time. Do not let her be left unsupervised at any moment. You should also not lose a vision to your dog once you arrive at the campsite.
Also, keep your dog quiet and make sure she doesn’t bark too much. Other campsites won’t allow dogs that are loud and bark too much. Don’t let your pup bark at every stranger she meets.
If your dog barks his head off always even at the drop of a pin, you better spend some time training him before going on a trip with her. Eventually, she’ll know the proper etiquette of not barking unnecessarily.
If possible, keep your pet under absolute control at all times, I know this may be hard but you must be keen on this one. Especially if you have a bigger dog and she starts to get aggressive.
This situation may lead to an injury on someone. To avoid any trouble, you may want to consider getting a restraining collar which provides you total control of your pup.
Make Your Campsite Feel Like Home
A new environment may make your dog uncomfortable and hard to focus on doing simple things like eating or sleeping. Make your campsite feel like home by having the right gear and bringing your dog’s must-haves.
Bring familiar items with you like your dog’s toys or bed. This will help her to relax and feel comforted. You can also bring extra treats to grab her attention or to coax her to the dinner bowl.
Once you’ve set up your camp, prepare your dog’s comfy space. The idea is to make your dog feel comfortable in a new place, so make your place familiar to her.
Prepare for Alternate Activities
Even if the weather forecast will report that you’re going to have fine weather to enjoy, strong rain and wind can still happen. When the weather does not cooperate, a warm tent can be a cozy place for you and your dog to hang out.
It can be boring when you don’t have any alternate activities in mind, so it’s a good idea to plan on having a few. Be creative with your alternate activities and don’t let bad weather ruin your adventure.
These alternate activities do not necessarily mean that you’ll do be doing the same activity together. Curling up with a favorite toy for your dog and a new book or a deck of cards for you in a warm tent can be good enough.
Enjoy Your Adventure!
Have fun and share exciting experiences with your pet. Follow the tips above on how to camp with a dog and you’ll surely make the most of your adventure! Camping outdoors is an incredible way for you to bond with your adorable buddy.
Enjoy the sights, smells, and relaxing sounds of nature. With some preparation, you can have a wonderful chance to shed some stress and you both can have the time of your lives!
If you have any more questions about camping with a dog, I’d love to hear them and I’ll be more than happy to answer them in the comments section below.
You may also like to read my article on Family Camping Vacations.
Remember! Leave it cleaner than you found it, only footprints not rubbish.