As I’m sure you’re all aware, camping is a fantastic way to experience the wonders of nature. Many people like to take their dogs camping, too. Watching a puppy or young dog explore the woods is an enjoyable experience for both dog and man. However, there are some serious things to consider before taking off into the wild with Fido in tow. Below are the top 7 things to keep in mind when planning a camping trip with your dog:
1. Are Pets Allowed?
People hop in their motor homes, hook up a travel trailer, or pack a tent, and off to the campsite they go. Of course you’re going to take your dog. After all, it’s camping, and what dog doesn’t love camping? While dogs of all types love to explore, check first with the campground to make sure pets are allowed. Most campgrounds operate like a small city and allow dogs as long as they’re leashed and you clean up after them. But every now and then, a campground posts a sign that clearly states: “NO PETS ALLOWED.” Know the policy ahead of time to save yourself and your dog the trouble of a last-minute relocation.
2. Health of the Dog
Before embarking on your adventure, make sure all of Fido’s shots are up to date, and you’re taking measures to prevent fleas and ticks. If you happen to be camping in or near deep woods, the chances of running across rabid animals or picking up disease-carrying ticks increase.
3. Packing for Your Dog
Packing for a pet isn’t difficult, but do put some thought into it and make sure you have what you need for the safety of your dog as well as others.
Pack a sturdy leash and collar and enough food for the trip, plus an extra day’s worth in case of an emergency. Consider bringing your own supply of water from home. Many times, dogs get sick and vomit after drinking from new, unfamiliar water sources. Believe me, you don’t want a travel trailer or tent full of dog vomit. Also, bring along a couple of dog toys and a chewy bone. Finally, pack your dog’s shot record, and the name and phone number of your veterinarian.
4. Riding in the Truck
Before taking off, make sure your dog feels comfortable in the automobile you’re taking to the campsite. Can your dog get in and out easily? If your dog is older, consider using ramps to decrease the chance of injury as your dog climbs in and jumps out of the vehicle.
5. Obedience for Dog Safety
An obedient dog is an easy dog to camp with. On any camping excursion, your dog will experience an enormous sensory onslaught, and he’ll want to immediately go and see, smell, and investigate. It won’t take Fido long to catch the scent of something to grab his interest, and if you don’t have full command of the situation, you could easily see Fido for the last time as he disappears into the bushes chasing a rabbit, squirrel, or chipmunk.
6. Obedience for the Safety of Others
In consideration of the safety of others, your dog needs to be obedient to simple commands such as sit, stay, and come here. Many people, even people who love dogs, don’t necessarily want a strange one lunging or pawing at them in slobbery exuberance of finding someone new to sniff and lick.
Sebastian Paulin, Director of Operations at Love That Pet, says, “Whether it’s interacting with other people and animals or navigating environments unfamiliar to your furry friend, proper obedience is key to ensuring everyone has a happy and safe trip, including Fido.”
7. Dog’s Quarters
Will your dog be sleeping in your tent or camper with you, or will you have him tied up nearby? Most dogs like the comfort of sleeping inside with the human they adore, but if you must leave him outside, make sure he’s securely tied. Be sure to check on him frequently, and try to keep his barking to a minimum by giving him a large chewy bone or toy.
Camping can be a rewarding, fulfilling experience, and camping with your four-legged friend adds fun and excitement, as long as you’re following safety standards for you and your beloved pet. Fellow campers, as well as Fido, will thank you for it.
Bradley Berry is an Eagle Scout who loves being outside and working on his cars. As a huge “Going Green” advocate, Bradley volunteers in his own community, as well as trying to spread the word about the importance of becoming an environmentally-friendly community. When he’s not working, he can be found chasing his black lab Elvis up and down the beach with his two children.