Camping with Dogs
One great thing about going camping is that you can often bring your dog along if you want to. However, of course, there are some extra steps that you will need to take if you are planning on doing so. These are a few helpful tips to help you plan for camping with dogs.
Schedule a Vet Appointment First
First of all, if you have not taken your dog to the vet in a while, it’s not a bad idea to schedule an appointment before you leave for your trip. Then, you can make sure that your beloved pet has a clean bill of health before you head off on your trip, and you can make sure that your dog is up-to-date on its vaccinations. If your dog takes medication, then you may need to ask your vet for a refill to help ensure that you have enough medication to last until you return from your trip. You may also want to consider having your dog microchipped, if you have not done so already, just in case it happens to get lost while you are traveling.
Gather Your Dog’s Documentation
Before you leave, it’s a good idea to gather up all of your dog’s documents. For example, you will need to bring along proof that your dog is up-to-date on its rabies vaccination. Additionally, you should make sure that your dog’s license and tags are up-to-date. This can help you ensure that your dog will be returned to you in the event that it gets lost while you’re camping.
Have Your Dog Groomed
When you plan on camping with dogs, you will probably want them to be nice and clean if they’ll be sharing close quarters with you and your family. Therefore, it’s not a bad idea to groom your dog before you leave on your trip. You can bath your dog, brush or comb it and give it a haircut if needed, or you can hire a pet groomer to do this for you so that you have more time to prepare for your trip. It’s also a good idea to clip your dog’s nails, clean its teeth and clean its ears. Then, your dog can be nice, clean and presentable when it’s time for you to leave for your camping trip.
Make Sure You Find the Right Campground
There are a lot of campgrounds out there that are dog-friendly, but it’s important to realize that not all of them are. You don’t want to head to a campground with your pet in tow only to find that dogs aren’t allowed, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time. Then, you can help ensure that you find a campground where your furry friend will be welcome. Once you choose your campground, make sure that you inquire about any dog-related rules that you need to know about; for example, you might be required to keep your dog on a leash while in the campground, and your dog might not be allowed in certain common areas. Being respectful of the rules of the campground can help you ensure that your dog continues to be welcome during the stay and that you won’t be fined for breaking any rules.
Plan for Pet-Friendly Activities
Of course, when you’re on your camping trip, you are probably going to want to get out and about. This means that you may need to find pet-friendly activities so that you can ensure that your dog is welcome as well. For example, if you are traveling to the coast, you may want to compare beaches so that you can find one where dogs are allowed. If you’re planning on hiking, make sure that you look for hiking trails where dogs can be brought along.
You can also plan pet-specific activities for your trip. For example, you may want to research local dog parks in the area that you will be visiting. Then, you can make a pit stop at the dog park so that your dog can have fun playing with other canines and running around without a leash for a little while.
Invest in a Good Harness, Leash, and Stake
You will need to keep your buddy secured when you are camping with dogs. Therefore, it’s a good idea to go ahead and invest in a good, secure, properly fitting harness for your dog. A collar can work as well, but it can be easier for a dog to slip out of a collar and getaway. A harness can be more secure and more comfortable for your pet, making it possible for your dog to enjoy the trip and for you to gain peace of mind in knowing that your dog is secure.
Additionally, you will need a good leash. In fact, you may want to bring both a leash that you can use while you are walking your dog and a cable that you can use to tie your dog up when you need to free your hands. For example, if you bring along a secure cable and a stake that you can put into the ground, you can allow your dog to hang out with your family while you’re sitting around the campfire or otherwise hanging out at your campsite, and you won’t have to worry about holding on to your dog’s leash the entire time. Just make sure that the cable is strong enough that your dog cannot snap or break it.
Alternatively, you could bring along a small, portable dog pen that you can set up beside your tent or RV so that your dog will have a safe place to play, relieve itself and relax. Just make sure that you have enough space to bring it along with you, and ensure that you choose a dog pen that is secure and that is tall enough that your dog cannot easily get out of it. You should be able to find a good portable option at your local pet store.
Pack Your Dog’s Essentials Separately
You are going to need to bring along some essentials for your dog. For best results, you may want to pack them in a separate bag; then, you can keep the bag close by so that you can grab your dog’s necessities while you’re camping. These are some of the things that you will probably want to pack for your canine companion:
- Dog food and a dog food bowl
- A portable water bowl that you can carry along with you when you’re hiking or exploring
- Dog treats
- A first aid kit with dog supplies
- Bags for picking up your dog’s waste
Determine Where Your Dog Will Sleep
Of course, when camping with dogs, it’s important to make plans for where your dog will sleep. If your dog is usually kept in a crate at night, you will need to bring along a crate that you can use for this purpose. If you are going to be sleeping in a large tent or an RV, then you might have room for a nice dog bed. Of course, if you’re like some pet owners, you may want to allow your pet to sleep with you. Just be careful if you are using an air mattress since your dog’s nails could puncture a hole in the air mattress if you aren’t careful.
Make a Plan for Supervision for Your Dog
It is important not to leave your dog unsupervised when you are camping. Therefore, you will need to have a plan in mind for how you will make sure that your dog is supervised during your trip. For example, one family member might choose to stay in the car or RV while the others go into a rest area; then, when someone else returns, that family member can take a break. By making plans now, you can help ensure that your dog is not left unattended. This is important for a few reasons; for example, it can help you ensure that your dog does not become a nuisance for others, and it can help you ensure that your dog does not become overheated in a hot car or otherwise become injured or sick while out of your care.
Create an Emergency Plan
You never know what could happen when you, your family and your dog are camping. Therefore, it’s important to have an emergency plan in place. When it comes to coming up with an emergency plan for your dog, it’s a good idea to find out about a local veterinarian who you can contact in the event that your dog gets injured or sick. Then, you can keep the phone number and address close by in case you need it.
Camping with dogs can be a lot of fun for the entire family. However, it is important to be prepared. If you follow these steps before your trip, you can help ensure that everything goes smoothly when you bring your four-legged family member along with you.