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How To Go Camping With Dogs

Many of us consider dogs parts of our families. This means we want them around us as much as possible. If you have a dog in your family, you probably look for ways to include your pup in your activities. Fortunately, RVing is the perfect activity for dog lovers and their pups. To help you have the most success in terms of fun and safety when RVing with dogs, we’ve put together some useful information.

Include Your Pup When Picking a Location

Campers often pick campsites based on the type of environment they enjoy being in and what kind of natural features they like being around. Just like humans, dogs have preferences when it comes to environments. Some dogs love to play in and around water. Other dogs don’t appreciate water and would rather take a hike in the mountains. Some dogs just want to run in large, open spaces.

When you’re planning your camping trip, take into consideration what your dog loves. If he loves water, make a lake or river location a priority. If you and your pal are hikers, choose a place near trails. Perhaps a location that has a combination of features is best.

If you’re not sure what your dog likes, there’s only one way to find out: get out there and explore.

Bring Along Familiar Items

Part of the reason campers love camping is because it gives them a break from the norm. It gives them the chance to get out, have an adventure, relax away from everyday life, and get in deep with nature. While our dogs also love this adventure, they still need to feel safe and have some sense of normalcy.  Nothing says comfort and safety like the familiarity of home.

The best way to give your dog the comforts of home while in a new environment is by bringing a few of his or her familiar items along with you. Instead of having separate camping gear for your dog, bring along their usual beds or blankets as well as a favorite toy. Feed them from the same food and water dishes that you do at home. It’s also important to feed your dog the same food. Humans may eat specific camping foods while gathered around the campfire, but for the sake of their digestion, dogs shouldn’t. All of this familiarity reduces the shock of changing pace and environment.

Keep up Some of Your Dog’s Routines

Another aspect of life that dogs take comfort in is a daily routine. For humans, camping is all about breaking from normal daily rituals. However, dogs still need at least some of their routine to remain intact. Most importantly, dogs need to keep their regular feeding times. Remember to adjust food amounts based on how much more exertion your dog gets while camping.

When it comes to bed times, some dogs are fine veering off the normal path. Every dog is different, and no one knows your pup better than you do, so play this by ear. Some dogs love to hang out by the campfire with their humans until the wee hours of the night. Others expect to get into their bed at their usual time. Observe your pup and do what’s best for them.

Use the Leash

Depending on where you go camping, leash laws may apply. Familiarize yourself with these laws before you go, especially if you plan to go off-leash at any point during your trip. When going off-leash, keep in mind that even the most well-behaved dogs can have incidents. Animals in the wild, making sounds and scurrying from tree to tree, can sometimes be too much for your dog to resist. They can entice your dog and inspire them to give chase and pull far away from their human. Also, consider that no matter the leash laws, other campers could have their dogs off-leash. You never know how those dogs will react to yours if they come in contact.

If you’d like to keep your dog leashed at the campsite while still allowing them to enjoy some freedom alongside their humans, helpful products exist. Consider looking into specialty camping stakes made just for this purpose. Portable pet playpens and enclosures, some made specifically for camping, may also be right for you and your dog.

Keep an Eye Out    

To get the most fun out of your camping trip with your dog, keep an eye out for potential harms that could injure your dog and interrupt your good time. Don’t let worry ruin your trip, but be mindful of your surroundings.

Discourage your dog from chewing on unfamiliar grasses and plants. There are many poisonous species of flora out there. If you’re unsure about its effects, don’t let your pup munch.

It’s not uncommon for dogs to be popped by a spitting campfire. When that fire starts crackling, keep an eye out for wayward sparks and embers that could jump out at your dog.

While on walks and hikes, watch for holes. A misstep could twist your pup’s leg. The owner of a burrow could bite or scratch a curious snout.

Always practice water safety while camping. Use life vests for humans and dogs appropriately. Keep aware while in and around bodies of water. If playing in water, be aware of depth and flow. Rivers are often deceptive in that they can flow faster than they appear.

Prepare Before You Go

Nothing sets you up for a stellar camping season with your dog better than preparedness. If you do as much as you can in the beginning, you’ll reduce the amount of worry and the amount of potential incidents than if you don’t prepare. Once ready for the season, you can relax and concentrate on having great camping trips.

Just before the season starts, make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccines. Tell your vet about your plans to camp and about the environments in which you’ll be spending your time. This will allow them to recommend anything specific to these adventures. Also be sure to get on a flea and tick prevention regimen.

Another important aspect of preparation is putting together first aid and emergency kits. These are essential pieces of camping gear for both humans and dogs. They should include items such as emergency blankets, bandages, gauze, medical tape, scissors, styptic powder, peroxide, antiseptics, ice pack, tweezers, and other care items. You can either make your own kits or purchase those designed specifically for pets.

Many campers find keeping checklists helpful. Make a list of all items you’ll need to pack in your RV for all humans and pets. Consider laminating it so you can reuse it each time you go camping. With this, you’ll never forget an essential item.

Camping with dogs is wonderful for humans and dogs alike. It has it all: nature, adventure, relaxation, and escape. The best way for all to enjoy is to keep safe, be prepared, and do a little pre-planning. Go somewhere that fits human and dog interests. Bring along familiar pieces of home that your dog can rely on for comfort. Stay observant of your surroundings and be careful when allowing your dog to roam off-leash. Finally, enjoy your time camping with your dog!

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