Every dog loves an outdoor adventure and camping is just more enjoyable when you can bring your best friend along. Dogs love to hit the hiking trails or take a swim in the lake just as much as we do, and with all the new smells, your dog will be in heaven. If you stay in a campground, there will be lots of people and other dogs to meet during your walks, and most dogs are happy to make new friends.
Preparation and planning are required for any camping trip, but if this is the first time you’ve gone camping with your dog, there are some additional things to consider. Here are our top tips for camping with your dog.
First and foremost, always call ahead to make sure your dog will be welcomed at the campground and at any other nearby places you plan to go. While most campgrounds are happy to accept dogs as long as they’re kept on a leash, there are some that don’t. The last thing you want is to have your vacation ruined because your favorite hiking trail or campground won’t allow your dog.
Dogs are funny creatures and you never know what’s going to scare them. If you can, set your tent and other gear up and give your dog a chance to check it all out. Introduce him to your Black Diamond Spot Headlamp and Nemo Sleeping Bag. It can’t hurt to let him give everything a good sniff before you go.
Make sure your pup’s vaccines are up to date before you go and bring a copy of the records with you, just in case there’s some kind of emergency. Know where the closest emergency vet to where you’re camping will be located and save their phone number in your cell phone. Make sure you have a first aid kit for you and one for your dog, too.
Your dog should have ID tags on with your cell phone number and name listed for the entire extent of your trip. An up-to-date microchip is also a good idea. Keep a photo of you and your dog on hand just in case there’s ever a need to prove he’s yours.
Bring a stake with a leash to secure your dog while you’re sitting by the campfire. Use a hammer to drive the stake in securely. Most campgrounds require dogs to be kept on a leash and that will satisfy the requirement. And, it will keep your curious pooch from wandering off to chase wildlife while you’re enjoying the stars. If your dog is used to sleeping in a crate, bring it along if you can. He’ll feel more secure if he has a familiar place to sleep, and it will keep him from getting into trouble while you’re asleep.
Extra towels will come in handy for numerous things on any camping trip, especially where your dog is concerned. If he goes for a swim, you’ll need one to dry him off. If he rolls in the mud you will need to give him a bath. FYI… Camp Suds can be used as dog shampoo in a pinch and the NEMO Helio Pressure Shower has plenty of pressure for a quick bath! Towels can also double as blankets next to the campfire or in the tent, too.
Dogs can overheat fast in the sun. Bring a Hexa S Pro. Air Shade Canopy along to provide shade and protection from the rain for your pooch while you’re in camp. And of course, make sure he always has access to clean drinking water.
Be sure to provide some sort of entertainment for your dog when you’re sitting at your campsite. Bones or chew toys are perfect, just be careful not to leave the bones out at night because they might attract wildlife.
Always be prepared to clean up after your dog with some biodegradable poop bags. It’s the courteous thing to do, and it encourages campgrounds to stay dog friendly.
Mosquitos are an issue for everyone when you’re camping, and dogs are no exception. Bring along a pet friendly insect repellant and make sure your dog is on heartworm prevention from the vet. Heartworms are transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
Dogs seem to find a way to get into trouble no matter what you do. Anytime your out in the woods, you should give your dog a thorough going over to check for things like ticks, fleas, burrs, thorns, and foxtails. Remove them immediately if you find them. It’s also a good idea to make sure your dog is on flea and tick prevention from the vet before you go.
Don’t ever leave your dog alone in the tent or car. They can get dangerously hot very fast. Just plan to keep your dog with you wherever you go while you’re camping.
One last thing… a tired dog is a happy dog. Not only will your dog enjoy long walks through the campground and nature hikes on the trails, but it will wear him out so he’s not barking or crying at the campsite. Campgrounds usually have rules about barking dogs and you don’t want to get scolded, or even thrown out. Tire him out during the day so he’ll be ready to relax with you by the campfire when evening rolls around.