7 Tips for Summertime Camping with Your Dog
Summertime, a time for us to escape the daily stress of life and have fun, reconnecting with family and friends within nature. All our senses are awakened to the outdoors. We take our four-legged best friend for longer walks, we share ice cream with them and throw a frisbee endlessly for both their and our enjoyment. Life is good, we experience in the joy of summer more completely with our dogs.
A most treasured summertime hobby that is loved by many is camping. A chance to submerge ourselves within nature. The sight and sound of a beautiful waterfall cascading over rocks, the mossy smell while hiking through a woodland glen. The taste and smell of great food cooked simply over a primitive campfire or the sight of an endless field of wildflowers. An earthly pastime that we embrace completely because we know it is only here for a short period of time.
Since our life wouldn’t be complete if we left our dog behind when camping, we wouldn’t dream of going without them, it just wouldn’t be nearly as much fun or as enjoyable.
For our furry best friend this is the epitome of being right at home, being outside with their companion. Oh sure, they love sleeping on the bed, licking the plates clean and chasing the birds away from the bird feeder at home but camping, that is truly living.
Here are 7 tips to get prepared for camping with your dog and keep you having fun while doing it.
1. Camp Location - Dogs Welcome and Safe
When searching for a pet friendly campground using the internet or other dog owners will help you on your journey to discover the perfect campsite.
Once a campground is selected find out their rules and regulations for having a dog while camping, not every campground will have the same set of rules so read carefully.
If traveling far from home, use www.aaha.com to find an animal hospital nearby in case of emergencies and for all of your dog’s healthcare needs.
The location will also be an important factor in your overall planning. Is it a beach campground with no natural shade? Will there be lots of grass and wooded areas with potential for ticks and other pests? Will there be lots of other people in close proximity? Will there be lots of children playing? How about other pets? Do you research before you make your decision. You do not want to arrive unprepared!
2. Veterinary Care in Case Your Furry BFF in Case of Emergency
Prior to your camping trip schedule a visit for your dog to the Veterinarian.
Mention your trip to the veterinarian and ask them to check overall health of your dog.
Make sure your dog’s vaccines are up to date and get any necessary shots prior to leaving for your trip.
Refill and dispense medications such as Heartworm and Flea & Tick medication, ensuring they are covered medically while you are camping outdoors.
Discuss any health issues and details about what you will be doing on your trip to ensure your dog is physically able to handle it.
Address any concerns you have about wild animals, your dog’s temperament and the overall trip.
Take a copy of your dogs’ vaccine and healthy checkup with you to carry on your trip.
Carry your dog license with you wherever you travel.
3. Let Your Dog Check out the Camping Supplies
While packing for the trip let your dog participate, smelling the items, watching you check to make sure the tent works, the lanterns, etc.
Deal with any behavior problems that arise during packing. If they fear the tent, assemble it and let them play with a chew toy inside or even go so far as to have a overnight camp out in the backyard for you and your dog to test the waters prior to the trip.
4. Camping Essentials - Your Dogs' Needs are Unique
Start with portable food and water bowls, plus food and water and lots of it. They eat more just like we do. All that fresh air, hiking and playing outdoors makes a dog hungrier and thirstier, be prepared.
Having a few extra leashes and collars in case they break, get lost or chewed not to mention a stake and tether to keep your dog in one location during certain camping situations.
A dog crate, dog tent or other type of sleeping space that is both comfortable and safe.
Bringing a selection of assorted toys for their entertainment when you are cooking a meal or relaxing would put a smile on their furry face.
A first aid kit and book that are designed just for the care of a dog plus poop bags and information on poisonous plants would ensure your dogs’ safety and well-being and give you peace of mind.
It is always necessary to bring extra towels, wash clothes and blankets for drying off and keeping your dog clean and warm.
To round out the list we have dog friendly insect repellent and any medications that your dog may need on the trip.
Better to carry extra items and be prepared than be forced to leave or cut your stay short because something is missing.
5. Give Your Canine Pal a Training Refresher Course before Hitting the Trail
In advance of your trip practice daily the essential training commands your dog has learned.
If needed spend extra time going over areas, you or your dog are lacking in skill.
Ensure all obedience skills come natural for their safety and the enjoyment of everyone camping.
Commands to review are sit, stay, come and down, the very basics.
6. Upon Arrival - Your Dog will be Excited, be Ready
Your dog will be excited upon arrival, if possible, take on a nice walk before setting up letting them explore with their senses this new territory you have taken them to.
Decide on a safe place to tether your dog so you can set up the site, if you tie a rope between two trees and attach the leash, it will provide a bit more room for them to roam. Be sure your dog is secure, they will many new sites, sounds, smells to tempt your dog to run.
Make sure you provide food and water and some toys for entertainment and spray with dog friendly insect repellent.
Before bedtime rolls around decide on sleeping habits, how and where your dog is going to sleep.
Try to use the same scheduling that you have at home for eating, bathroom trips and sleep, it will provide them with a sense of peace and calm in unfamiliar territory having something they know and can count on.
7. Camping Etiquette for Dogs Matters Too
Always keep your dog on a leash for their safety and the respect of other campers.
Remember to ensure that your dog has plenty of water on hand that is changed regularly throughout day and take your dog on many walks with you to provide new smells and a tired body which will mean a better-behaved dog, meaning less barking and wildness.
At the end of each hiking trek or before bedtime take a quick check for ticks, thorns and other outdoors annoyances, the sooner they are removed the better.
Always cleanup after your dog, most states and facilities have a policy about litter and waste management.
Never leave your dog alone or unattended in the campground, they run the risk of running into wild creatures or other situations that can cause harm.
Camping with your dog is a memorable experience that strengthens the bond your already have. Spending time outdoors, seeking adventures and exploring the natural world around you with your furry companion offers many possibilities for fun. Some activities you can do while camping with your dog include hiking, canoeing and bicycling. The possibilities are nearly endless for fun between you and your furry best friend. To locate a camping facility that accepts pets you can go to BringFido.com.
On occasion problems do arise so it is best to be as prepared as possible. For instance, running into a wild animal that your dog is intrigued by and want to follow can create new hiking paths that shouldn’t be explored for their safety and yours. Gourmet eats are all around, you will want to be very mindful of what they eat or taste, all plants aren’t pet friendly. Poisonous plants and mushrooms are all over in the outdoors and it only takes a split second for them to taste or eat something they shouldn’t have. Better to be safe than sorry and err on the side of caution than guess about a plants safety and risk your dog’s health.
Tossing a ball or frisbee becomes new and exciting because of the change of scenery by being outdoors. The dietary offerings will be more to his or her liking as you roast hot dogs and marshmallows over a fire. Hikes will be more exhilarating for you both to share in the new sights and smells. Who knows your dog might join in on a song or two as you play the acoustic guitar at the end of the night? Have a great scary story to tell, they will dutifully listen to the horror of it all, inching closer for comfort.
Camping is a time to recharge your batteries and reconnect with nature and your family before returning to your demanding career. Bringing your dog along is a wonderful way to strengthen the bond you already share with them. There is nowhere else you dog would rather be than right beside you as you are enjoying these priceless and memorable summertime moments.
Please share how our tips help you on your camping excursion with your dog or if you have any other great tips in the comments section below.