Traveling with dogs takes some extra planning and effort, but if you’re staying in a pet-friendly hotel or with friends or relatives, you’ve probably got most things figured out. Camping with dogs, however, is a bit of a different story. Although easily done, there are precautions to take to ensure you both have a fun and safe time.
#1 – Plan Accordingly
Most national parks allow dogs in campgrounds, but not on trails. While it would be fun to take them everywhere, there are good reasons that dogs are prohibited in many natural places. It’s unsafe to leave dogs unattended in the car, especially if it’s hot and you’re away on a hike, so you’ll want to make sure that being limited to only one or two trails is something you’re willing to work with.
#2 – Canine First-Aid
If your dog gets sick or injured camping, you’ll want to be sure you have the right tools needed to help. Many human medications are dangerous for our dogs to take, so packing the right ones is important. Consult your veterinarian about what’s best to take so you can be positive that any treatments you have available won’t make things worse.
#3 – Train
A poorly behaved dog is a nuisance. Even if you have a social butterfly, unsolicited greetings from a strange dog will disturb many campers. Make sure you have basic obedience, including a solid recall, before decided to camp with your dog. Even if you do have great obedience, it’s usually required to keep your dog leashed and you should be abiding by campsite rules at all times.
#4 – Watch for Wildlife
If you’re camping, chances are you’re going to run into wildlife of some sort. Not only is it unfair to the wildlife to let your dog interact with them, it can be very dangerous for your dog. Wild animals are just that – wild. If pups chase prey, even if they don’t intend to hurt it, the prey will defend itself. Deer, elk, bear, cougars, badgers, snakes and more can be very deadly opponents for your dog.
#5 – Be Prepared
If you’re tent camping, you’re exposed to the elements of the earth. You might also find yourself staying out longer than you expected. Make sure to bring a lot of extra food and water for both you and your dog. You never know when you’re going to need it, and hauling the extra weight is well worth taking the risk of finding yourself in need. Active dogs need extra calories and hydration too, so make sure you are providing proper nutrition for your companion. You also want to make sure your dog is ready! If your dog has never been camping before, start with short trips at first before embarking on a long adventure.
#6 – Leave No Trace
Please clean up after your dog and make sure everything is left as it was when you arrived. It’s difficult enough to find campsites and hiking trails to take our canine companions, so please don’t ruin the fun for the rest of the responsible dog owners out there. “Leave no trace” applies to humans as well as dogs.
Camping with your dog can be one of the most rewarding vacations you take together. Most dogs enjoy being active outdoors with their families. When done safely and responsibly, it can be an activity you enjoy together for the rest of your lives. Just think of the many places you can see and the adventures you’ll have!
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