Take Your Dog Camping This Summer
The kids are out of school, the weather is warming up, and it’s time to start thinking about fun summer activities. Families that love the outdoors will be looking forward to several summer camping trips this year. With plenty of wilderness adventure, clean crisp air, swimming, food and fun, it’s hard to imagine the experience getting even better but there is one little thing that could be missing from your trip - your dog. Camping is the perfect pet friendly trip that can create amazing memories for you and your pup.
Is Camping Right For Your Dog?
Camping seems like the perfect hobby for any dog. They get to be with you and be outside playing at the same time. There are rocks and branches everywhere, all kinds of critters, yummy smelling campfire food, creeks to jump in, the list goes on. But camping might not be suitable for all dogs. It all comes down to training and personality. Camping dogs have to be well trained. Most importantly they need to be able to not bark constantly, be able to sit, stay and “leave it” on command and generally be pretty brave and confident. Personality wise, camping is best for dogs that enjoy being outside, are more active, and like a little adventure in their lives. Tiny dogs that have been pampered and carried in purses might not enjoy the rough and tumble camping life.
Choosing A Pet-Friendly Campsite
Do your research when selecting a campground if you plan to take your dog with you. Many do allow dogs but some have restrictions such as leash rules and who can be on the hiking trails. Most developed campgrounds, public grounds and National Parks do accept dogs. Most have rules about where dogs can sleep and of course you are expected to pick up after you pet. Also select a campground around what experiences you want to have with your pet. For example, a lake is great if your pet loves to swim but a creek would be better for jumping around and playing in.
What To Pack For Your Pooch
Packing for a camping trip with your dog takes more strategic planning but it’s totally worth it! Once you’ve packed for yourself and your family, it’s time to focus on Fido and make sure you have everything your fur baby might need while away from home and spending a lot of time outside. Here are some examples of things you have to be sure to pack when going camping with a dog:
- Bottled water and food (take more than you think you will need and make sure that the food is tightly sealed so you don’t attract unwanted wildlife to your campsite).
- A dog-specific water bottle and collapsible bowl for when you are out hiking and exploring away from the campsite.
- A canine backpack to carry around your dog’s belongings.
- Blanket or sleeping pad, even outdoor loving dogs like to be comfortable!
- Reflective dog leash and collar and make sure your tags are up to date with good contact information.
- Dog waste bags for cleaning up after your pet.
- Brush or comb for untangling burrs in hair and looking for ticks.
- One or two favorite toys incase of long nights or bad weather.
- First aid kit for dogs (make sure to include tweezers and mineral oil for tick removal).
Activities For Camping With Dogs
The pure joy dogs exhibit while running around the woods, jumping over logs and splashing about in creek beds reminds us to live in the moment too and increases our own joy exponentially. Truly, you have not experienced camping fully if you’ve been leaving your very good doggo at home. Dogs enjoy most of the same activities that humans do while camping but their incredible sense of smell and their innocent jubilance makes it all the more enjoyable.
Hiking and exploring - dogs love to go on long walks with you, there are so many sights and sounds that you never take the same walk twice while camping.
Swimming and Creek Walking - many dog breeds love to swim and almost all will enjoy walking along the shallow water’s edge looking at minnows and frogs and rocks that look suspiciously like frogs.
Campfire Time - Your dog will love sitting next to you while you roast hotdogs and tell stories. Nighttime can be very excellent for listening for critters and watching the stars.
Sleeping In A Tent - sleeping outside is one of the many joys of camping. Make sure there is room for your dog in your tent since you don’t want them mingling with any nocturnal wildlife like skunks in the middle of the night!
Last Minute Tips For Camping With Dogs
Make sure to be good camping neighbors, especially when camping with dogs. This includes keeping your dog near you and not letting them wander around to other campsites, limiting noise and barking, and cleaning up dog waste.
Did you know dogs can get sunburned? Some dogs are more susceptible than others such as dogs with white fur or short hair. Make sure to give your dog plenty of shade and if it’s a concern you can even get pet friendly sunscreen, check with your vet before camping.
Although your dog has a fur coat they can get chilly when the temperature drops at night, be sure to bring an extra blanket for your pup and let them sleep next to you in your tent.
Do not let you dog drink standing water out of puddles as they can harbor bacteria. This is why you brought the water bottle and collapsible bowl. If you notice your dog is thirsty make sure to offer them clean water to drink.
Check often for ticks and remove them promptly. Ticks can be dangerous to both humans and dogs and dog fur can make them harder to spot. Check at least nightly or twice a day.
If you research, pack well and keep these tips in mind then you and your dog will have a great time camping together for years to come!