A camping trip is even more fun when you have your canine companion with you.
Imagine the adventures you will have as you follow your dog after a scampering rabbit, splash together in the river or share a fireside meal with one another.
If you are taking your dog camping with you, though, then there are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind to ensure your time together is a pleasant one.
1. Find a pet-friendly campsite
Your first order of business should be to find a campsite that works for both you and your dog.
You’ll want to have fresh water nearby, if at all possible. This will allow your dog to have easy access to water whenever she likes.
If you have an inside dog, then it is even more important that she have enough water to drink, as she will become dehydrated more easily than a dog that is used to being outdoors all the time.
You also want enough room to set up your tent and fire and leave enough room for your dog to have a place to sleep.
Be sure the campsite is clear of brush, tall grass and other places where ticks could hide, as these will attach onto your dog and make her time outdoors miserable.
2. Bring medical equipment to treat problems
There are all sorts of things that can go wrong when you are on a camping trip, and while those issues may be minor back home, out in the wild away from civilization, it can be harder to deal with.
If your dog suffers a broken leg, gets cut or is otherwise injured, then you need to have some way to treat the problem while your dog is waiting for professional treatment from a vet.
You need a way to stop bleeding, splint a broken bone or treat rashes, bites and other issues that can happen when you are camping.
DogTime has a really great list of things that you should bring whenever you travel with your dog.
3. Help your dog keep pace
A lot of camping trips are also biking or hiking trips.
Despite your dog’s enthusiasm, you’ll need to take regular rest stops to stop them from over exerting themselves.
Keep a close eye on the weather. Overheating is a very real danger, and you won’t be able to receive medical help easily. Make use of shade, water streams, or outfit your dog with a reflective cool-coat to keep their body temperature down.
Bring a collapsible bowl and some extra water. For longer trips bring some pet food to keep their energy up.
Your dog may not be able to keep up with your biking speed and may get tired out before you want to end your trail run. In that case, you can bring along a dog bike trailer. This is a small cart that attaches to your bike and allows your dog to rest in style while you bike to your heart’s content.
4. Keep your dog secure
You never know what kind of creatures are out there in the woods where you are camping, and you don’t know for sure how your dog will react when they are around them.
A bear or wolf could cause your dog to run off in fear. A rabbit or squirrel could cause your dog to give chase. You can end up with a missing pet if you don’t have a way to secure your pooch up during the night.
Make sure you bring a tether, stake, a strong leash and anything else you’ll need to secure your dog when you set up camp.
The strange noises in the night that spook you could also spook your dog and cause her to disappear into the darkness, making it very difficult for you to find her and causing you worry.
A strong tether and secure harness will keep them in place. And we recommend a GPS beacon in case they get loose and you need to find them again.
You might be surprised at how strong your dog can be when spooked, agitated or curious about sounds in the great outdoors, so make sure that the leash is long enough to wrap around a tree and ensure that any tethering equipment you bring can be used to secure your dog to something solid.
5. Bring poo bags for cleanup
As a responsible camper it’s your duty to leave no trace behind.
Just like parks and busy city streets, outdoor trails will have pedestrians on them who will not take kindly to stepping in your dog’s mess, so be sure to pack what you need to clean up after your dog.
Besides common courtesy there’s another reason to clean up – dog poop can attract bears.
That’s right, bears have incredibly sense of smell. And they can smell the undigested food left from your dog (and from very long distances).
So do your duty of picking up dooty to keep yourself (and others) safe.
6. Take a trip to the vet before you leave
It’s important to take your dog to the vet before you leave for your camping adventure.
Ensure they’re updated on their vaccinations – specifically for Parvo and Rabies. Birds, Raccoons, and other woodland creatures can spread these diseases through their feces.
Furthermore, your dog could have an underlying medical problem that you are not aware of, and you need to be prepared to deal with it if a problem occurs while you are camping.
Also, you want to make sure your dog is up for the trip. Camping is a a huge change in environment for an indoor dog. And older dogs may struggle to keep up.
You’ll want your dog in her best possible health for the adventure.