Camping is one of the best family activities in which to participate, and the family dog can be a great companion if you go prepared. Dogs enjoy the outdoors, and camping with their family pack takes them back to their ancestral origins, and that, cannot be a bad thing. But camping is still a change from the norm that your dog may be used to so it is important to go prepared.
There are things to consider before you decide whether you should take your dog camping. Here is a list of questions to ask yourself, and answer honestly, before making a decision.
- Does your dog have any medical issues that might require immediate care?
- Does your dog get excited or stressed out easily?
- Does your dog bark at new things or just in general?
- Is your dog well trained and will respond to commands?
- Will you be able to keep your dog on a leash for an extended period of time?
- Is your dog socialized enough so that it doesn’t display aggressive behavior when encountering other dogs or animals?
If your answer is yes to one or more of these questions, then you may need to reconsider taking your pooch along on your camping trip. An alternative would be to start off with just a day trip, or a nature hike, and picnic and see how she handles the new experience.
Once you have decided to take the plunge and enjoy the outdoors with your furry family member, there are some things you can do, and items you can take with you in order to make the trip an enjoyable one, and be able to deal with any problems that might come up.
Before The Camping Trip
There are some basic things you need to take care of before heading out into nature.
- Make sure the campsite you are visiting is dog friendly.
- Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are all up to date.
- If you haven’t already, microchip your dog.
- Put flea and tick protection on your dog.
What to Pack for Your Dog’s Camping Trip
Having these items with you on your camping trip, will save you potential problems, and make the trip much more enjoyable.
- Collar and ID tag
- Short leash for walking, and long leash for tethering (adding a stake wouldn’t hurt either)
- A crate (ideally something that they are used to, and not something brand new)
- Food, water (dishes for both), and treats
- Bags for collecting poop
- Weather protection if necessary
- First aid kit (specifically designed for dogs), and dog brush
- Know the location and contact information for the nearest emergency pet hospital/clinic
With these preparations, you should be able to have an enjoyable camping trip and be ready for any eventualities. Of course, you will still have to keep an eye on your pooch while camping to make sure she doesn’t get herself in trouble, as she’ll be curious to explore her new surroundings. Also check her for any minor injuries (e.g. scratches, thorns), and keep an eye out for signs of exhaustion, dehydration or other health complications.