Does your dog love the great outdoors as much as you? You can take your dog camping with you, and the two of you can have a great time as you explore the wonders of nature. Whether you go camping on foot or in an RV, there are plenty of ways for man and canine to enjoy the experience of camping. You only need to keep a few things in mind to create an enjoyable time for both of you, and you’re sure to make plenty of great memories along the way.
Note: If camping in a pay-to-camp-area, you may have to pay an extra fee for your pet to be with you; this is common in some areas. Be sure that you check to see the pet regulations and requirements before you go.
Is Your Dog Suitable for Camping?
Not every breed is made for camping. Some dogs aren’t as athletic as others, or may have long coats with can get tangeled with burrs and other debris, or may not have the longevity of herding breeds. Whether your dog should go camping is ultimately up to you and your vet, but the following breeds generally do well camping:
- Golden Retreivers
- Labroador Retrievers
- Border Collies
- Cattle Dogs
These are the dogs who likely be energetic for trail runs, wilderness exploration, and hikes. You’ll also need to look at your dog’s temperment. Is she happy go lucky and loves people she encounters? She’ll probably do well while camping, because she can be laidback and enjoy the sights and sounds. Dogs that are nervous, anxious, and fearful of new things aren’t a good choice for camping, because you’ll only make yourself and your dog miserable. If your dog doesn’t respond to commands like “sit” “stay” and “come,” you may want to wait until your dog knows these commands before taking her in the outdoors.
Food and Other Basic Needs
Before you go into the wilderness for the first time with your dog, you need to make sure that your pups basic needs are met; these needs include food, water and other concerns.
You should first make sure that your dog is wearing a collar with identification in case she gets lost while you’re in the outdoors – we hate to think it, but pets can get easily lost and having ID on your dog will increase the chance she’ll be returned to you. Make sure that the ID tag has your most recent contact information such as a cell phone, address and email.
As for food, you should bring enough food to sustain your dog for as long as you’re going camping plus one extra day. You may to invest in an energy bar or two for your dog – there are pet-centric energy bars that provide balanced nutrition and energy for dogs who are hiking and doing other outdoor activities. Keep the food in well-sealed bags to ensure freshness. Your dog will also need plenty of water and you can bring along several bottles of water in a pack to give to your dog. You shouldn’t let your dog drink from streams, puddles and other strange bodies of water, or she may get sick. A collapsible drinking dish set is a good investment as is a blanket or portable dog bed for comfort.
You will need to make sure that you can sufficiently clean up after your dog, and you can do by bringing waste bags. You should invest in biodegredable ones as these will break down along with the solids, and are better for the environment. If your dog makes a mess on the trail, please be mindful of others and clean up after her.
Take care to keep dog supplies handy so you can access them quickly. Your dog can even wear a backpack or saddle bag for her gear; you can find them in the pet stores or outdoor recreation stores. Just be sure you keep the bag fairly light or your dog will be carrying too much weight, which can exhaust her.
Have a leash or lead available to clip on your dog if needed, even if she follows you offleash. Certain parks may require you leash your dog and you’ll need to follow their instructions. You’ll also need to pack a doggie First Aid Kit – you can purchase one online or make your own with these Humane Society tips. It goes without saying you should pack your own human First Aid supplies as well.
Consult with your vet before you take off on your adventure, especially if going to a new location or if this is the first time your dog will go camping with you.