Exploring nature, lounging around a campfire, and sleeping under the stars can be even more fun with your four-legged best friend. But camping with your dog takes some care and consideration. To make sure camping is fun and safe for your dog, consider these ideas on planning, packing, and protecting your dog from common hazards.
Long before you hit the road, double-check that your camping destination welcomes pets. Nothing ruins a camping trip like being turned away before you've even pitched your tent.
Also, think about your planned activities and make sure they can include your canine companion. Even in locations with pet-friendly campgrounds, there may be surrounding areas, such as certain hiking trails, that are closed to dogs.
Once you've confirmed your dog is welcome to join in on the fun, get your pal a vet visit. This ensures your dog is healthy and prepared for your camping adventure. If your dog isn't microchipped, it's worth considering in case your dog runs off to chase Big Foot. Arm your dog with flea and tick prevention and confirm your pet is up-to-date on all vaccinations, which is a requirement at most campgrounds.
In addition to your camping gear, you may need a separate suitcase for your doggy's gear:
Food bowl, water bowl, and dog food
Meal prep for your pup and bring a collapsible bowl for your dog to eat or drink out of. If you plan on doing a lot of hiking or other outdoor activities with your dog while camping, check out the Go! Solutions Carnivore recipes for maximum meat protein to support strong, lean muscles in meat-loving dogs.
Dog treats and toys
If you're indulging in smores, your four-legged friend should get something special, too.
Leash, harness/collar, IDs
Check the leash length--most campgrounds limit leashes to six feet. Also, check for other restrictions--not all campgrounds allow retractable leashes.
In addition to your pet's usual ID, also prepare for a temporary ID that can list your campsite information.
Include a dog brush, towels, dog first-aid kit, and any prescription meds. And then maybe a few more towels.
Dog waste can harm local ecosystems and stepping in it can ruin another camper's day.
Bring vet records, information on the nearest emergency vet services, and a picture of your pooch. Just in case your dog gets loose, having a picture can be a big help in the search effort.
Dog bed and/or crate
Your best friend deserves a good night's sleep.
All the planning and packing is well worth it when it means enjoying time outside with your dog. To ensure you and your dog have a great time, pay special attention to your dog's water, temperature, paws, and sleeping arrangements.
At your campsite and on day excursions, make sure your pet has plenty of water--and that may be more than usual, especially if you're hiking and playing outdoors. Even just the stress of being in new territory may make your dog want to drink extra. If possible, leave a water bowl in the shade and check it regularly to remove dirt and debris that will inevitably take over.
In addition to providing plenty of fresh water, do not let your dog drink or play in water without checking that it's safe. Blue-green algae can be deadly to dogs. According to the ASPCA, "Water containing toxic algae blooms will often have the appearance of a pea-green paint or will appear as if there's slime on the surface." If you see scum on the water, keep your dog away!
Wet pet food contains water, so it is a good choice to keep your pet hydrated. Go! Solutions Tetra Pak®wet food recipes are a good option for your dog. While it does not replace water consumption it does play a crucial role in providing much needed moisture.
Keeping fresh, cold water goes a long way to making sure your dog stays cool, but also be aware of the temperature and activity levels that may put your dog at risk of overheating. Make sure your dog has a shady option during the afternoon's hot sun.
Your dog's paws will face many obstacles on a camping trip--hot or cold pavement, bugs and burrs, rocks and gravel. Your dog might be very appreciative of pet booties to protect those precious paws. But beware--not every dog is super excited about booties, especially the first time around. If possible, practice at home to help your dog get used to the idea before you reach your campsite.
When the time comes for nighty night at your campsite, keep your dog with you in your car or tent. If possible, use a vehicle or tent that will accommodate your dog's usual sleeping arrangements, whether that be a dog bed, crate, or snuggling under the covers with you. This will help your dog feel comfortable and will offer the best chance for a good night's sleep for everyone.
Your dog will love bonding with you in nature and, thanks to the effort you put into planning, packing and protecting your pooch, you will both be happy campers!