February 21, 2019
Who says camping is only for us humans?
Dogs love camping as much as we do! Dogs will be dogs, and the call of adventuring in the wild always brings out the explorer in them. Campsites have tons of different sights, sounds, smells and things to chase. Your dog will have his paws full!
But taking your dog camping with you is leagues different from spending an hour or two in the local park. If you’re thinking of roughing it with your dog, careful planning and preparation are in order.
A List of To Dos and Don’ts When Camping with Your Dog
Here are a few Dos and Don’ts for your camping trip:
DO include your dog in ALL your plans.
You’ve decided to bring your dog camping you. That’s great! But going on a camping trip with Fido means that all your plans should include him. The whole point of camping is to relax, bond and be happy while enjoying the outdoors.
If you’re planning a camping activity that your dog can’t join, then it’s best if you let him stay with friends and family or at a dog hotel.
DON’T leave your dog in the tent or leashed alone in your camp.
Remember your camp is not home, and you can never leave your dog inside the tent or tied to a leash while you trek off-site. Your dog may bark and bother other campers when you’re not around. A dog will make short work of a tent, leaving you both without a secure place to sleep.
Tying your dog on a leash is also dangerous for your dog because he won’t be able to defend himself or run away in case of a wild animal attack.
DO some research on dog-friendly campsites and give them a call.
Now that you have a plan, it’s time to make a few calls. Do a bit of research on campsites in your area that allow pets. Each camp or national park will have their own set of rules. Make sure to read all about their rules and regulations about bringing your dog!
Some campsites have a limit on the number of pets allowed, so make sure to call them beforehand to reserve a slot. While you’re on the phone, ask the camp coordinator if they have any activities for dogs.
DON’T try to wing it and head to a campsite without calling.
While going camping on a whim is an adventure, remember that your dog is tagging along with you. Dogs need special care and attention, especially when traveling. The last thing you want to happen is traveling cross country with Fido and ending up sleeping in your car because all the campsites are full.
DO take your dog to the vet before your trip.
Before you head for the hills, take your dog to the vet first. A pre-camp checkup will make sure Fluffy is fit enough for travel and the outdoors. This is also the time to get your dog’s vaccination records in order.
DON’T let your dog eat or drink anything on the trail.
While the outdoors is full of exotic stuff that will put your dog’s senses into overdrive, don’t let her go nuts! Stop your dog from licking, eating or drinking anything other than what you bring with you.
There are many poisonous and toxic things in the wild. It doesn’t matter if you are on a Melbourne coastal walk or Exploring the southern highlands, danger is everywhere. While dogs are smart enough to avoid most of these, there are still things to watch for. For instance, drinking stagnant water is sure to make them sick.
DO get your dog vaccinated for ticks and fleas.
While you guys are at the vet, get your dog a tick and flea shot (or pill). The outdoors is full of ticks, fleas and other parasites that will latch on to your dog and make him sick. Dogs can get Lyme disease from an infected deer tick.
DON’T let your dog chase or bark at wildlife.
Dogs love to chase and bark at other wildlife, which could be dangerous. Barking at birds and other animals will scare them away, and other campers may take offense.
DO locate local veterinarians near the campsite for emergencies.
Getting in touch with veterinary clinics near the campsite is a must if you’re going camping with your dog. While we all try to keep our dogs safe, emergencies can and will happen.
The outdoors is full of dangers for dogs: wasps, bees, snakes, porcupines, and barbwire are just some of the hazards out there. Having the contact info of a local vet can save your dog’s life!
DON’T forget to bring a first aid kit for you and your dog.
When packing a first aid kit, make sure to bring items for your dog or make a different one for him. Be sure to include disinfectant, bandages, a thermometer, medicine, and cotton swabs. If you can get your hands on a surgical staple gun, bring it.
Crazy accidents need urgent treatment. Also, bring something you can make a sling out of, just in case.
DO make sure that your dog is a seasoned road warrior.
Another thing you should consider is whether your dog likes car travel. Not all dogs dig travelling in the car, so make sure you take the necessary steps to get Fido accustomed to riding – it’s hard to enjoy a doggie road trip if your furry friend is freaking out. Check out our tips to keeping your pup safe while on the road.
DON’T leave your dog’s poop lying around the campsite.
Your dog is going to do her business. It’s inevitable. But being outdoors isn’t an excuse to not clean up after your dog. Your dog’s poop is a hotbed for bacteria and can make other dogs sick.
Poop can also be a hassle to other campers and hikers on the trail if they step on it. Bring plastic poop bags, a scoop, and some wipes so you can get the job done!
DO pack your dog’s favourite stuff.
The outdoors will have plenty of different sights, smells and sounds that your dog isn’t used to. To help Fido acclimate to his surroundings, bring your dog’s bed, pillow, and toys. Having his favourite stuff with him will make your dog feel more at home.
While packing your dog’s stuff, you should also bring a leash and stake. Campsite regulations will have your dog on a leash at all times. Using a stake and leash is an excellent way to let your dog roam around your camp without crossing over to nearby tents.
DON’T let your dog sleep outside without shelter.
Speaking of feeling at home, you should make plans on where your dog will sleep during your camping trip. Fido can share a tent with you as long as it’s big enough, or you can set up an outdoor shelter for him.
Make sure your dog’s shelter protects him from the elements if he sleeps outside your tent. If your dog is cool sleeping in a crate, you can have it inside your tent.
DO get your dog a Tag and microchip.
There’s a genuine chance that your dog wanders off and gets lost in the wild if you’re not careful – especially if this is his first time and he becomes anxious. The best way to prepare for this is always to have your dog wear a tag on his collar for instant identification. Microchipping your dog is also a good idea, but whoever finds your dog must have a chip reader nearby.
DON’T let your dog wander off alone.
Your dog’s tag and microchip are there for a reason, but you never want to end up using it! Letting your dog wander off without a leash in a location she’s not accustomed to is a recipe for disaster. Dogs wander off and get lost all the time, so please keep your dog on a leash and with you at all times.
A Camping We Will Go
Now that you’re armed with all the Do’s and Don’ts of camping with your dog, where will you go?
There’s so much to see and experience out there, and the best time to go on an adventure with your dog is now. Always remember that you’re going on a trip with someone with fur and four legs, so plan accordingly!
We hope this article was a big help to your camping plans. Until next time!