If you have never taken your dog camping before, you should really give it a try. Like their owners, most dogs love the great outdoors, and there is nothing like an adventure with man’s best friend. Before you hit the trail, however, there are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Let your dog explore.
While your pet may be excited to see all that nature has to offer, some aspects of camping may be scary or intimidating to your pet. Before you ever leave home, introduce your pup to the gear you will be using when you camp.
2. Call before you go.
If you’re camping at a state park, you should make sure the area is pet-friendly before you bring your furry friend along for the ride. While most campgrounds allow dogs, it’s not a universal rule, so it never hurts to call first.
3. Secure your pet when necessary.
Your dog will want to explore, so a leash is always a good idea. But you will also need a way hands-free way to keep your pet contained while you set up camp. If your dog is crate-trained, the crate will work well. If not, use a tie-out or ground stake.
4. Clean up after your dog.
Though you’re in the great outdoors, you should remember to clean up after your pet. No one appreciates stepping in dog mess, after all. As you’re packing, remember to bring a few bags along so you can clean up after your dog, leaving the area clean for other campers.
5. Remember pet supplies.
Your dog will need a few camping supplies for the trip, too. Food and water are absolute requirements. You should also consider bringing blankets, towels, and toys for your pet. If you haven’t already, remember to give your pet flea medication to keep fleas, heartworm, ticks, and other pests away.
6. Don’t let your pet overheat.
If you are warm, remember that your dog is likely even hotter, thanks to an extra layer of fur. Because dogs are susceptible to overheating, keep clean, fresh water available at all times. You should also consider camping in the shade to help keep your dog cool.
7. Never leave your dog alone.
Though it may be tempting to let Fido have a break while you go for a hike, it’s dangerous for your pet to be left alone. He or she may get loose and run away or even get injured. At the least, your dog may bark incessantly, annoying other campers nearby.
8. Don’t leave food out.
Though you should always leave water for your pet, only provide food at regular mealtimes. Otherwise, you may attract wildlife to your campsite, which is the last thing you need on a camping trip.
9. Let your pet sleep in your tent.
Nighttime can be scary for a pet who is left alone. When it’s time to hit the sack, remember to bring your dog into the tent to sleep. This helps your pet stay comfortable and safe.
10. Visit the vet before you go.
Finally, it’s always a good idea to schedule a checkup with the veterinarian before you leave home. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all his or her shots, in good health for the trip, and microchipped (just in case!) Your vet may also be able to provide additional tips for a safe camping trip with your furry friend.