Camping with Your Dog
Most people consider their furry friends to be a very important part of their family. For many, the thought of leaving Fido at home for extended vacations can be heartbreaking. Since we have first-hand experience in this area, we put together a cheat sheet for camping with your dog. With two dogs of our own, we have a hard time leaving them behind when we travel – whether it is for a couple of days or a couple of weeks. It is stressful not only on us humans but for the dogs as well.
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Camping is a great way to include your dogs on your family vacations. Getting out and creating new experiences outdoors is not only good for us, but it is also healthy for our pooches. New smells, new territory to explore, new people – all of which are very exciting for a dog. To make the camping trip a great experience for everyone we thought we would share a few tips for camping with your dog.
How To Find Dog-Friendly Campsites
Before you even open the door to leave for your trip you will want to make sure you do some research. Not all campsites or parks are dog-friendly. Look for one that is not only dog-friendly but has plenty of activities in the area that will keep the whole pack busy. Make sure to read up on the rules for dogs in the local area – in particular, leash laws, areas off-limits to pets, or possibly breed restrictions.
BringFido is a great resource for researching Dog-Friendly campgrounds, hotels and restaurants. They even have an app that is helpful while you are on the road. Search near your location for nearby hotels, beaches, parks, and restaurants that are all pet-friendly. We used this app when we relocated from Washington State to Arizona. It was a great time-saver while taking a 3-day cross country drive with 2 kids and 2 dogs. It allowed us to have a quick reference to find nearby dog-friendly hotels and parks for pit stops along the way.
Know your Pets Before You Take Them Camping
Not every dog is suited for camping. Make sure you know your dog well before taking them on such a trip. Some dogs may be dog aggressive, people aggressive, runoff, afraid of campfires and smoke or bark non-stop. You want your trip to be peaceful and relaxing for yourself and your fellow camping neighbors. If your dog may pose a danger to you or others in the campsite, it may be best to make the decision to leave them at home.
What Should I Pack For My Dog For The Camping Trip?
Vaccinations – Make sure your dog(s) are up to date with shots before you travel. This is a good idea whether you choose to bring them with you or leave them at home. Make sure to bring a copy of their vaccination records in case of a pet emergency on your trip. You will also need these records if there are activities that your dog cannot attend and you choose to put them in a nearby doggy daycare for the day. You will need this paperwork. It also doesn’t hurt to research vets close to your campsite just in case.
Dog Tags – Before you leave to make sure each animal has a dog tag with your cell phone number or a number of a close family member or friend. Most tags have room for two phone numbers so we usually include our mobile number as well as my parent’s phone in case we are out of cell reach and cannot be contacted.
First Aid Kit – Some people just like to be prepared. It is always a good idea to bring a first aid kit for your family when you are camping. Make sure that the kit also includes first aid equipment for your dog. Include bandages, scissors, tweezers, and dog-friendly antiseptic in the kit. Did you know you can purchase pet-specific first aid kits like this one?
Dog Food – DUH! – Sounds easy enough but sometimes in the rush of packing for the family, this can be forgotten. We measure our food for the number of days we will be gone for each dog. We pack a bag with the food, food bowls, and water bowls.
Water – Depending on if you are staying at a campsite or boon-docking it in the woods you will need to make sure you bring enough water for all the humans and the pets that are tagging along. Dogs drink just as much or more water than their human counterparts while camping. It is a good idea to pack extra water for everyone in your pack.
When traveling light, these foldable dog bowls are the bee’s knees!!
Leash & Ties – Most parks and wilderness areas require dogs to be leashed. Make sure to bring leashes for your pets. It is also a good idea to bring longer tie-downs with stakes or ropes that you can tie the dogs off on so you can have your hands free to cook, eat and tend to the campfire.
Other Tips For Camping With Your Dog:
Dog Treats – Camping and hiking can be a great learning experience for most dogs. Rewarding your pets for good behavior while on your adventure is also a very important part of the experience. There are many things they can learn while they are camping from teaching them to lay down while you are eating, showing them that it is a good idea to stay back from the campfire, leash training on long hikes for young dogs or dogs who need a little guidance.
Dog Towels – Not necessary but if your dogs are anything like ours and learn from your kids, then you may regret not bringing one. My kids love puddles, ponds, lakes, creeks, and mud. Unfortunately, so do our dogs. We have forgotten towels many times and have had to transport or sleep with wet muddy dogs /kids after a long day exploring our surroundings.
I hope this guide is helpful. If you have tips of your own to share please leave a comment below. Happy Camping!!!
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