My dog has become a member of the family…
The only difference being it has 2 more legs than the rest of the upright creatures in my household. So as we plan our camping trip the dog is automatically included. It is a great addition to a camping trip but also requires more planning and thought. Through the years I have learned a few lessons, tips and tricks for tent camping with a dog.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Vaccinations and Medication
Before heading out in to the woods make sure your dog is up-to-date on their shots and heartworm medication.
If your dog is taking any medication make sure you have enough for your trip and that you place it in a container that your dog cannot break in to. Most dogs only take pills if it is in some sort of treat or human food. It’s really easy to put pills in hot dogs and feed it to them, so if you bring some on your trip give that a try!
2. Collar and Leash
It is of utmost importance that your dog does not disturb the other campers trying to enjoy their time out in the woods. Always bring a good fitting collar and leash to keep your dog around the campsite. Some dogs are very good at sticking around but always start with them on the leash until they know their boundaries. Keeping a dog on a leash can be a pain as they usually wrap themselves around a tree or picnic table but if you have a wandering dog you take the risk of being kicked out of the campground.
3. Dishes, Bedding and Crate
It should be a no brainer that not only do you need to pack food for yourself you also need to pack food for your dog. I always pre measure each meal for my dog and put them in separate baggies. This makes feeding time easy. Along with packing food, make sure to have either travel dog dishes or your dog’s regular food and water bowls.
Knowing that your dog is going to be outdoors more than they would on a normal day at home, make sure you are providing ample water and a shady area for the dog to rest. Dogs can overheat easily which can be fatal if not treated.
When it comes to bedding some dogs will easily stay warm through out the night even as temperatures drop. But smaller dogs or dogs with less hair can get chilly spending the night in a tent. Make sure to bring an extra blanket to keep your dog warm. Even if they are not crate trained it is a good idea to use a travel dog bed, as it can give them a sense of security.
4. Cleaning up after your dog
Yes you are camping outside and probably in a wooded area, but that does not mean that your dogs droppings can just be left. The idea of camping is to leave the area cleaner than you found it.
It’s simple: Bag it or bury it.
5. Behavior and Etiquette
Not all dogs are created equal. Before deciding to take your pooch camping truly consider if you think your dog would make for a good camping companion:
- Do they bark often?
- Are they scared of people?
- Are they aggressive?
- Do they listen to commands?
These are all questions you need to ask yourself before deciding that taking your dog camping will be an enjoyable experience. A dog that barks constantly will not only be annoying (and embarrassing) to you it will also cause you to ruin other camper’s experience. If your dog has ever shown signs of aggression to you or other people, a campground full of strangers is probably not a place that your pup will flourish.
Overall camping with your dog can be a great experience. I can’t imagine a camping trip without my faithful companion next to me. As you plan a trip with your dog consider everything it will need (food, water, toys, bedding), where it will sleep and how you will clean up after it. Be prepared and you it will be a great experience.