These some of the most important things to bring with you if you’re going camping with your furry best friend.
If you're yet to try camping with dogs, let me share that there's nothing quite like sharing the great outdoors with a loyal companion. But whether you're a first-timer or seasoned camper, you have to prepare a few things to bring with you to ensure safety and security during the trip so that you can relax completely and enjoy it to the fullest. Every camper's list of items to pack might be a different, but these 12 are must-haves:
1. Identification Cards and Temporary Tags for Your Dog
Few things are worse than losing your dog in a forest during your camping trip. So update your dog's ID or collar with your current mobile number before you head out to the camping grounds. If possible, get another temporary tag to add to his collar, which should have the details of the camping site.
Consider having your dog microchipped as well if you haven't done so yet, which could cost about $50. Most experts say it's essential whether you often go camping with your dog or not. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations if they don't perform the services. Microchipping your dog is a practical and sound investment especially when only 20 percent of animals at shelters find their way back to their owners. It’s better to be safe than sorry if your dog wanders off at the campsite.
2. A Reliable Tick Remover
Ticks are far more dangerous than many people realize, spreading potentially fatal Lyme disease among other problems. Familiarize yourself with CDC warnings on ticks when going camping. And before you leave for your camp trip, ensure that your dog has had his tick and flea protection. It’s also smart to pack additional tick removers so you can easily pluck this out from his skin in case he still gets infected. Always do a spot check every day while you're at camp especially under his arms, around the ears and paws.
3. Doggy First Aid Kit
You likely have a first aid camping kit for yourself but you also need medical essentials for your dog in case of emergencies. Depending on how much you want to spend, where you're going and what you might need, there's a number of items to have in your pet first aid kit. For the most economical and mobile dog first aid kit, here are the essentials:
- Grooming wipes
- Surgical tape or vet wrap
- First aid gel
- Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds
- Butterfly bandages to seal wounds
- Septic powder to stop the bleeding
- Socks to protect injured legs or paw
- Balm or ointment to use on the paw for extremely cold or hot grounds
For anyone not too keen on arranging this whole thing themselves there's a number of very affordable pre-assembled pet first aid kits available that will contain all the above items and more, neatly packaged and ready for the camping trip (or anything else).
4. Comb or Dog Brush
A comb or brush isn't just for untangling your dog's messy hair, but you can use this to clean his coat from leaves, dirt, burrs and other stuff that might get stuck in his fur (something you'll have to deal with a lot when outdoors and in the nature). Make it a point to comb your dog at least once a day at the camp.
5. Leashes (short and long)
Bring two types of leash to help your dog get around the campsite. A short leash would be just right to keep your dog close to you during your walks, while a long leash is perfect if you and your dog have a more open clearing at the campsite. He can roam around freely but he’s still within a safe area since he's on a long leash.
Be careful, however, where and how you choose to tie your dog because he could end up wrapping himself on a tree. It's a good idea to use a breakaway leash and carabiner for the leash so that it will be easier to clip and unclip, and there will be no knots to tangle him.
6. Blankets and Towels
Even if your dog might want to sleep next to you inside your tent, bring extra blankets so you’re both warm. You can also set down the blankets outside the tent so that the dog could snuggle on it comfortably while you're cooking food by the campfire. You'll also need towels for your dog when you clean him up after a long day of walk on dirt, puddle and river streams.
7. Tarp (or Crate) for All Types of Weather
Your dog needs a dry but inexpensive bedding in your tent and an all-weather tarp could provide that convenience. Some campers even bring their dog's crate during the camping trip and then use the tarp for additional insulation. You'll have to provide insulation for your dog because campgrounds can be a lot colder during the night and your pet could easily develop hypothermia (low body temperature).
8. Collapsible Water Bowl
You can't bring a lot of unnecessary stuff for your camping trip, so to save on space, pack a collapsible bowl for your dog to use when eating and drinking. You might even want to pack a Frisbee, which you can use not just to play with your dog outdoors but also as a temporary drinking or feeding plate.
9. Outdoor Booties
Dog booties weren't made for dogs as a fashion statement, despite how many cute photos you see on Instagram. The best dog shoes actually protect your dog's paws from hot grounds during the summer or snowy surfaces in the winter. It also protects your dogs' feet from rocky and sharp surfaces when you cross a brook or climb steep hills. If you're planning to camp or hike a lot, then it's but right to invest in booties for your dogs.
10. Doggy Saddlebag
Will you let your dog carry some stuff while hiking around the camp? Then see about getting your Fido a doggy saddle bag. You can actually pack extra dry dog food and some of his toys in his dog backpack among other essentials. There are specially made hiking packs just for our furry companions at specialty camp stores and these backpacks are made ergonomically to support the dog's spine.
11. Lights and Visibility Vest
Aside from his dog collar, you might want to hang a tag with a light around his neck or purchase a specially crafted dog coat with LED strips. There are also LED dog collars that do the same thing. The lights will help make the dog visible during the night on the campgrounds because it will really get dark when you're out there.
12. Life Jacket
If you're planning to cross a river, ride a boat or canoe, or swim and play by a lake, you'll have to equip your dog with a pet life jacket for his own safety, in case the unexpected happens. Be sure to get one that buckles and straps down to his body perfectly. It shouldn't be too loose that it will easily come off and it shouldn't be too tight that could restrict his breathing.
Don't forget to pack extra dog food for this adventure because your pooch will need more calories for all the activities you'll do. Enjoy this special bonding moment and make the best memories together with your dog!
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