Camping is a great fitness and outdoor activity, and it can be done in a group or solo. Camping solo has its perks, especially when it comes to privacy and quiet. But, even better than just camping alone is camping with dogs!
When camping with dogs you get the same perks of the solo expedition, but do not feel completely alone. Bringing your Fido along can also help you feel safer in the wilderness. But along with ensuring your own safety, you need to look out for the safety of your pet.
There is nothing better than enjoying time in the great outdoors. Fresh air, peaceful silence and the smells of nature make camping a relaxing and enjoyable adventure. Instead of paying a dog sitter or boarding kennel, why not bring your canine along with you on a camping trip? My dog always enjoys the trip as much, if not more, than I do.
10 Safety Tips for Camping with Dogs
Of utmost importance is the medical care of your dog before, during, and after your camping expedition. You will want to get him vaccinated before going, especially against Lyme Disease and rabies. You will also want to apply good quality flea and tick prevention to prevent flea infestation and tick-borne diseases.
You should also bring a doggy first aid kit in case any accidents occur. After your trip (or your series of trips), it is also advisable to head to the vet for an exam.
The doctor should run a test and perform a checkup to make sure no intestinal parasites were ingested and that the dog doesn’t have fleas or ticks.
Part of making sure your dog doesn’t pick up parasites is to make sure you bring enough good-quality food to keep him from eating things out in the wild. Remember that food is fuel for both of you, so bring healthy options for your dog the same way you do for yourself.
You will want to keep the weight light, which means dehydrated dog food is a great option. These foods can be reconstituted with water and are a healthy, protein-packed meal for your pooch.
Hydration is also hugely important to prioritize when camping. Dogs can pick up dangerous intestinal parasites from drinking outdoor water. You will want to make sure you are able to keep your dog hydrated with clean, filtered water for the entire extent of your camping adventure.
Because water is extremely heavy (more than 8 pounds per gallon), it may benefit you to carry a water filter or purifier if you're planning to be out in the wilderness for multiple days.
You should also carry bottled water with you, in case you become lost or do not wind up near a water source. You should also bring at least one bottle of Pedialyte along with you. This is a safe way to give your dog electrolytes and provide hydration if you are short on water or stuck in hot weather.
Pedialyte should be diluted for dogs, and make sure to check with your vet about the proper ratio for your pooch.
Make sure your dog is good with strangers or passers-by, and watch out for whether or not other people have dogs with them as well.
At night, try to ensure that your dog doesn’t bark. This could disturb people nearby and possibly attract predators such as coyotes or wolves. Before camping with dogs, you should spend some time with your pooch outdoors at night to ensure that he will be comfortable and quiet.
5. Dog Leashes and Training
If you plan on having your dog off-leash at any point, you should be confident in his training and ability to follow commands beforehand. Make sure your dog knows how to instantly come to you when called, even if distracted.
Because there can be a lot going on while camping, it isn’t always practical to be attached to your dog by a leash. Therefore, it is advisable to bring a leash that you can tie to a stake in the ground or around a tree.
RELATED VIDEO GUIDE: How To Train A Dog To Walk On A Leash
6. Pepper Spray
Many campers choose to bring pepper spray along, in case they encounter a bear or a human attacker. This is a good idea for your safety, but if you employ the use of pepper spray or bear spray, remember your dog.
Make sure that you don’t accidentally spray your pooch in the event that you need to actually use it – you would have a very bad situation on your hands! If your dog gets into a fight with another dog or animal, NEVER use pepper spray to break it up. You'll end up spraying your dog too, and the damage you do to his eyes could be irreversible.
While you want to protect Fido from the elements, weather, and bugs while camping with dogs, you also want to ensure that your tent stays intact and clean.
Canine toenails can scratch and tear the tent lining and ruin it. Dogs can also have accidents at night or inadvertently bring in fleas or ticks. Bringing a doggy tent along is a must. This option from FrontPet is an excellent example of a tent made specifically for dogs.
Along with a tent, it is also a good idea to bring along a doggy backpack, so that your canine companion can help you carry some of the supplies. This is especially useful if you’re backpacking or hiking in to your destination.
Sharing the burden of weight with your pup will help you tremendously. If you can saddle up your pooch with his own food, medical supplies, and tent, you are ahead of the game.
RECOMMENDED: Camping with A Dog – Tips, Guidelines, Do's & Don'ts
Make sure to bring enough gear to safe-guard your dog against possible cold and rain. Bring along a canine raincoat for your furry friend, along with a blanket for nighttime.
If camping in hot temperatures, try to camp near a water source so that your dog can take a swim if the heat gets too intense. You could also bring a cooling vest to help him beat the heat.
Try not to make your camping trip too long. 1-3 days should be the most you aim to spend camping with dogs, unless you and your pet are seasoned campers. Being outside is very trying, risky, and tiring.
Since your dog can’t use words to communicate being tired or dehydrated, you will need to set things up in a way where you don’t run these risks for your pooch. The best way to do that is by ensuring that the trip is short.
READ NEXT: How To Prepare Your Dog for Camping