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6 Tips and Tricks for Camping With Dogs

Jennifer Kelly Geddes
Sept. 29, 2015

Are you interested in going camping with your canine companion? Here are 6 tips and tricks that will ensure that you have a fun, safe trip!

Do you love to go camping with your family? These types of outings provide an outlet for you and your loved ones to bond while getting some exercise and fresh air. And you can make your trips even more special by bringing your canine companion along! Here's everything you need to know about going camping with dogs.

Before you decide to bring your furry friend along with you on your next adventure, it's important for you to consider what type of dog he is and whether or not he has the right type of personality to thrive in a campsite environment. A pet who's well trained and has an even temperament is more likely to behave than one who's wild and unpredictable.

If your dog tends to wander, doesn't listen to commands or likes to chase small animals, he likely won't be a good candidate for camping. While out on a trip, your adventurous pup might encounter a porcupine or skunk and get a nasty surprise that could require veterinary treatment.

It's also important for you to do any necessary research on your destination before you plan a trip. "Check the rules if you want to go camping with dogs -- most parks allow them at the campsite, but not on trails," says Anthea Appel, an animal naturopath.

Here are six tips and tricks for going camping with dogs!
 

  1. Make Sure Your Dog's Vaccines Are Up to Date
    Before you hit the campsite, make sure that your dog's rabies vaccine is current, as she may meet up with a wild animal in the woods. You should also make sure your pet is taking preventative medication that protects against fleas, ticks and heartworms.
     
  2. Pack the Right Supplies
    In order to be on the safe side, you should pack a first aid kid when you go camping. This kit should include items such as rubbing alcohol, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, gauze and bandages. It's also important for you to bring enough water for your whole family, including your pet. If your dog is well hydrated, he is less likely to drink from dirty puddles or other potentially contaminated sources.

    When creating a packing list, you should also think about what types of activities you will be engaging in. "If you plan to go swimming and dogs are allowed in the water, a doggie life jacket may be a good idea," adds Appel.
     
  3. Check for Ticks
    These nasty critters tend to land on dogs that bound through the woods, so you should get into the habit of examining your pet on a daily basis. "Check the armpits, groin, folds of skin and around the ears, and if your dog has floppy ears, lift them up and check underneath," explains Appel. You should also comb out your dog's coat to remove bits of dirt, burrs and other debris.
     
  4. Watch Out for Plants
    You should never allow your dog to gnaw on plants, as leaves and branches can pose a choking hazard. You should also watch out for mushrooms, which can potentially be highly poisonous to dogs.
     
  5. Leash Your Dog
    By keeping your dog on a leash during walks on the trails, you can help to protect her from plants, animals and elements that you may encounter along the way. But be sure to pack one that's the right length! Longer leashes can potentially get wrapped around trees or bushes, which can pose a danger to you and your furry friend.

    You might also consider bringing a bright orange coat or vest for your pup to wear and a loud bell for her collar. These types of items will alert other people and animals to your dog's presence, which will help to keep her safe.
     
  6. Sleep in the Same Tent
    The woods can be cold, dark and scary at night, so you should be prepared to snuggle up with your furry friend at bedtime. Bigger, meaner animals, such as bears or mountain lions, may be lurking in the surrounding area, so the safest spot for your pet is right by your side. To make sure he gets a good night's sleep, you should bring a comfortable travel bed for him as well. And don't forget to pack a blanket if the weather is cool!


Want to learn about different excursions you can go on with your furry friend? Check out 8 Ideas for Fun Dog Outings!

Jennifer Kelly Geddes is a New York-based writer and editor who specializes in parenting, health and child development. She's a frequent contributor to Care.com and the mom of two teen girls.

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