Updated: Oct 13
Quality time with your dog is essential to strengthen the foundation of your bond, this time spent together encourages your dog to trust you while introducing them to more stimulated experiences. If you're a dog owner, you probably enjoy bringing your four-legged companion along for EVERY adventure - including camping.
When you take your dog on a new adventures, they will encounter new stimuli during their interaction with that environment. It is crucial to take the time to prepare for all possible circumstances to ensure your dogs safety and comfortability.
Researching the Campground -
Although many campgrounds allow you to bring your furry friend, some do not. Be sure to look at the campground regulations and guidelines to locate the pet policy. You will want to read it thoroughly to make the best of your time. Some specifics to inquire about:
Campground Dog behavior: Before taking your dog camping they should have basic obedience training mastered. Your dog should be well socialized with people and other dogs as well as know how to "sit", "stay", "speak/quiet", "lay", "heel" on and off leash, "come" even when distracted, "leave it", and "drop it";
Campground Leash requirements: Most pet-friendly campgrounds require that their dogs stay on leash the entirety of their stay. Ask if there is a leash length and leash type regulation (the general rule is a six foot leash, and some campgrounds do not allow retractable leashes);
Campground Barking ordinances: At the end of the day our dogs are indeed just that - dogs. If our dogs begin to feel threatened or excited it is likely that they will bark - most campgrounds are mindful of that. However, if your dog barks excessively there may be a fee and you can be asked to leave;
Campground Dog Friendly activities: When you bring your dog camping you must plan for their exercise. You can play fetch on a long lead with your dog, you can take your dog swimming (check with campsite to see if there is a designated swim area), and you can even take your dog on Kayak with you.
Be Sure your Dogs Vaccinations are Current -
Before reserving a spot at the campsite you will want to make sure your dog is healthy and prepared. Your dog should be:
Up-to-date on vaccinations: Your dog should be current on all vaccinations. Most pet parks and campgrounds require your dog's current vaccination history on hand;
Using some form of flea and tick prevention: You never know what sort of critter your dog may come across when they are having fun. Be aware that fleas and ticks are common and mosquitos are known to spread heartworm;
Tagged and Microchipped: Microchipping your dog is not a requirement for campgrounds, but it is highly recommended. A microchip can help you reunite with your dog if they escape your sight during camping. Additionally, you will want their ID tag to be current and up-to-date with an attached emergency number that is attached to the collar/harness;
Groomed: It might seem counterintuitive to groom your dog before you go on a camping trip where they will get filthy, but it can keep them safer in the wild when there is change in temperature. Be sure you bring a brush to help remove burrs, foxtails, and remember to check for ticks on your dog throughout the trip and before returning home.
Pack Accordingly -
In addition to standard camping supplies, your dog will need some supplies tailored to their time during the trip, too:
For Sleeping Quarters: You will need to bring a dog bed, spare towels (this can be used as a tool if your dog is suffering form heat stroke), extra blankets, a dog sleeping bag (I recommend HIGHLANDS™ DOG SLEEPING BAG with the added HIGHLANDS™ DOG PAD to insert by https://ruffwear.com/), You will need booties for your dog (I recommend GRIP TREX™ DOG BOOTS by https://ruffwear.com/), and of course your dogs favorite outdoor toys;
For Food: You will need to bring dog food (always pack extra), plenty of bottled water, treats, you will also need a collapsible food dish and water bowl (I recommend Dine Away® Food Set by https://www.overlanddoggear.com/);
Additional Necessities: You'll need your dogs Leash (I recommend the VARIO 4™ MULTI-FUNCTION LEASH by https://store.ezydog.com/), Collar with updated tags and an attached emergency contact with note of the campsite number, Harness (I recommend the CROSSCHECK™ HARNESS by https://store.ezydog.com/) or the Easy Walk® harness by https://www.petsafe.net/), You will need a Dog First Aid Kit (I recommend making your own (You want one that includes a pet first aid guide, saline solution, antiseptic, antihistamine, gauze, heavy-duty stretch bandages, antibiotic ointment, multi-tool tweezers, ick removal tool, blood clotting powder, and cotton swabs) or you can purchase a kit to add to from https://arcapetlove.com/ or from https://fabfurgear.com/), Current photo of your dog, Vaccination records, Dog Waste Bags, Dog Brush, Pet Sunscreen (I recommend Epi-Pet's Sun Protector Sunscreen by http://www.epi-pet.com/), Organic Paw Care Cream (I recommend making your own or purchasing from https://musherssecret.net/), LED light or LED collar to see your dog at night.
Upon completing the prerequisite checklist you are ready to drive on up to campground and enjoy your time in the wilderness with your dog. Be sure that you give your dog plenty of potty breaks on your way to your destination. Once you arrive you will also want to get them acquainted with the area by going for a walk, associating with their bed, associating with the tent (it might be ideal to set up the tent at home a week before the booking and do some backyard camping with your dog).