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Thursday, July 25, 2019

10 Tips for Your Dog's First Overnight Camping Trip

Photo by Zain A.B (Flickr)
Summer is a great time to go camping and many families have a four-legged friend they'd like to bring along. Talking to a few friends who bring their dogs camping made me realize that while it's really fun to bring your pet along on a family trip, it can present some unique challenges. I decided to ask my friends for advice and dig up a few other tips for taking your dog on a successful camping trip. I'd love to hear how these worked out for you, and if I missed anything important, please let me know!
  1. Research the Campground Before Booking: Not every campground is dog-friendly. Make sure to choose you a campground that will accommodate your canine. It's important to first and foremost follow the rules and regulations of the place you're visiting, whether it's a national park, state park, or other local site. Parks may have restrictions on dogs, so make sure you abide by them and pay attention to leash laws, too.
  2. Keep Your Dog Leashed at the Campsite: The outdoors is full of tempting sights and smells for dogs. From wildlife to other dogs to stray food, there are a lot of things that might send your dog off running. You don't want to lose sight of your dog or have them barge in on a campsite where pooches aren't welcome, so it's best to keep your dog on a leash while at the campsite. It lowers the risk of a lost dog and makes for happier campers.
  3. Visit the Vet Before You Leave: Bring your dog to the veterinarian for a checkup before setting out on a camping trip, especially if you plan to do any strenuous hikes. You'll want to make sure that your dog is up for the task. You'll also want to make sure your pet is up to date with vaccinations and taking necessary medication to prevent heartworm and ticks.
  4. Refresh Your Dog's Training: Before heading out, make sure your dog is brushed up on some important commands for a camping trip. For instance, "leave it" is pretty important to use while camping, in case the dog comes across a wild animal or something they shouldn't eat.
  5. Consider Your Dog's Personality: Choose your accommodations with your dog's personality in mind. A shy dog would like a quieter setting, while a social dog is probably more flexible unless you find that the dog gets too excitable around other people and other dogs.
  6. Use Waste Bags Wherever You Go: Make sure you've packed baggies to clean up your dog's mess. Most parks have a leave-no-trace policy, which means that you must leave things the way you found them. Cleaning up your dog's mess keeps things clean for other visitors and limits the spread of illness to wildlife.
  7. Bring a Doggy Bed or Pad: After a long day of camping, you and your dog will both want a good night's sleep. Bring along some kind of bed or pad to make your dog's sleep more secure and comfortable, or else your dog may keep you awake through the night.
  8. Pack a Doggy First Aid Kit: Just like humans, dogs should have a first aid kit when they go camping. The kit should include a blanket, tweezers, a bandanna, dog booties, a tick spoon, and emergency vet information.
  9. Consider Buying a Collar Light: A glowing light on your dog's collar will make them much easier to locate at night. Dog owners do worry about losing track of their dog in wooded areas, and this can really put their minds at ease.
  10. Bring a Portable Crate: If you're worried that you might not have the most well-behaved dog at the campsite, a portable crate can help keep your dog contained and calm.
Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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