Many people have chosen to spend this summer on campsites and from the look of things, the next year won’t be different. Bookings for 2021 are now up 500% across campsites in America as well as Europe.
Not only is camping a perfect opportunity to spend more time outdoors with your family, but it’s also one of the rare options that allow you to bring your pet on a weekend gateway.
At 63.4%, dogs make up a vast majority of pets in American households. For many, bringing a dog along with them for a holiday is a dream come true. But there’s still a lot to consider.
That’s why we’re here to help you. We’re going to discuss:
- The benefits of camping with dogs
- Best places to camp with a dog
- How to prepare for camping with a dog
- What you need to bring for the trip
- Tips for camping with a dog
First, let’s see why camping with dogs is such a good idea...
Scientists speculate that dogs were domesticated some 15,000 years ago. By living with humans, dogs benefited from our vision, up-right walk, and use of tools. In return, humans received protection and companionship. Not much has changed since then.
Here’s how you can benefit from camping with dogs…
A camping trip is a great source of physical activity because it gives you access to a wide variety of activities. Hiking, climbing, and even swimming are all potential activities for you and your pet. Keep in mind: dog owners are 34% more likely to reach their fitness goals.
If you own a poppy, you probably need to train it and help it socialize with other animals and people. Bringing a dog on your camping trip gives you a perfect opportunity to see how much progress the poppy is making and how much effort you need to put in additional training.
Camping with your family for the first time? A dog can help you and your children feel safer. Sleeping outdoors in an unfamiliar area, surrounded by people they don’t know may make your children feel a bit nervous. Your dog will help calm them and give them a sense of protection.
All of those benefits sound great, right? But where to camp with a dog? Can you just walk into any national park with a dog and put up a tent? Of course not. That’s because some parks allow dogs, others don’t. A great place to check this is the NPS website.
What should you look for in a campsite? Here are a few things you need to check with the park officials and look up before going camping with your dog:
- What are the park rules for dogs
- Do you need to bring a vaccination record
- Are there any plants you should worry about
- Does the local wildlife pose a threat to dogs
- Is there a clean water supply at the campsite
Are parks the only option? Not at all. If you want to give your dog more freedom to move around, you should check the national forests, since they usually have looser regulations concerning pets. In many national forests, your dog can even walk around without a leash.
Before you start packing, you need to do a few things to make sure that your dog is ready for the road. It will require a few Google searches, phone calls, and even a visit to the vet’s office, but trust us, it will pay off once you arrive at the campsite.
Like most things nowadays, camping preparations start with a Google search. After you pick a few possible camping destinations, you should call them and see how dog-friendly are they. Leash requirements also vary from campsite to campsite, however, the general rule is that it should 6-feet-long max.
Your dog should be vaccinated right before you set off. That’s because you’re bound to encounter a number of wild animals while camping. You should call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment at least a few days leading up to your camping trip.
Seeing how some campsites require ID tags, it would be smart to buy new ones before the trip. Try to find a tag that has your contact information inside the harness. Perhaps buy a temporary ID tag that has the number of your campsite on it as well.
Packing for a camping trip with your dog requires some planning too. In order to enjoy all of the wide-open spaces, hikes, and walks with your best friend, you need to prepare some essentials. Here’s what your camping kit should contain...
First off, you need to bring a long leash and a collar with up-to-date contact information. A long leash will ensure that the dog can explore the wild without straying too far. If you’re planning to go for walks at night, you may consider brining an LED dog collar.
You need to pack the dog’s normal food and water bowls, along with a collapsible bowl for hiking. The nights in the wild are usually chillier, which is why you should pack a few extra blankets. A large slicker brush for debris removal is also a good idea for camping.
Next, pack a first aid kit for your dog. Make sure it includes gauze and non-stick bandages in case your dogs suffers a cut. You need Hydrogen Peroxide to prevent infections and Milk of Magnesia to counteract poisons. Last but not least, pack tweezers for removing ticks.
Camping for the first time may make your dog feel uncomfortable at times. If the dog is struggling to settle into a new surrounding a few chew toys should help it adapt. Make sure that the toys are outdoor-safe and that they can stand up to the elements.
Out in the wild, you and your dog will probably need more food than usual. More food means more trips to the bathroom so pack a lot of pick-up bags to clean behind your dog. Failing to do so is not only frowned upon but could also land you a nifty fine. Also, bring some baby wipes.
As we mentioned previously, not following the rules at a campsite can land you a fine. When planning, you need to consider you, your family members, your pet, as well as your fellow campers. Here are a few things you should do when camping with a dog.
You have to be aware that your little friend will be tempted a lot. There’s the tempting aroma of the sizzling steak coming from the tent next to you. There are also squirrels that are perfect for a good afternoon chase. Keep your dog on a leash during the afternoon to avoid these situations.
Leaving a dog outside the tent isn’t an option. Your dog could walk off and get lost. You should sleep together in a tent. Snuggling up next to your dog will keep you warm during the night. Just make sure to zip up your tent properly. You can even use a carabiner to keep it “locked.”
The dog is there to keep you company. If you plan on hiking during the trip, you should bring it along. Never leave your dog alone at the campsite, whether tied up or kept inside a car. It will endanger your dog and make it feel stressed in your absence.
There’s nothing wrong with carrying dog snacks. Your dog needs 25% more calories during a camping trip after all. However, try not to keep food out in the open. It can attract some unwanted guests. If there are any leftovers, either discard them or pack them in a zip-lock bag.
If your dog has never spent a night in a tent, you might have a problem. The dog will probably be a bit restless. Why not have a trial run at home. Try spending a night in a tent with your dog to make sure your companion doesn’t get too anxious in the wild.
Bringing a dog along for a camping trip may be what you need to relax and forget about your troubles for a few days. However, bringing a dog along for the trip comes with certain responsibilities. Here’s what to keep in mind:
- Spend enough time with your dog and don’t it bark too much
- Make sure to keep the area around your tent as clean as possible
- Keep your pet on a leash when you’re walking around the campsite
By following these rules, you’ll make sure that your camping trip is enjoyable for you, your dog, and the people at the campsite.