How to Camp With Your Dog
By Katherine Beard
A family camping trip is one of the best summer pastimes. Of course, when we say family, we mean dogs too. Exploring campgrounds with local hiking trails, forests and beaches is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and sunshine while also spending some quality time with your dog. Anywhere you go, you know your dog will have a blast.
Being prepared is very important to having a fun and safe trip for both you and your pet. Below are some things you want to keep in mind when preparing for a camping trip.
Do Your Research Before You Go
Make sure the campsite or trail you are interested in allows dogs. Surprisingly, many U.S. National Park trails don’t allow dogs and humans to share a trail. Be sure to review all rules for pets at the campsite. Most sites require dogs to be on a six-foot leash at all times. In addition, consider the local wildlife as well as your comfort with handling yourself and your dog if faced with animals, such as bears, mountain lions and rattlesnakes. A professional dog trainer can tell you the dos and don’ts of camping more in-depth.
Visit Your Dog’s Veterinarian
Always consider your dog’s overall health and stamina for the activities you have planned for your trip. Ensure your dog is up-to-date on all vaccinations, particularly the rabies vaccination. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations on flea and tick repellent products. Some flea and tick products also prevent mosquito bites, which is beneficial to preventing heartworm.
Create a Packing List
A well-fitting collar or harness with a legible identification tag is a must. Bring a copy of your dog’s vaccination records, especially if crossing state lines.
Be sure to pack your dog’s normal food. You should keep your dog on a regular feeding and watering schedule so train him to use the food and water bowls you plan on bringing for the trip. It’s also a good idea to train your dog the “leave it” cue to prevent ingestion of plants and other foreign foods.
Always Have Filtered Water
Dogs are susceptible to harmful bacteria found in unfiltered water sources just as you are. A good rule of thumb: if filtering water for yourself to drink, filter it for your dog as well.
Now, get out there and start planning your summer camping trip with your dog. Check out the websites listed below for more tips on safe camping and hiking with your dog as well as some fun places to go on a dog-friendly camping trip.
Get some travel inspiration at “Top 10 Dog Friendly U.S Campsites”
REI’s advice on “Hiking or Backpacking with Your Dog”
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