If you’re a dog owner, you might not like the idea of leaving your beloved pooch behind when you go camping. So with a bit of preparation beforehand, your dog can be a fun part of your camping adventure. It all depends on the temperament of your dog, how far you’re travelling, how long you’ll be away from home and the type of location where you’ll be staying. We have put together a simple list of things to consider before you head out on a camping trip with your dog, to make sure you, your family and your dog all enjoy the experience.
Think Safety and Comfort
The very first thing you have to ask yourself is why do you want to bring your dog along? Like most dog owners, you certainly enjoy company of your dog and his interaction with your family. It can be great exercise and an enjoyable experience for your pet to discover a new area while camping — but you also have to think about the safety and comfort of your dog. Keep the following ideas in mind:
Will it be easy to keep your dog close so he doesn’t get lost?
Does your dog react well to travelling in the car? Will there be room left once you’re packed for camping?
Is your dog in good physical shape? Will the stress of not being at home upset him?
Can your dog adapt to new surroundings and seeing strange people and strange dogs?
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You know your dog best, so you’re best placed to judge. It’s worth visiting your veterinarian for a check-up, though, to make sure your dog is healthy before heading out for a camping trip. A preventative flea treatment might be in order, as well as any vaccinations your dog requires. One important consideration is Lyme disease. Transmitted by ticks, this serious disease can affect animals and humans alike. Your dog also needs to be treated for heartworm disease, which is spread by mosquitos.
If you decide your dog is up for the journey, there are still a few things to organise before you take them camping:
Make sure they are wearing an identity collar with a number you can be reached while away from home (ideally a mobile phone). Microchipping is also a smart way to identify your dog.
Check with any campsites you plan to stay at to ensure they allow dogs. In some cases, there might be a surcharge, or dogs might not be allowed at all. It’s better to know ahead of time.
Plan a way to confine your dog when you’re around the campsite. For a smaller dog, a crate or pen might be useful, while a larger dog needs a lead and a safe, secure means to attach them. It is never a good idea to lock your dog in a car, so make sure you plan an alternative method.
Packing up to Go
The last step is getting your dog’s things ready. You might be tempted to spoil your dog with campfire food, but resist the urge. Keep your dog to their regular diet and regular feeding schedule. Bring along a supply of water, and try to keep your dog from drinking standing water (which can carry bugs and bacteria). If your dog has a favourite toy or blanket, bring that along so they feel at home.
Taking your dog on a camping trip can help create great memories for your whole family. When you plan ahead, you’re ready for every situation, and your dog will have as much fun as you do! And be sure to check out our editorial section. It’s where you’ll find the latest reviews, news, and more.