Plan a Camping Adventure With Your Dog

By Stacey Brecher

Plan a Camping Adventure With Your Dog

As the weather gets warmer, why not pack up the whole family for a camping trip -- dog included? With minimal prep, you can keep your dog safe and comfortable while introducing it to nature.

While planning your trip, check the regulations for the campsite. “Some campsites have rules that require dogs to be on a leash at all times. The same holds true for trails,” says pet expert and veteran camper Steven May. “There are many pet-friendly campgrounds, so a little research will lead you in the right direction.”

Once you’ve determined a pet-friendly site, it’s essential to pack enough supplies for everyone’s needs. “The three must-haves for people when camping are food, water and shelter, and it’s no different for dogs,” says May. “Make sure to take more food than you think your dog will need, and check that your campsite has access to clean water. Bringing along your dog’s bed and putting it in your tent is also a good idea. It will help your dog feel comfortable in the new surroundings.”

Safety is a major concern when you bring your dog on a camping trip. Keeping your dog on a leash at all times is recommended, since the curious nature of animals can lead to your dog running off or to a potential confrontation.

Having access to fresh water is also extremely important. “Drinking water from a lake or even running water sources should be avoided because of parasites, which can make a dog very sick. If you’re backpacking with your dog, make sure to filter or boil all water just like you would for yourself,” says May. Bring along a first-aid kit for cuts and scrapes, and check your dog for ticks after every hike.

Keeping your dog comfortable in all temperatures will make the experience more enjoyable for it. “There are wide variety of vests, sweaters and even fleece bodysuits available to keep your dog warm as it cools at night, but be sure to get him accustomed to wearing them well before your trip. In warmer weather, if you’re near a water source, frequent baths will help keep your dog cool, as will spritzing from a water bottle,” says May.

For an extra level of protection, be sure that your dog is microchipped.

Stacey Brecher is a freelance writer. She has contributed to Animal Fair magazine, and her blogs have previously appeared on The Dog Daily. 

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