For those who love to bring their dogs everywhere with them, camping is the perfect summertime getaway! With endless options for adventure - hiking, swimming, stand up paddle boarding, trail running – camping has a lot to offer for dog and owner, alike. Before planning your camping vacation with your pup this summer, check out our tips for a safe and enjoyable trip with your pup.
Do Your Research
Just because campgrounds may seem like perfect dog-friendly destinations, not all are open to pets. Before planning your outdoor adventure, make a list of all the dog-friendly campsites, trails and parks around the area you’re looking to visit. Check out this list of the top pet-friendly campsites around the world.
If you are planning on camping by the ocean or a lake, be sure to check the laws regarding dogs being allowed in or near these bodies of water. Some campsites may be on the lake but will only allow the dogs within the campgrounds, not the water.
Check the leash laws for each campsite, as well. Some places may require a leashed dog at all times, while others will allow dogs to be leash free as long as their owner has voice control over them.
You should also always look into the laws on cleaning up after your dog goes to the bathroom. If you don’t check and don’t clean it up, you could be facing a pretty big fine!
When the term “camping essentials” is used, tents and sleeping bags come to mind, but what about necessities for your pup? Here is a list of dog hiking essentials to pack:
- Dog Backpack: This will be very helpful for hiking with your dog as it can hold a first aid kit, treats, toys, and a collaps a bowl for food and water.
- Portable Dog Bed: Be sure to keep your canine comfortable and warm at night.
- Dog Water Bottle and Collapsible Bowl: Pack lots of water and a bowl, but also consider a water filtration device if your dog will be drinking water from a water source instead of bottled water.
- Reflective Collar, Leash and Flashlight: Keep your dog visible and safe at night.
- Dog-specific First Aid Kit: This should include items like bandages, tweezers (for porcupine quills, thorns in paws etc.), scissors, sting relief pads, and dog friendly pain relief medicine. You should also routinely check your dog for ticks, thorns, burrs and other irritating and painful things that may have gotten stuck on that furry coat.
- Identification Tags/Microchip: This is an essential as you will be in unfamiliar territory to your pup. If he/she gets scared and runs off, then you will have the comfort of knowing your pooch will be found.
Still nervous about what to bring? Check out our hiking checklist.
Keep Your Dog Close
You should never leave your slobbery friend outside or inside the tent alone. Left unattended inside the tent can cause a restless dog to chew through the flimsy lining, leaving you with a missing dog and a holey tent. Unattended dogs, especially smaller dogs like Shih Tzus, Pugs and Jack Russell Terriers can seem like the perfect meal to predators like coyotes if left outside the tent.
In the rare situation your dog is not by your side (eating, restroom breaks or practicing good hygiene), many people resort to tying their dogs up at the campground. While it does keep them in one place, tethering a dog can mean you are constantly having to untangle them from picnic benches and trees. It also can mean having to watch them painfully struggle against the tether while trying to run, not realizing they are tied up.
A simple solution to this is creating a doggy zipline this way your dog can still explore the campground while saying both out of trouble and harm’s way. Keep in mind that you should connect your pup with a harness, attaching by the collar can be a choking hazard.
The Good and Bad: Be Careful with Campfire Foods
Just thinking about campfire food can make our mouths water, but did you know that some picnic foods can be dangerous and even deadly to dogs? Here is a list of f campfire foods to watch out for.
- Grapes/Raisins: A dog ingesting, even just one, can lead to irreversible kidney failure or death. Try Instead: Apple slices. Apples are a good source of vitamins and fiber for your dogs and as an added bonus, can also act as a breath mint!
- Garlic, Onions, and Scallions: If eaten, these can damage red blood cells which can ultimately cause anemia and organ failure in your pup. Try Instead: Baby carrots as they are high in fiber, vitamins and good for your dog’s teeth.
- Chocolate: This is a well known one, yet chocolate is still one of the leading ways dogs are poisoned each year. Be sure to keep your pup away from s'mores this summer as eating chocolate can cause your canine to have seizures and the result could be fatal. Try Instead: Peanut Butter. This is a favorite treat for many canines and has a healthy bonus, it is filled with heart healthy fats, vitamin B, vitamin E, niacin and is a good source of protein!
For a more complete list, check out our Best and Worst Foods To Share With Your Dog article.
Looking for more tips for your next outdoor adventure? Check out our blog post on the Top Tips For Hiking With Your Dog.