For some of us, there can be nothing better than spending time in the great outdoors. Pitching a tent near a lake, in a forest, or anywhere else can be what recharges us.

Have you ever included your pets on these excursions? Camping with dogs can be fun and entertaining. It can also be stressful, unless you follow the Scout motto: “Be Prepared”. With that in mind, Goldorado Animal Hospital shares our best tips for camping with dogs.

Camping With Dogs

June is National Camping Month. It’s the perfect time to try out camping with your dog, or to resolve to make it happen more often. Here are some tips to ensure you all have a great time.

Check the gear – To acclimate your dog to the sights and smells of your camping gear, get it all out for a backyard trial. Pitch your tent, set up your lantern and stove, use your headlamps, and let your dog check everything out.

Visit the vet – Visit us before you head out to ensure your dog is healthy and current on vaccinations and parasite prevention. When traveling, keep a copy of your dog’s vaccine records in your car’s glove compartment, along with a pet first aid kit. Make sure his tags and microchip are up to date with your current contact information.

Pack right – Remember to pack his bedding, crate, toys, food, leash, brush for removing brambles and debris, and any medications he needs. You may also need to pack fresh water for him, as drinking from open water sources is often not safe.

Research your area – In the age of the internet, it’s easy to research pet friendly campgrounds. Many include amenities for pets like clean up stations, fenced dog play areas, and dog friendly swimming. Make sure you have the number of the closest veterinary emergency hospital programmed into your phone as well.

Petiquette” when camping – Know that your dog will be your constant companion while you’re camping. Never leave your pet in a parked car or at the campsite. Bring a tie out to tether him while you are in camp, so that you can have hands free while he’s still leashed. And don’t forget to clean up any pet waste so that campsites remain pet friendly.

Have extra towels and blankets on hand – You’ll need lots of extra towels for drying off your doggy swimmer, as well as a designated towel or blanket for the ground near your camp chairs and the tent.

Water and shade – Fresh, clean water is as important to your dog as it is to you. Check and refill the water bowl often and make sure to clear out any pine needles or other debris that may fall in. To prevent overheating, pitch your tent in a shady area and/or bring a canopy to provide extra shade.  

Bring chew toys – Give your pet something to do while you’re in camp making dinner or relaxing by the fire. Stay away from anything that might attract wildlife, though.

Check your dog – Check your dog’s body for burrs, foxtails, and ticks every day. These can become a major problem if not addressed right away. Don’t forget to check her paws and pads for any trauma that could have occurred while hiking or swimming. A paw balm and/or dog booties might be a great addition to a pet first aid kit.

Safety While Camping With Dogs

As always, stay aware of your environment and keep your dog close.  Nature can be unpredictable, and so can dogs. So it’s important to be prepared for anything and to ensure your dog companion has strong basic obedience. A good recall can save your dog’s life in an uncertain situation, as can following the “leave it” command.

This guide from the ASPCA is helpful in refreshing your dog’s outdoor training. If you have any questions or concerns about camping with dogs please give us a call. Most importantly, get out there and have fun!