Camping with your dog can be a lot of fun. After all, what could be better than spending time in nature with your best friend? It’s important to keep your dog safe when camping though. Unpredictable weather, wildlife, lakes, rivers, and even local diseases could be dangerous to your pet.
In this article, we’ll discuss five tips for having a fun and safe camping trip with your dog.
1. Use Trial Runs to Make Your Dog Feel Comfortable
It’s a good idea to spend time with your dog inside the tent before your trip. Not all dogs enjoy tent living straight away, but creating positive associations at home can help your actual trip go much more smoothly.
If you have enough space, pitch the tent in your yard and allow your pet to explore it in his own time. Place a few treats inside the tent and give plenty of praise when they start to investigate.
When your dog is happy to go in and out of the tent, the next step is to put a bed where he’ll be sleeping. Ideally, your dog should be relaxed enough that he lays down on the bed. You could even go as far as spending a night together in the tent to make sure he’s ready.
On a related note, it’s best to go on a short camping trip with your dog if this is his first time.
2. Don’t Leave Your Dog Unattended While Camping
Dogs require ongoing care and attention on a camping trip, so they shouldn’t be left unattended.
It’s not fair on both the dog and other campsite visitors to leave your pet unattended, even if he’s usually calm and happy to spend time alone. Weather conditions can also quickly change, leading to unpredictable situations that might be dangerous for your dog.
Similarly, you shouldn’t allow your dog to roam freely around the campsite. Most campsites require dogs to be on a leash anyway, but you shouldn’t assume that other people want your dog to approach them.
While this might seem restrictive, if you want to explore locations that aren’t suitable for your dog, then it’s safest to leave her at home with family or friends.
3. Bring Plenty of Enrichment Toys
Camping often involves lots of walks and exploring, which most dogs love. But there’s also going to be plenty of quiet time hanging out at the tent.
To avoid your dog getting bored or frustrated, bring lots of toys and other enrichment activities. Snuffle mats, stuffed Kongs, squeaker toys, and chews can all be great options.
Not only will these toys help your dog to settle, but having something to keep your pet entertained is useful when you want some time to relax.
4. Always Check the Campsite’s Rules and Regulations
Not all campsites allow dogs, so it’s important to read the site’s rules before you arrive. If the campsite doesn’t explicitly say that dogs are welcome, then you should assume it’s not dog-friendly until you speak with a representative.
Even if the campsite allows dogs, they may have specific rules about how to care for your pet during the stay. For example, many campsites require a dog to be on leash at all times. Others have rules about excessive barking.
It’s not just the camping site that needs to be dog-friendly. Remember to check the nearby parks, pathways, and beaches to ensure there are plenty of locations to safely explore with your pet.
You should also research the local wildlife and climate. Are there any animals that could be potentially dangerous to your pet? What weather conditions can you expect? And are there are large bodies of water nearby that could be a hazard?
The better prepared you are, the less likely there is of something going wrong.
5. Be Prepared for Emergencies
Always be prepared for a veterinary problem when you’re camping. Make sure you bring all of your dog’s vet records, vaccination information, and details of current medications. Ideally, these should be laminated to keep them protected.
It’s also useful to bring the contact details of vets who are near to the campsite, so you don’t need to waste time searching for them in an emergency. Of course, your dog’s tags and microchip details should also be up-to-date.
Additionally, you should always take a dog first-aid kit when camping. This could include items such as:
Self-adhesive and non-stick bandages
Sterile eyewash (make sure it’s safe for dogs)
Tweezers or a tick remover
Your dog’s regular medication
An up-to-date photo
Before you go camping, it’s always a good idea to take your dog for a full check-up. This should include ensuring that they have any required vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, and are healthy enough for the trip.
Tip: Dogs should always wear a life jacket when they are near water, even if they are strong swimmers.
Camping is a great way to get back to nature and spend time with your dog. Being close to your pet in the wilderness is also a wonderful way to deepen your bond and make some lifelong memories.
It’s vital to be aware of potential dangers when camping with your dog though. By preparing in advance, you’re much more likely to have a fun and safe camping trip.