Things to Do Before You Take Your Dog Camping

Puppy faceFor many dog owners, a dog is more than just a pet. For some, their dog is a member of the family, and to think about going camping without Fido or Rocket, or whatever you call your furriest family member, is on par with leaving the kids at home. But camping with a dog – like camping with children – is much different than going camping on your own. There are things that you have to consider and plan for when camping with a dog that you wouldn’t normally think about. Here are some of the things you should plan for when camping with a dog.

Before you even think about tossing your tent in your trunk and hopping in the car, check to make sure that your desired campground allows dogs. Most maintained campsite will have a website or number that you can call to find out more information. Dogs are allowed at campsites on national forest land, provided that they are on a leash no longer than 6 feet.

Also make sure that you look into leash laws if hiking. Some trails allow dogs, while others require them to be on leashes of a certain length, and some do not allow dogs at all.

It’s very important that your dogs are trained before you decide to take them camping, especially some type of obedience training. A sounds or a movement in the woods can send your dog running, and without training, it could be difficult for you to keep your dogs close, or find them if they get lost.

Know your dog’s tendencies. Does your dog like people? Does your dog like other dogs? Does your dog like to chase wildlife? These are all important things to know as it can have a direct impact on your camping experience and the experience of the people around you.

On the subject of dogs and wildlife… There are countless stories about dogs being attacked by wolves, coyotes, cougars, and bears, or catching a face full of porcupine quills or a nose full of skunk spray. Make sure that your dog doesn’t stray too far from camp, and make sure that they come when called.

Some dogs love to bark. These dogs are not good at camping. If you’re camping remotely, this isn’t that big of a deal. If you’re camping at a campground with loads of other campers, this becomes more of an issue. Work with your dogs to try and make them less prone to barking before taking them on a camping trip.

Make sure your dog can keep up if you’re hitting the trails. If you’re hanging around basecamp you’re probably OK with most any type of dog. Leave the corgis and puppies at home if you’re planning on going for a hike, though.

Clean up after your dog. Sure you’re in nature, but your dog isn’t a natural part of the ecosystem, and it’s just not courteous to leave a mess in the middle of your campsite. Bring the appropriate items to clean up after your dog…whatever that may be.

Sure, you and your dog are roughing it, but your dog still needs. water. Pack extra water and be sure to bring a dog bowl.

Determine where your dog will be sleeping. Are you and your dog sleeping in the car? Sleeping together in the tent? Will you tie your dog up outside? You should have this figured out well before it’s bedtime. Bring the appropriate collars, cordage, ties, blankets, or bedding to make sure that you and your dog get a good night’s sleep.

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