Humans have camped with our canine companions for tens of thousands of years. It’s no wonder that even with modern camping equipment, being in the wild with dogs seems like such a primal thing. Enjoying the wonders of nature with your beloved canine may conjure in you a sense of a deep, irreplaceable bond that cannot be readily explained with words.

That said, camping with your dog is not something you should be doing on a whim.

Many dogs (and their owners) aren’t used to the yard, let alone camping trails. It can take several trips before you and your dog are used to camping, and you can safely hit the trails whenever you want.

We all have to start somewhere, though, and if you anticipate going camping with your pooch and your other loved ones soon, now’s the right time to prepare. To ensure a safe and enjoyable trip for you and your trusted canine companion, be ready to order essentials like custom Martingale collars so that you can easily guide your dog out on the trail and collapsible travel bowls so that they can readily eat their meals outdoors. Also, be sure to follow the pet-friendly tips below:

1) Head to Your Vet for a Checkup

Before any long trip:

  • Take your dog to the vet to make sure that they’re fit to travel.
  • Get your dog up to date on their vaccinations and ask your vet about flea and tick prevention.
  • Suppose your dog has a history of travel anxiety.

In that case, your vet may also be able to recommend medical interventions that can help them better handle the stresses of your upcoming camping journey.

2) Socialize Your Dog

Only take your dog out camping if it has been adequately socialized and knows basic commands. Your dog will probably meet other dogs and humans on the trails; there’s no guarantee they’ll be friendly. Avoid unnecessary risks and only take your dog with you once it has learned how to behave.

3) Print Out Good Photos of Your Dog

Take a few high-resolution pictures showing your dog’s distinguishing features and print them out to take with you. If your dog gets loose and you need help finding them, these print-outs will be much handier than pictures on a phone screen.

4) Confirm that the Campsite is Dog-Friendly

Before heading out, make sure that the campsite you’ve selected truly welcomes dogs. Rather than just relying on the info you may have found online, call the campsite directly to confirm if it has appropriate facilities and restrictions regarding leash laws and off-leash areas. Not all dog-friendly campsites have the facilities you expect, so you may want to call several before making a final selection.

5) Pack Essential Camping Gear

Write a checklist of all the things you and your dog need. This includes food, water, travel-appropriate bowls, a leash, a collar with ID tags, poop bags, a blanket, and any medications. If you have room, a dog-specific first aid kit with antiseptic, bandages, and tick-removing tools would also be good. Also, pack extra food and water for your dog to keep their energy levels up and prevent dehydration.

Some trail conditions can be quite hazardous to dogs, and you may need to pack weather-appropriate dog gear. In particular, see if your dog needs booties for tough terrain or a cooling vest for hot weather. Consider bringing a rain jacket or warm garment if your dog gets cold quickly.

6) Respect Both Written and Unwritten Campground Etiquette

Campsites that are dog-friendly will have a list of rules ready for you to peruse. Other times, however, there may not be any published rules, so you’ll need to stick to unspoken etiquette. Fortunately, so long as you’re mindful of other campers, their pets, and the surrounding environment, you and your dog should be able to avoid any awkwardness at the campgrounds.

7) Bring a Good Tie-Out Cable

A proper tie-out cable can keep your dog secure while allowing it to move around the campsite. They’re especially useful during meal times or when you need to focus on setting up camp. Ensure the place you secure them to is shaded and comfortable so your dog can relax.

8) Maintain a Consistent Routine on Camping Days

Most dogs thrive on routine, so try to maintain their regular feeding and sleeping schedule even when you’re out and about outdoors. These routines can help keep your dog anchored and less prone to causing mischief

9) Provide Your Dog with Novel Entertainment

Be sure also to plan activities to enrich your dog’s camping experience. Activities like a swim at the lake or fetch sessions will help burn off energy and reduce the likelihood of behavioral issues. Also, explore pet-friendly trails and have your dog engage with the environment under your supervision to get some much-needed mental enrichment away from home.

10) Monitor Your Dog’s Health During Your Trip

Lastly, give your dog a quick check each morning under natural light. Learn to spot the signs of a flea or tick infestation, as these pests are common outdoors. Also, examine your dog’s paws for cuts and any unusual injuries. If they seem ill, don’t force them to hit the trails, and find a nearby vet who can help.

Happy Trails Ahead for You and Your Pupper

More pet parents are going on camping trips with their dogs than ever. Some do it for the ‘gram, and others do it to enrich their dog’s life better. Regardless of your reason, your priority when camping with your canine is to ensure a safe camping experience for them. With these tips, you shouldn’t have difficulty observing best camping practices with your dog and planning your next happy adventures together in the great outdoors.

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