Looking for a camping buddy that is always in a good mood, easy to entertain, and down for adventure? Try your dog.
(photo by ambassador @tahoe_wild with Charlie)
Hey, it’s Krystal from BE THE RAD. I have gone on trips with girlfriends, my husband, with other couples and even solo and I have to admit that trips with my Korra, an outdoor loving golden retriever, are at the top of my list of my favorite adventures.
(photo of Korra by @aloharadlife)
While camping with a dog can be relatively low maintenance there are a few things that pet owners should check off their list to increase the chances of a problem-free experience.
(photo by @jaspy_the_dog)
Here is a short list of tips that I developed from my own experiences with Korra as well as advice from seasoned outbound lovers who camp with their dogs.
Tip 1: Bring Their IDs
In addition to regular dog ID tags bring a temporary tag for your dog to wear. On the temporary tag write the name of the park where you are staying and your camping site number. If you don’t have a campsite number include the phone number of their nearest ranger station.
(photo by @megansoffer)
Tip 2: Get Hooked
Bring assorted leashes. A short leash is especially useful if the destination is heavily wooded. You will want to keep your dog close to you and a short leash keeps her from getting tangled.
For the campsite, the rules usually require dogs to be on leashes of a certain length 5 to 6ft or less so rope is not always acceptable.
(photo by @jaspy_the_dog)
@anythingthatswild advance camping tip: Depending on your campsite’s requirements or if you setting up camp off the grid you may be able to create a dog run. To create the dog run find 2-3 solid trees at your site. Use a strong piece of robe, a carabiner and your dog’s leash. Tie the rope around the trees and use the carabiner to attach the leash and the rope. Your dog will be able to move along the path of the rope while staying secure and not wandering off.
If you tie up your dog to a leash, tether or dog run make sure that they have access to shade because dogs can get heat stroke easily (which can be fatal).
(photo of Lia by @anythingthatswild)
Tip 3: Weather and Terrain Ready
If you have a short or thin coat dog and you are camping in cold weather, pack a coat or vest for your dog to wear.
(photo by @mirandashea24)
Depending on the terrain and the thickness of your dog’s paw pads, dog booties are a good idea for paw protection. But have your dog practice wearing them before you go camping because booties take some time to get use too.
(photo by @dustydesertdogs)
@trustyourtrail suggests for those who will be around water like a river, stream, lake or beach bring a life vest for your dog. Just like the booties and sweaters a life vest takes some getting used to.
(Photos by @trustyourtrail.)
Tip 4: Know Before You Go
Check with the campsite and ranger stations on what the rules for dogs are.
Some suggested questions to ask are:
Do they need to be on a leash at all times?
Can they go on hiking paths?
Are they allowed on beaches or the lake?
Are there bears, mountain lions or other big and predatory animals that may think your dog looks like a meal?
I went camping with Korra in Montana De Oro and the campsite allowed dogs as long as they were on a 5 ft. a leash in the campsite, however dogs were not allowed on the hiking trails which was a huge bummer. We had to leave the campsite to find a beach where Korra was allowed to play.
(photo of Korra off site by @aloharadlife)
The lesson learned here is to check what ALL the rules are concerning dogs, the campsite, surrounding areas, etc.
Tip 5: The Serious Essential
Whether you are backpack camping or tent camping at a campsite you should bring a portable dog bed. Laying directly on the ground puts your dog at risk of over exposure to the cold since their body heat is quickly absorbed into the earth.
Bring an all-weather tarp to place under her bed to shield her from hyperthermia.
(photo by @goprogirl)
Water: When it comes to drinking water one cannot trust streams and lakes as a source of hydration. If you can’t carry enough filtered water for both you and your dog, bring giardia tablets and a tiny bottle of bleach. You only need a couple of drops to purify the water. Before using any treatments or chemicals I suggest talking to a vet or read up about it online.
Food: You can certainly spoil your dog with meats and veggies that you might cook over the campfire but be careful to not give too much “human” food to your dog. Too much different food may cause an upset stomach, constipation, diarrhea or vomiting which leads to dehydration which can be very dangerous for your dog.
Always pack more dog food than needed just in case there is a delay in getting home or to more food. Make sure to bring bowls for your dog’s food and water. @Tahoe_wild suggest collapsible bowls which are light weight and take up very little storage room. If there is a bear box available store all your food together in it.
(photo by @erinandadventuredog)
Medical: It never hurts to be over prepared (says my husband who is an Eagle Scout) so I pack a K9 first aid kit. Take the kit while hiking or keep it near by. If your dog is anything like Korra they will want to get into everything that nature has to offer so they will get hurt every once in a while. @dustydesertdogs recommends the Explorer First Aid Kit from Alcott
(photo by @dustydesertdogs)
These five tips should help you nail a safe and fun adventure with your dog. The better you can prepare the better your experience together will be. @anythingthatswild reminds us that “your camping trip is your dogs get away too” so make sure that you have fun and spoil your dog.
(photo by @dogswiss)
Are you an expert at camping with dogs? What are your tips, do’s and don’ts?
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