1. Determine if your dog is prepared. With varying wildlife, additional hazards and new surroundings, a trained dog will make your camping experience much safer. If your dog is still a puppy or you fear he might not be able pay attention to your commands among all the amazing natural surroundings, it might be best to bolster his training before leaving for an overnight camping excursion. Also, know your dog's capabilities. A once-a-day walk around your neighborhood doesn't exactly mean he can withstand a long, treacherous hike or swim.
2. Brush up on your etiquette. Trail etiquette that is! If you are planning on taking your dog on a hike or even to a beach, make sure you know about the leash laws in the area. And, of course, come prepared with poop bags. Just because the wild animals do their business in the woods, that doesn't mean your oh-so-lovely and domesticated animal can too. Be respectful of your campsite and pick up after your dog.
3. Bring travel bowls. Just as you need some camping essentials, so does your dog! First and foremost they will need to stay hydrated and fed. I love these Yummy Travel Bowls by Sleepypod ($30). These bowls store and transport water and food at the same time and are spill resistant, leak free and super easy to use. Made from baby-safe FDA plastic, Yummy Travel bowls are BPA free and help keep ants out by filling the bottom saucer with water.
Photo credit: Sleepypod
4. Make sure your dog is armed with dog-safe pest repellent. Wondercide makes a great mosquito repellent and flea and tick repellent that is organic, effective and safe for both you and your pup to share!
5. Give your dog a soft place to lay. Typically, camping will also mean lower temperatures, whether you are up in the mountains or just sleeping under the stars. I like to tuck my dog in this awesome Kurgo Loft Wander Bed ($65). The bag rolls out like a sleeping bag and is made of a quilted, waterproof Microtomic™ rip-stop fabric that is durable, while the poly fill makes it cozy. It has a non-slip, waterproof Rufftex™ bottom that keeps it from slipping around in the car and makes it perfect for laying on dewy grass while camping.
Photo credit: Kurgo
6. Keep safe. I like to pack a pet first-aid kit whenever we bring our dog camping, just in case he gets into something that he shouldn't (or something gets into him). The AVMA has a great checklist for a pet first-aid kit. The most common dog injury when camping is to a dog's paws and foot pads. Small rocks and thorns can cause big pain for your dog, which is why I like to use the Summit Trex™ Boots by Ruffwear ($54). They are great for everyday protection and long days on the trail, and feature flexible traction from hot pavement, ice melt and rough terrain. The stretch gaiter protects the leg and locks out dirt, debris and moisture and I really like the reliable and intuitive hook-and-loop cinch strap.
I hope these tips help you and your dogs have a fun-filled summer enjoying the wilderness!
Do you camp with your dog? Share your tips in the comments below!
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