Camping trips are the perfect outings to unwind, especially since you can bring your dog along. Camping offers about everything a dog desires…outdoor exploration, delicious food cooked over open flames and quality time with their owners!
Preparation For Dog Camping Trips
It is important that you prepare for dog camping trips. With the proper preparation for camping with your dog, you can maximize safety and comfort, minimize stress, and create memorable experiences with your favorite furry friend.
The first step before going camping with your dog is to realistically evaluate if it’s in your dog’s best interest. You should let your dog’s personality guide you. Then start with shorter trips closer to home in case your pet gets stressed.
Dog Anxiety With Camping
If your dog becomes anxious to new environments or reactive to new stimuli easily, they may not be good for camping. The ride in the car and the unfamiliar people, animals, sounds and sights at the campground can all cause stress.
Evaluate Dog’s Physical Health
Another concern for safety is your dog’s age and physical health. Check the forecast of the weather. Puppies and small dogs have a harder time staying warm if it’s wet or cold, and specific breeds of dogs and older dogs may not be able to stay cool in warmer temperatures.
If your dog already suffers from health issues, it’s best not to take them camping and choose a more gentle activity closer to home.
Mentally Preparing Your Dog
Your dog might not know they are going camping, but you can help them mentally prepare for a camping trip. You need to make the camping trip as low-stress as possible by introducing your dog to all the new camping gear at home first. New objects can be scary for dogs especially if they’re out of their comfort zones.
Introduce the objects one at a time from a distance and let your dog approach them on their own terms. Do not force your dog to go near an item or bring the item to the dog. Let them go themselves.
For items that expand or noisy items, first introduce them in their deflated state or quiet state to build familiarity. You might also want to use dog treats to encourage inspection on a closer level.
Get your dog used to entering and spending time inside the tent. You can think of this as a form of giant crate training. Practice this at home before you go camping out in the woods. Spend nights in the backyard to make sure they are okay with sleeping inside the tent.
Managing Your Dog At The Campsite
It’s smart to proactively plan how you will manage your dog at the campsite. Make sure the campsite you choose allows pets and read up on their rules. It’s strongly recommended that you keep your dog on a leash. Recall dog training is recommended to prevent your pet from wandering off or bothering campers.
If your dog is going to be off the leash, you must make sure you have taught solid recall, leave, and stay commands. Recall is basically the most important command for any dog when it is not home, and you cannot practice it too much. Good recall training might be a lifesaver to keep your dog away from a dangerous place or other wildlife.
It is recommended to bring tie-out dog stakes, never with a chain, and a dog crate or portable run to keep them safe while you are setting up or using the bathroom.
Once you arrive, take your dog on a tour before settling in. There will be a lot of new sounds, smells, and sites. If you let your dog become familiar with the location and the individuals there, they will be less likely to run off.
Pet Safety/Health Concerns While Camping
You need to be aware of pet safety and other health concerns that might not arise in everyday life at home. In the wild, you’ll find wildlife, insects, parasites, and other dangers, and it is best to be prepared.
Before leaving for your trip, make sure you have all the emergency numbers you need. Furthermore, know the campsite emergency policies ahead of time. Also, make sure your dog vaccinations are up-to-date before you go camping.
Don’t forget to pack for your dog’s needs as well as your own. The essentials of bowls, food, and defecation bags are needed, but so are insect or pest-proof containers for dog food, night lights, dog-safe insect repellent and toys.
Lastly, always take a comfort item like a soft toy or blanket to remind them of home!