Robin Shortt

Article Summary:

What you need to know before you take your pet camping.

Camping With Your Dog

You and your dog can have a lot of fun camping together. Look at it as a walk that doesn't end, during which he gets to spend all his time with you. For us campers, it can give us another means of security and another way of bonding.

For those of you who are wanting to get involved in this great adventure with their pet, there are some things you need to do to make this as fun and safe as possible.

First time camping pooches should be shown the wonders of nature slowly. City or urban dogs need to be brought along slowly because of the tender pads on their paws. They also need to get comfortable with all the open spaces and wonders of nature. Your dog will find new odors and sights in this stress free environment. Going on nature and hiking trails will help your dog gain muscle strength and fitness needed before you go camping. Start by taking them on some day trips to state, county or conservation Parks.

As we enjoy the companionship of our dogs, they become a member of our families. Going with us on family outings, walks, trips around town, just about everywhere we go they tag along with us. That's fine because we care about them so much. It's not always the same with camp owners, who feel dogs are not man's best friend in their camping area. They have good reason to feel this way. A lot of dog owners don't keep their pets leashed properly, nor to they clean up after them. They also don't abide by the camp rules the way they should. An irresponsible dog owner doesn't feel the rules apply to them and their dogs. Because of these pet owners, we all suffer. Now there are not many campgrounds that allow dogs. Check ahead to make sure the campground you're going to allows dogs, and if so, that they are allowed on the trails, or have special trails set aside for them. Be aware that campgrounds charge an additional fee per night for dogs.

As loving, caring, pet owners, we need to find a way to take care of our dogs while we go out on the trails with our other family members. We could take turns dog sitting with family, friends, other campers with dogs.

Here are some pre-camping tips:

  • Try to take your dog for a pre-camping visit for possible needed shots, and a Rabies shot tag for his collar.

  • Look at a possible Lyme disease vaccine.

  • Take with you a current copy of his records and his vet's phone number.

  • Pick up a proper dog license & ID tags for your dog with their name, your name, ect.

  • Microchips, tattoos and pet registries can be used.

  • Bring medications and a copy of prescriptions.

  • Try to get a site with some shade for your dog.

  • Supervise your dog closely around children, other visitors and other dogs.

  • Keep your dog quiet. Frequent and continued barking disturbs the wildlife and other campers.

  • Let your dog have time to adjust to his new surroundings. Give him time to rest.

  • Try to use ziplock bags to pick up after him and properly dispose of it in appropriate trash containers.

  • Keep an eye on how weather conditions effect your dog, heat, cold, rain etc.

  • Consider use of a crate for travel and short term restraint, while you are near. Your pet could be stolen if not watched carefully.

  • You should be aware that your dog will have increased exposure to ticks and fleas. Take the proper tick/flea collars, repellants or use Frontline applications. Other diseases can also be transmitted by wild animals and insects.

Robin Shortt is a camping enthusiast. A Cub Scout leader and the father of five children and five step children, he sees the big picture when it comes to helping kids love and explore the great outdoors. Visit:
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