Julie Bagley and April Malinowski
One great way to bond with your dog in the late summer months is snuggling in a tent on a camping trip. There is something about sharing the great outdoors with your dog for an extended refresher. If this is your dog’s first camping trip here are a few tips – or reminders if you and your dog are camping pros - for a successful trip.
Before you leave on your adventure
Let your best friend check out the gear. Like with anything else, dogs love to inspect new things and you’ll know ahead of time if there’s anything like might spook your dog. If you have time, set up the tent, make him comfortable inside with his favorite things and plenty of treats.
Pack the necessities. Food, water, leash, bowls, towels, poop bags, and a way to give water on the go. It is also a good idea to bring a shot record and vet information with you. Double check that your dog is up to date on heartworm medication and consider bringing pet safe insect repellent like the one in our OutdoorExplorer Care Package.
Plan ahead. Check the weather and think about the activities you have planned. If a quick dip in a lake is on the agenda you might want extra towels or waterless shampoo. If it is going to be hot then you may want to pack booties to protect their paws and it may not be wise to tackle a trail with very little shade for your dog. Or if it is going to be cold at night your dog may appreciate an extra blanket. Double check the pet policy of your destination (it may have changed since you were there last) and look up where the nearest emergency vet center is.
On your adventure
Keep a leash on things. Hiking up a ridge or going to the bathroom, it is better to keep your dog on a leash. It might seem counter-intuitive with the freedom of outdoors but it is the best way to stay safe and usually there is a leash law in-force. Remember, there are amazing smells everywhere!
Health checks. Don’t forget to check your dog for ticks, foxtails, burrs and thorns. Your dog is less likely to stick to the middle of the trail, therefore, has a better chance of being exposed so it is best to check them from head to tail and in-between their toes too. It is also a good idea to regularly check their pads for injury.
Follow the rules. Rules may vary from location to location but there are two golden rules I see everywhere. One - pick up after your dog and dispose of poop bags properly. Two – don’t let your dog bark excessively, especially at night. Places that have responsible pet owner guests are more likely to keep allowing pets.