Going camping with your dog can add an extra layer of fun! But just like all other parts of caring for a dog, bringing your pup on camping trips comes with its own responsibilities. If you’ve never camped with your pup before, it’s important to know what to keep in mind. Be prepared before you set off on your journey into the wild. Here are some tips on camping with a pup, courtesy of Petfinder and Gizmodo.
Make sure your dog is in shape
If you’re going on a trip and have lots of hikes planned, particularly if they are long hikes, keep in mind that your dog should be just as physically prepared as you are. Dogs need about five minutes of outdoor exercise for each month of age until they are fully grown. That includes aerobic exercise like playing catch or other games as well as just plain walking.
It makes sense—if your dog leads a sedentary life, how can he be expected to leap into hiking champion mode as soon as you leave for the mountains?
Work up to vigorous hiking
Some dogs may be better hikers than humans. But generally, you shouldn’t think that dogs can handle more than, or even as much as, you can. When you’re hiking with your dog, make sure to pace yourself. Don’t tire everyone out right off the bat, and take breaks as often as you need to. If you notice your pup looking tired, take the opportunity to sit down and enjoy the view.
Make sure your dog is healthy
Before you leave, it’s not a bad idea to go to the vet for a general check-up. Make sure your pup is up-to-date on all his vaccinations (there will be wild animals out there in the wilderness!) and that you have a plan for flea and tick control (Frontline, anyone?)
Are you allowed to camp with your dog?
Something that could really throw a wrench in the gears: dogs not being allowed at the campground. So make sure to call ahead or look on the website of the place you will be visiting and see what their rules are regarding pets. When you get there, keep your dog on a leash or within an enclosure so he doesn’t bother other campers, and so there is no risk that he will get lost in a strange new place.
Check your pup for bugs
The risk of getting Lyme and other insect-borne diseases varies depending on where you are. As a general rule, you need to be very careful. In addition to the precautions you take before setting out on your expedition, you should frequently check your dog for ticks, fleas and other pests. Check him each time you go for a hike, and at least every day while you are out camping.
Always have water on hand
Dogs can get dehydrated very quickly and easily. They can also get overheated quickly because they do not have the same mechanisms for cooling down that we do. So whenever you are out camping, and especially if you go for a brisk hike, make sure you have a water bottle and dish for your dog.
If you’re interested in reading more on how to camp with your dog, check out these links!