If you own a dog, you have two options when you go out for a holiday or in this case camping. You either have to leave it at someone’s house or bring it along; which can be a very good idea actually. However to do that without any hiccups, you need to follow certain tips and techniques on taking your dog camping which can make it easy and rewarding to carry your dog on your camping trip.
Prepare for the trip
Preparation, preparation and some more preparation. You need to thoroughly prepare yourself and your dog for the camping trip. It is better to be prepared beforehand than go there and realize things aren’t working out.
You need to properly train your dog for the trip. Now even if that involves teaching it new commands or improving its physical capabilities, you have to do it. After all you are going into the wilderness, right?
But first, check whether dogs are allowed in the camping area
You arrive at the camping spot with high spirits, only to find out that pets aren’t allowed. Now that sure would be a dampener, wouldn’t it? So before you start on your trip, check with the camping area authorities whether dogs are allowed in the camping zone. Most of the places have no problem with it and allow dogs in the premises.
Ensure all shots and vaccination are updated
Get updated with all the shots and vaccinations that are necessary for your dog. Also, you need to get a rabies tag for your dog. Most of the campgrounds and parks have that as a compulsory check. Also, carry the vet’s phone number just in case.
Ensure your latest contact details on your dog’s tags
What if your dog gets separated from you on one of those hikes? Though you must be well aware of the importance of a contact tag for your dog, you must ensure that you include updated and complete information.
If unfortunately your dog gets separated from you, the tag can help people to contact you in case they come across your dog, and they can return it to you with ease. The contact details must necessarily include your contact number as well.
As far as possible, keep it on a leash
Are you the type of dog owner who rarely keeps it on a leash? If you feel keeping dogs on a leash is same as limiting their freedom, you may want to add an exception while camping. How much ever trained and disciplined your dog may be, it is always a good idea to keep it on a leash.
You do not want to be running behind your dog while it runs behind other small animals of the wild. There are also chances of your dog going astray in its excitement to explore the open area. So, it is important that you keep your dog restrained.
If you are in a campground, there are bound to be other people along with you who might have come for camping. Now you seriously do not want to be a nuisance to those people. I do understand you cannot keep your dog on leash all the time. The best time to open it is when you are on a hike and arrive at an open spot, away from habitation. That way while the dog is safe from other animals, you also do not have the headache of dealing with other agitated people.
Do not forget to clean up behind your dog
Dog waste can contaminate the natural environment especially water. And if you are at a campground, it can irritate the non-dog owners. In such a condition, it is always best to clean up the poop with the help of disposable bags, and then dispose it off in a trash can.
Unlike horse poop, which is often treated as manure, dog dung doesn’t decompose off that easily and hence poses a problem to nature as well as other people. Dog owners do not want to come across as being irresponsible with their dogs, as this can give the non-dog owners another reason to close the campgrounds and parks for our four-legged companions.
Carry appropriate food and equipment for your dog as you would for yourself
Another thing you might have to add to the equipment list would be dog food. Carry along appropriate amount of dog food and portable dishes for serving food to your dog. Also, try taking along collapsible feeding bowls as far as possible as they can be easily folded and stored in the backpack. It is also important that you take care of the dog food like you would take care of your own, by storing it in airtight boxes to keep it fresh and edible.
And Keep It Hydrated
Just like humans, even dogs are vulnerable to dehydration if they are not kept hydrated and in shade. You must take care to observe any symptoms of dehydration or heat stroke. Since dogs do not perspire, you must watch its body temperature if it shows signs of weakness or lethargy.
Give the dog enough water to drink at regular intervals.
Make sure you have adequate knowledge of canine First-Aid
You should be aware of the basic first aid procedures to be carried out in case of any emergency. Since you are out in the wild, you do not have access to animal clinics and so the safety and quick recovery of your dog is in your hands completely. Hence it is a good idea to educate yourself about first-aid for dogs.
You can read more about first-aid for dogs here.
Give it space
Just like kids, you dog may also have a downtime, the time when it wants to rest and cannot play or hike. You must be observant and watch out for signs of that. Give your dog adequate time to rest. Bring along its dog basket and give it the luxury of resting in its own dog basket when it is tired. Believe me, your dog will be grateful to you! 😀