If you're somebody who enjoys camping, getting out in nature, and loves dogs, taking your best furry friend on an adventure with you can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences out there.
While not only opening both you and your dog up to new activities and stimulating experiences together, it can also strengthen your relationship and build a new level of trust.
Dogs possess an array of almost supernatural senses compared to that of a human (their sense of smell is up to 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than ours!) This allows them to be very in tune with nature, existing in a perfect symbiosis within it.
Besides being extremely fun to be around, it makes dogs very handy companions to have on getaways into nature.
While they are part of the family, bringing a dog with you camping is different from bringing another human. Therefore, there are a few things to consider when bringing your beloved canine on a camping trip with you.
Here are some tips that we think will help to ensure the next trip with your dog is a blast.
Pick Your Campsite Well
Before you start planning for the rest of your trip, you'll want to find a camping destination that accommodates dogs and one that you think your dog will enjoy. Most locations are fine with dogs, however, it's always a good idea to check first.
You don't want to arrive at your destination after traveling and realize that your dog isn't welcome!
Many campgrounds also have their own specific sets of rules and regulations which may vary quite a lot from campground to campground, so make sure you're well informed, prepared, and updated on your destination's policies.
Think about the layout of your potential campsite as well. Some things to consider include the terrain, if the site is suitable for the dog to comfortably walk around, and if there will be other people and animals around.
ID Your Dog
As with all camping trips, preparing for as many possible scenarios as you can is the most beneficial thing you can do when bringing your dog with you.
Make sure that your dog is chipped and has a form of identification on them at all times. Keep their collar on with your phone number and other contact information. If they're wearing a harness it's also handy to have some form of identification inside that as well.
If your dog does happen to run off or get lost, you'll want someone to be able to contact you as soon as possible.
If you've never taken your dog camping before, it's a good idea to work your way up to the experience and ascertain what your dog's reactions are.
There are a few dogs out there that will probably be a bit bamboozled and uncomfortable by a sudden change in surroundings in an unfamiliar location, such as sleeping in a tent amongst the sounds of nature.
Dogs, like humans, are individuals with endlessly complex mosaics of preferences and tastes. For example, some of them are absolutely ecstatic about going for a car ride with the family, while for other dogs it can be a source of stress and anxiety.
Try and simulate the camping experience with your dog in small increments before going on the trip.
Some good ways to do this are taking your dog for longer walks around your neighborhood or taking them into a nature reserve, large park, or anywhere that would be similar conditions to where you plan to eventually camp.
Another thing to consider is the sleeping arrangements during your trip.
Much like humans, if the dog has a comfortable bed they retreat to every evening, they will most likely get a good night's sleep if they have a sleeping arrangement that is as similar as possible to the conditions at home.
Make sure that your dog is comfortable sleeping in a tent as well. Usually, dogs will have space to walk around during the evening if they desire, so being stuck in a tent for the night without anywhere to walk around may be stressful for certain pups.
One way you can help your dog to feel comfortable is by taking their bedding from home, or something very similar so they feel more at ease.
Be Mindful Of Others
When you go to a dog-friendly campsite, it's quite likely you're going to run into other campers and other dogs.
Make sure you're well aware of how your dog will behave in such situations around other people and dogs and ensure that your dog's presence isn't disturbing others.
Like humans, some dogs are very social and love the company of other dogs and people. Others, not so much.
Think about how your dog behaves in social situations and plan accordingly.
For example, if your dog is barking and making a huge fuss the entire trip, it may prove to be quite bothersome to your camping crew and other groups.
Before taking your dog camping with you, it's really important that you've trained your dog well enough for them to recognize certain commands that will make sure your camping crew and others are kept safe.
Check on your Dog Often
This should already be quite high on your list of priorities, but remember to keep checking on your friend to make sure they are doing well.
Going out into nature sometimes presents a different and ever-changing environment in comparison to the more stable routine of the home. Every dog has individual tastes and will interact with the outdoors in a different manner.
Dogs are highly sensitive creatures who are able to detect certain environmental changes far better than us, so listen to and observe your dog’s behavior. Make sure your dog is happy and comfortable as often as you possibly can.
Keep your dog within sight at all times as well.
Leaving your dog unattended presents a large number of risks, especially if it's in a new, unknown location or in the darker hours of the day.
Take These Items
Ensuring that a trip away with your dog goes smoothly will very much depend on the equipment that you bring with you.
Here are some of the essentials to make the next trip with your furry friend a breeze.
- Dog Food
- Dog Waste Bags
- First Aid Kit (for dogs)
- Water/Food Bowls (Collapsible is better)
Most of all remember…
Have fun! Camping is an experience you and your dog can share together and if done right it will only serve to add to the treasured memories with your furry family member.
At the end of the day, your dog is another member of the family with some needs and considerations.
Just don't forget the treats!