If you enjoy bringing your dog to new places and want to try doing something new together, consider camping with your pet. It’s a great way to reconnect with nature and get away from the distractions at home. It also helps strengthen your bond with your pup, as the experience provides temporary seclusion from other people, letting you focus on yourself and your pet.
While camping with your dog can be very exciting, you must make some preparations to ensure that it stays safe and comfortable for you and your dog. Being in an unfamiliar environment can put your pup on high alert, especially if there is wildlife nearby. To ensure you and your pet enjoy the experience, here are four beginner-friendly tips for camping with your pup.
Check Campground Rules about Pets
Many campsites in the United States welcome well-behaved dogs. However, it’s still a good idea to call ahead and confirm whether or not the campground is pet-friendly to be certain. It’s also a good opportunity to ask about their pet policy and rules.
For example, most campgrounds require dogs to stay on a leash at all times. Some locations also have leash length requirements or restrict the use of retractable leashes. That said, be sure you’re using a standard-length dog leash, and bring a spare in case the one you’re using breaks. For environmentally conscious pet owners, an eco-friendly leash is a good option. Also, consider getting a customizable eco-friendly dog collar to match, and make sure to attach your pet’s updated ID tag to it.
Pack a Tent with Ample Room for You and Your Pet
One of the things you’ll need to bring when camping is a tent. While you might have one that suits your needs, you’ll need to upgrade it to something that has enough space for your pet as well. If you have a medium-sized or large dog, consider your dog as another person sharing the tent with you, especially if they typically sprawl out when sleeping. This means you’ll need a tent big enough for at least two people. If you have a companion and more than one dog, get a tent big enough to fit all of you. Alternatively, have each human stay in a tent with one pet. That way, the dogs always have some supervision.
Aside from the right-sized tent, bring a sheet or dog blanket you can spread out on the floor. It can protect the tent’s floor from your dog’s claws, as some pups have a habit of scratching the ground before lying down. Also, bringing your dog’s favorite blanket may make them feel more at ease since the item has the familiar scent of home.
Bring Essential Pet Supplies
After sorting out your tent shelter, remember to bring essential pet supplies too. Begin with the basics, such as ample dog food and water. Consider how long you’ll be camping, and pack that amount along with some extra just in case you need to stay a night or two more. In addition to food and water for your dog, bring some collapsible pet bowls that are easy to clean and pack. It ensures your pet has containers they can safely eat and drink from without compromising the limited space you may have in your backpack.
Another item you need to pack plenty of is poop bags. They will help you quickly pick up after your dog so you don’t leave messes for other campers. Poop bags are also very handy as regular trash bags and can be used as makeshift gloves if you come across something you don’t want to touch with your bare hands.
When camping with your dog, make sure they’re ready for the weather too. Check the weather forecast before your trip and pack weather-appropriate pet gear like a dog coat to keep your dog warm during the colder months or a dog hat to shield their eyes from the sun during the summer. Additionally, bring something to prepare your pup for the terrain, like dog boots to protect their paws from sharp stones and prickly plants.
Conduct a Trial Run
If you’re uncertain about how your dog will react to their first camping trip, you may want to have a trial run in your backyard. Set up your tent and behave as you would on a camping trip. Sleep inside the tent, eat your meals outdoors, and if possible, start a campfire. See how your pet will react to these things. Essentially, you want to ensure your dog is comfortable with common camping activities while in a controlled environment. This will help give you a better idea of how else you can prepare your dog once you take them along for the real deal.
Camping with your dog requires some careful preparation, especially if it’s the first time you’ll be bringing them along. Be sure to check out these tips so you and your dog can have a pleasant experience. If you feel your dog isn’t ready for a night at the campgrounds, consider taking them for a day hike instead. It will still let you enjoy the outdoors with your pup and create new memories together.