It’s late summer. There’s a bonfire crackling, a pile of sticks waiting for marshmallow hats, and a symphony of night creatures playing an endless song just for you. This can only mean one thing. You are camping!
Camping is a fantastic way to get out and experience the outdoors. It allows you to disconnect from the stresses of modern life and reconnect with our childlike sense of adventure. There are lakes to fish, trails to hike, lightning bugs to catch and woods to explore; and who better to experience all this excitement with than your four-legged best friend?
Camping With Your Dog
Dogs are the perfect camping companion. They love nothing more than to explore and relax outside with their owners, and they provide the most loyal company a human could ask for. Camping with your pet, however, requires a little additional preparation. If you make the decision to camp with your pet… plan ahead. Be prepared for the bad that might happen so that you can relax and enjoy all the good that will happen.
A Dog Camping Must: Safety First
The first thing to consider anytime you are leaving with your pet should always be safety. If you are leaving for any extended period of time you will need your pet first aid kit. If you do not have one, create one before your trip. If you do have one, be sure to double check your supplies. Also, consider your specific camping environment and the hazards therein. You may need to stock the kit with items you don’t typically keep on hand but may be necessary due to your destination.
A lot can happen in the woods or on the lake, and it is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry. If you don’t need the kit the entire time you’re camping, great! But if you do need it, having the kit on hand rather than packing up and finding a local store can make all the difference to both your pet’s safety and your enjoyment on the trip.
Training Before Camping With Your Dog
A few weeks prior to camping with your dog, it may be a good idea to consider some specific training for your pet. One specific and relevant training that many dog owners in our part of the country consider is rattlesnake training. Dogs are curious creatures and may want to play with other curious creatures they encounter when camping. But if that creature is a rattlesnake, he is not curious he is dangerous. Rattlesnake training is available at local training facilities and teaches your dog to retreat when he sees a rattlesnake rather than engage.
Another type of training to consider is recall. This training is useful in so many different situations, but it is particularly useful when on an outdoor adventure. There are a lot of new sights and sounds when hiking or camping. Your pup may find themselves interested in something they shouldn’t be or wander off too far. Training them to respond when you call them even from far distances can help you keep them safe.
Recall training can be done with professional trainers or you can train your dog yourself. Just be sure to build in enough time before your trip to master the skill. Your peace of mind will thank you for the effort.
The Comforts of Home
Once your safety is prepared for, it is time to think comfort. When camping there are varying levels of comfort to choose from. This all depends on what you are used to at home and how much you are willing to rough it – or ruff it. (See what we did there?) The same is true for your pet. If this is your first time camping with your pet, you may want to keep things as consistent as possible.
Bring along collapsible bowls for food and water, a dog bed for them to sleep in and maybe even a few of their favorite toys. While they will likely enjoy the time outside chasing frogs, they may get overwhelmed and overstimulated in the new surroundings. Having their bed and a set of pet bowls brings along some consistency and makes it easier for them to know where they are meant to sleep and eat, etc.
It is also a good idea to bring along some things that may make it easier for you to care for your pet. There are lots of products on the market to consider. Portable kennels can be useful for safely housing your pet. Maybe this is where you want them to sleep, or it can just be a safe place for them to relax and stay out of trouble.
There are also dog hydrating packs that can be useful when hiking. These allow you to strap a water pack to your pet and reduce the amount of gear you have to carry. Keep in mind you will typically still need a bowl of some sort for them to drink from. There are also dog backpacks that are similar to the hydration packs. Strap to the pup’s back allowing them to carry some of the hiking supplies.
With your safety and comfort considered, you are ready to go. Summertime camping is an American tradition, and we all know why. It can be so rewarding to unplug and retreat deep into the woods or to the lakeside and just be with nature for a few days. And why leave man’s best friend home alone during the adventure if you don’t have to? Plan ahead, get the appropriate training, pack the appropriate gear, and head out to your destination worry-free knowing you can handle anything nature decides to throw at you.