Camping is the perfect activity to enjoy with your dog. Whether you are fishing, hiking or just hanging out roasting hot dogs on the campfire, your dog will not mind roughing it with you. But remember: If you do take your dog camping with you, it is your responsibility to keep them safe, healthy and happy.
Keep these important tips in mind before you go.
Never take a dog into the wilderness if it is not properly trained. Dogs who only listen to commands 75 percent of the time are not trained well enough for a camping expedition. Your dog should come when called 100 percent of the time. They should also know the leave-it and sit-stay commands, as well as how to walk alongside you without tugging on their leash. And if you are staying near any bodies of water, your dog should definitely know how to swim.
Not all pets who get lost in the great outdoors are as lucky as the fictional ones in the movie classic Homeward Bound. Having complete control of your pet will not only keep them safe, but you as well.
Conditioning and training are two different things. If you are planning any strenuous hikes or activities, make sure your dog is prepared. Many campers assume their dog can keep up with anything, due to their exponential energy at home, but this is not always the case.
Dogs need to build up the proper endurance and strength just like humans do. Take your dog on rocky nature paths in wooded areas near your home at least two months in advance of your trip to prepare them for the physical activity.
Before you go, take your dogs to your veterinarian and make sure they are up to date on all shots. While camping, regularly check your dog for fleas and ticks. If you spot a tick on your dog, put on rubber gloves and grasp the pest as close to the skin as possible. Gently pull straight back with steady, even pressure. Make sure none of the tick remains.
Along with fleas, ticks and wild animals, the weather is one of the main hazards to the well-being of your dog. Dogs may seem resilient, but if they are house pets they might need some help staying cool in the summer or warm in the winter while camping. Take blankets or cooling vests, depending on the season.
Purchase a Me and My Dog Adventure Medical Kit before you go. It holds a bevy of valuable information, so read everything before embarking on your camping expedition. Look over the instructions for treating injuries to you or your dog, understand which items in the kit treat which specific ailments, and learn about pet first-aid so you are prepared for any emergencies.
Take along an extra collar, harness and leash, and make sure your dog-identification tags are up to date. And do not forget the doggie *** bags.
Water and Food
Active dogs should drink around 20 ounces of water per every 10 pounds, so a 60-pound dog should have no less than 120 ounces of water packed for every day of the trip, plus a little extra to be on the safe side. Dogs should never drink out of standing bodies of water.
If your dog is going to be more active than usual, it will need more food than usual. Pack food in a dry, sealed container and keep it in the car at all times, protected from bears and other animals.
And finally: Do not forget the food and water bowls.