For those of you wanting to take your dog on a camping trip, there are some things you need to do to make this as fun and as safe as possible. Your dog will view the whole experience as one big adventure and it can give us, as campers, another means of security and a different way of bonding with your pet.
As we grow to enjoy the companionship of our dogs, they become like members of the family – going out on outings and walks, trips around town. Just about everywhere we go, our faithful friend likes to tag along with us.
Attitudes of camp owners
Because of some irresponsible dog owners, taking your dog to a campsite has become more difficult over recent years. A lot of dog owners failed to keep their dog on a lead or bothered to clean up after them. A lot of irresponsible pet owners don’t feel that the camp rules applied to them and their dog and because of that, we have all been made to suffer.
There are still a number of campgrounds that allow dogs but not as many as there were a few years ago so it’s important that you check ahead to make sure that the campground you’re going to permits them. If they’re allowed, find out if there are any restrictions as to where you can take them on the campsite. It’s also quite common for campgrounds to charge an additional fee per night for dogs.
If you’re taking your dog camping for the first time, you should break them in slowly.
They need to get used to all the open spaces and wonders of nature. Your dog will be excited at all the new odours and sights in this stress free environment and going on walks through the woods will help them gain muscle strength and fitness. If your dog is more used to walking along busy roads, try taking them to a nearby wood before you head off camping, so they can get used to the different environment.
Before you take your dog on a camping trip, make sure they’re up to date with their inoculations and, as they’re likely to encounter mosquitoes and other bugs, make sure they’ve had preventative flea treatment before you head off.
Take a copy of your dog’s veterinary records and try to find out the location of the nearest vet to where you’re heading and their contact details. Make sure your dog is wearing a name tag with your address and phone number on (mobile number is best so that you are easily contacted if your dog gets lost on a camping trip) – Better still, have them micro chipped and if your dog is on any prescription medication, make sure you take it with you.
Try to find a site which has some shade for the dog and make sure your dog is supervised closely around children, other visitors and other dogs.
It’s important that your dog is kept reasonably quiet. Frequent and continued barking disturbs both other campers and wildlife and gives dogs a bad reputation when it comes to camping. Let your dog get used to its surroundings and give him time to rest. Make sure you keep on top of picking up the dog’s mess and dispose of it in the designated bins which will be provided on the campground. If you’re camping off the beaten track, it’s still good practice to clean up your dog’s mess and dispose of it appropriately as soon as you can.
Keep a close watch on how weather conditions affect your dog, e.g. the heat, cold, rain and wind etc.
The pleasure you’ll get from taking your dog camping will be immeasurable and your dog will get just as much, and probably more, from the experience as you will.