Now that the Summer weather is finally here we’re all itching to spend time outside. If you’re planning a camping trip with your family, you’ll want to bring Fido along as well. Before you hit the road, make sure you and your four-legged friend are prepared for the trip.
Start With The Basics
Be sure to check that the campground is pet-friendly. Some don’t allow them on certain trails or even on the grounds, so know the rules before you leave. If your dog likes to bark, it might be a good idea to leave them with a pet sitter. Your neighbors at the campsite will thank you, as it’s likely they prefer peace and quiet.
As much as we all love sharing the experience with our pets, we should think about how our pets will handle the trip. Is your dog able to hike into the campsite if need be? Will a new place be too stressful?
Talk to your veterinarian before the trip to make sure that your pet is healthy and up-to-date on all vaccinations including rabies, Lyme disease, and other tick-borne diseases. Check out this parasite prevalence map to see what parasites are most common where you will be camping. Mosquitoes carry heartworms and diseases like West Nile, so make sure your pet is updated on medication.
The Big Question…What Should I Pack?
Just like you would pack a bag for your children and yourself, you should put one together for your furry pal. Some items may seem obvious, but with the excitement and chaos of an upcoming trip, it can be easy to overlook items that are important for your trip.
Bring your dog’s regular food. Changing their diet on vacation may upset their stomach. Never leave the food out or unattended as it may attract some not-so-friendly wildlife. Your dog isn’t going to want to share their food with a 300-pound black bear. Water is a necessity. Keep plenty of water for your pet and don’t let them drink out of natural bodies of water; you don’t know what kind of bacteria or pollutants could be in there. Keep in mind; a panting dog can easily become dehydrated, so offer water frequently. Bringing a bed, treats, and an extra leash will make your pet feel right at home.
The U.S. Forest Service has compiled a great list of camping tips as well as a list of gear. It includes some of the following:
- Plastic bags to pick up after your dog
- ID, tags, and microchip information
- The phone number of the closest veterinarian
- Flat-bladed tweezers for tick removal
- A folding tool with needle-nose pliers, just in case your dog has a run-in with thorns or porcupine quills
- Hydrogen peroxide to remove skunk perfume. It’s also helpful if your dog eats something it shouldn’t have. A teaspoon or two will induce your dog to throw up immediately.
- A bandana for a makeshift muzzle
Camping with your pup is a great way to get away, relax, and snuggle up by the campfire. With the right preparation, you and your dog will have a blast!