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1 July 2016
With the summer season comes camping season. Long weekends are an especially popular time to head into the woods, and as much as you enjoy spending some time with nature, it can be difficult to spend a lot of time camping when you’re a pet owner. Some dogs adapt better to camping than others. If you think your pup would have a hard time with things like wildlife, staying on site, being confined to a leash, or not being very vocal, it may be tricky to camp together. The outdoors can be very stimulating for a dog that isn’t used to it, and this can be frightening for them.
So what should you do? Get prepared! You can effectively prepare a dog for a camping trip using some tips provided below. We’ve also included some things to avoid in order to ensure that you and your pet enjoy your camping trip to the fullest.
What you should do
Pre-camping trip to the vet: Have your vet evaluate your pet’s physical and behavioural condition prior to your trip. Several factors will influence the success of your camping trip with your pet, including medications, age, existing conditions, and general health. Be sure to get all of this information organized beforehand to ensure that your pet is comfortable and healthy while away.
Get in shape: Get your dog used to being outdoors by going on hikes together. This will help your dog get used to seeing wildlife and will also help your pup be physically active. This process should be gradual, beginning with walks around your neighbourhood, followed by short hikes, then progressively making the hikes longer over time.
Get used to being on a leash: If your pup is not used to being confined to a leash, it’s important to get him used to it before your trip. Some campgrounds require dogs to be leashed at all times. Even if you’re somewhere that does not require this, it’s a good idea to make sure that if you do need to leash your dog for the majority of the trip (perhaps the other people or wildlife are distracting them and they keep leaving the camp site to explore) they will be okay with it. Like hiking, this process should be progressive.
What you should not do
Don’t let your dog bark incessantly. Pack treats for your trip and if something triggers your dog, distract them with a treat. You can also try blocking their view of whatever it is that’s making them bark. Of course your dog will bark some of the time, but incessant barking will garner complaints from neighbouring campers, which could get you kicked out of the park.
Don’t leave your dog unattended. Your pet should always be supervised, especially if they have a tendency to chase things. Be sure to use a harness rather than a collar when leashing your pup on site to avoid injury should your pet go running after something in the woods. You also want to protect your pet from potentially harmful wildlife such as snakes. Supervising your pup will help with this.
Don’t neglect your pet’s hydration. Being outside constantly, especially if it’s very hot, means that your pup will require more water than usual and plenty of shade. Watch out for signs that your pet is dehydrated, such as panting.
Don’t assume your pet’s fur keeps him warm. Temperatures can drop dramatically at night, and your pup will feel this chill the same way you do. Always ensure that your pups bed is on top of a tarp to keep it dry, and sleep with your dog inside of your tent. This will ensure that your pup is protected from nocturnal wildlife. If your pet needs to sleep outside of the tent, a barrier should be installed around your pup to ensure protection from other animals.
We hope that the information above helps you and your pet enjoy a safe and successful camping trip! Have you camped with your dog before? What are some of the things you do to prepare your pup for the trip? Tell us below!