Camping with Dogs

Taking your dog camping can be a great experience for both of you. Your dog will be fascinated with all the new sights, sounds and smells. And you'll love knowing that your best friend is sharing your love of the great outdoors. If you are thinking of bringing your dog along with you on your next camping trip, there are a few things you need to consider.

Related topics: Bear Safety | Camping Safety | Campfires | Flooding | Parking Smart | Treating Drinking Water


Is your dog up to it physically?

In an outdoor environment, your dog will most likely experience an increase in his physical activity. What's more, the terrain may be dramatically different from what he's used to (steep hills, rocky paths, etc.) That's not to say that your dog has to be in star-athlete condition. Just be sure that it's not going to be too taxing for him. The best thing to do is take your dog to the vet for a check-up to ensure that he's up to it physically.

You should also take your dog's personality into consideration. While you might not be bothered by your dog's early morning barking, your fellow campers might be.

Make sure vaccinations are up to date

It's very important that all of your dog's vaccinations are up to date especially if your dog is going to be in contact with other pets. You might also want to talk to your vet about giving your dog a lyme vaccination in case he comes in contact with ticks.

Bring the leash

Even though you're far away from sidewalks and city streets, there will still be times when you need to keep your dog on a leash. This is especially important when you're close to other campers who may not be dog lovers like yourself, or in an area where your dog could wander off a path and encounter less than friendly wildlife. Also, make sure your dog has his identification tags in case he gets lost. You should also bring along a recent photo should you need to show other campers or a ranger in the event your dog goes missing.

Snake Bites

If your dog is bitten by a snake, immobilize the body part that has been bitten. Keep it at or below the level of the heart. Keep the pet calm and still. Carry the pet if possible. Get to a vet as soon as possible, and try to identify the type of snake. Do not manipulate the bitten area any more than necessary. Do not cut over the fang marks. Do not ice pack or tourniquet the area.

Other helpful tips

• Make sure you pack plenty of water.

• You may be on vacation, but don't take a break from grooming your dog.

• Bring along your dog's brush or comb.

• Bring a first aid kit for your dog, along with the number of a vet that's closest to your camping area.

• Pack plenty of plastic bags so you can clean up after your dog.

• Never leave your dog outside alone.

• Don't leave your dog's food out in the open when he's not eating it. It could attract unwanted insects or wildlife.

• Keep your dog quiet. Frequent and continued barking disturbs the wildlife and other campers.

• Try to get a site with some shade for your dog.

Pet First Aid Kit

Here are a few items you will find useful for treating pet emergencies in the field.

1. A clean tube sock for wrapping around the head to secure a lacerated ear.

2. A bandana for a makeshift muzzle.

3. Flat-bladed tweezers and a small container of mineral oil for tick removal.

4. An emergency fold-up blanket (space blanket) for treating shock, cold or, for smaller dogs, even carriage.

5.A folding tool that has needle-nosed pliers for extracting a large thorn or a porcupine quill or two.

6. A small container of hydrogen peroxide, which, mixed with baking soda, water and liquid soap, will cut the aroma of skunk perfume. Keep the mix away from the dog’s eyes.

7. Booties for protecting injured paws. They can also be used to help to prevent ice and snow build up between the toes.

8. Vaccination and rabies certification. This may keep your dog out of the pound should he happen to bite someone.

9. A small first aid book with instructions for treating pets.