Camping With Man’s Best Friend

Today’s guest post is written by Calin Hess.  Calin gives us some useful tips for camping with dogs.

Camping With Man’s Best Friend

Camping is a great activity for families; and if your family is anything like mine, then the dog is coming along for the trip. I grew up in a house full of animals and naturally the dogs always came camping with us. Now having a family, and a pooch, of my own I’ve come to understand that bringing your dog along can be both rewarding and challenging. So here are a few tips to make sure that you have a great experience when you bring man’s best friend camping with you.

1. Be Prepared

Oh the old Scout motto, it certainly comes into play anytime you decide to go camping, but even more so when you know you’re going to be bringing your faithful companion along with you. Our first time taking our little Beagle mix, Bruce, out camping with us we weren’t quite sure what we had coming. We didn’t know how he would react to all the new sights, smells and sounds. So we made a safe bet and brought all sorts of things for him. We took his bowls, a good amount of food and portable water, his bed and blanket, a number of leashes, a long chain and his kennel. Having the right gear for him will ease your mind and make the experience less stressful.

We will usually always bring along a little extra food than what we would normally measure out to feed him, that way in case we decide to stay a little longer we don’t have any pet related reasons to head home. We’ve also found that bringing something familiar, such as a bed or blanket, will help your dog adjust quicker to being some place new. Our little guy has some separation anxiety and this has really helped him.

Camping with Dogs

2. Be Cautious

I would bet that when you first brought your pup home you didn’t let her wander around the house unsupervised. This is a new environment for them and its best if they can slowly adapt to their new surroundings. The first time we camped with our little guy we left him in the car while we set up the tent. This gave us time to take care of our need for shelter without having to keep an eye on him. Once we had the tent set up we sat with him in it for a few minutes so he could make the association that this was “home.”

Once we had him calmed down a bit we went out and explored the area with him. It’s important to remember that the outdoors is home to a variety of other critters.  If your dog sees any of these new animals he’s sure to be interested. Be mindful that you are in their territory. It’s also wise to keep in mind that the woods are full of squirrels and dogs love to chase squirrels.

Dog Sees Squirrel

Another thing to watch out for is other campers in the area who may also have their dogs with them. If you let your dog roam on her own they may catch a scent and want to go meet some new friends. On more than one occasion another camper’s dogs have bolted out of the woods to come and greet us, followed quickly by their flustered owners. If your dog has the propensity to bolt or chase after something it’s a good idea to have them on a leash or chain. While out for a walk or hike it’s a good idea to be close to your dog, this will allow you to have more control in case a situation arises.

Be sure that you check your buddy over for ticks or other insects after they’ve been out romping around. Ticks love to hide on dogs and they can carry some nasty diseases. If you see a tick on your dog be sure to remove it properly by using tweezers to pull it straight out and kill it by placing it in rubbing alcohol. It’s also a good idea to have someone help you keep your dog still while you are taking care of the tick.

3. Be Engaged

Camping is about enjoying the outdoors and having fun. If you’ve chosen to bring your faithful pooch along be sure to give them some love and attention by going on walks and playing with them. It will get you active and allow them to stretch their legs a bit. A tuckered out pup is less likely to cause you problems than one that is full of energy. It’s also a good idea to clean up after your dog, be respectful and keep other campers from having the misfortune of stepping in something left by your pup.

Camping with Pets

So go out and have fun with your tail-wagger, but be sure to be prepared, be cautious and be engaged. Being a responsible pet owner isn’t always the easiest thing, but it is very rewarding. Just remember that when it comes to camping with your dog it takes a little bit of extra work to make sure that everything goes smoothly but if you put in a little extra time and effort you will be able to have nice low-stress experience while enjoying the outdoors with man’s best friend.

Camping with My Dog BruceCalin Hess, a native Idahoan and transplanted Utahan, loves to go camping, fishing and hiking with his family. He and his wife Meghan are proud parents and loving owners of their dog, Bruce. Calin currently works at the corporate offices of Sportsman’s Warehouse where he is a part of the ecommerce team.

Do you camp with your dogs or other pets?  What tips would you add?

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Tiffany loves tent camping and knows how to bait a hook.

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  1. We Love camping & canoeing with our dogs & like you we really prepare when we are taking them with us. We have a group we camp with(they love our Scotties) and occasionally another couple brings their dog(an uncouth sheltie) which would be fine if they did the same level of preparation that they did for camping & canoeing but apparently to them it is fine if the dog just runs around willy nilly, getting into peoples stuff, chasing critters, barking, getting our dogs all irritated, this is very stressful for everybody, including the dogs. We hate seeing them pull in(and we are dog people) Don’t be the People that others say OMG here they come & they Brought the Dog!

  2. Well you know we love to go camping with the Disapproving Beagle. I would add as part of the “being aware” part that you need to pay attention where dogs are allowed and where they’re not, particularly in National Parks. Calin is on the money with it being a little more work but it can be lots of fun too. Thanks for the post!

  3. These tips were helpful! We have only taken our dog camping once, and one thing I learned was that we need to be careful about choosing our site– you can minimize distractions (and disruptive behavior) by camping farther away from a large party, another group with dogs, or even away from high-traffic areas near the restrooms. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I have camped with my dogs for years. In fact I don’t think I have ever camped without my dogs. So a few of my tips are… If you are camping where there are bears keep your dog’s close at night. Our dogs sleep in our tent and my female always alerts us with a low growl when a bear has entered camp(I think she she would even challenge the bear to protect us and that would not end well) but our male always shakes with fear and needs the security of having us close. We do a lot of hiking on our trips so I always pack an extra water bottle and a collapsible water dish for the pooches. I also pack a doggy first aid kit. This includes tweezers (for ticks), painkillers (my dogs are 12 & 14 so they get very sore fast) my vet recommended baby aspirin, my dogs suffer from diarrhea when away from home so I pack some minute rice (I know grains aren’t great for dogs but it really does help) and prepare it with beef broth. I also pack needle nose pliers. I once had to remove a fish hook from a friend’s dogs face so I always pack them just in case. Lastly, I pack a sweater for my short haired female. Where we camp is hot during the day but can drop into the 50s at night.

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