Experiencing the great outdoors with your pup is always a good idea. I have so many good memories of so much time as a little kid spent out on the grass with my puppy. Going camping with your dog can be an awesome experience as well. Here are some tips to make it an even more awesome experience!
1. Research the campground and hikes you plan to go on beforehand.
Nothing is worse than making a bunch of plans only to get stiff-armed by the rules. Make sure you research what the rules pertaining to your dog are before you go. Some campgrounds are only open to leashed dogs or are only open to dogs during certain times of the year. Also check the hikes that you plan to go on, as different hikes will often have different rules for your canine friend. Thoroughly researching the rules will make your trip much smoother. Here is a link to help you discover good campsites for your pup: Bring Fido Campgrounds
2. Understand your dog’s social skills
Is your dog good with other people and animals? If so, your dog will most likely be perfectly at ease in more crowded campsites and hiking paths. Unfortunately, not everyone will love your dog’s excited greetings. Make sure to keep them from scaring other pets and people with their happiness. If your friend is not as good with others, you can instead take your pup to a secluded campground or backpacking through the wilderness. Both make great alternatives for more anxious or aggressive dogs. When your camping trip is far off in the future, you can also acclimate your dog to being around others by taking them to meet new people and animals regularly beforehand. Understanding your dog’s social skills is crucial to having an enjoyable camping trip.
3. Have realistic expectations of what your dog can handle
Some dogs can hike for hours across rough terrain and be perfectly fine and happy. Others will be able to handle only short nature hikes and will prefer hanging out at the campground. It may not be the best idea to bring a dog with a sedentary lifestyle on a rigorous hike or backpacking trip without working up to it first. Bigger and younger dogs do the best with rigorous exercise, whereas older or smaller dogs might have a more difficult time. A good way to gauge what your dog can handle is to take them on smaller local hikes or on long walks to see how they fare. If you know your dog’s energy levels and strength, you and your pup will have a much better experience.
4. Know what gear to bring
Knowing what gear will be best for you, your dog, and your camping trip can be overwhelming. A good tip to help you get started is when you’re packing for yourself look for a doggy version for each of the things you pack. The essentials are luckily pretty simple. Make sure you bring plenty for them to eat and drink, especially because they will likely be exercising more than normal. And don’t forget the dog bowls, so they can easily eat and drink. Bring a durable leash so you can always keep track of your dog and poop bags for when nature calls. For your dog’s sleeping arrangements, there are several options: They can sleep in the sleeping bag with you, you can get a doggy sleeping bag, or you can bring a dog bed and plenty of blankets. The biggest problem when it comes to sleeping outside is warmth. Often when camping it is too cold to be sleeping without a bag, and that goes for your dog too.
Have you ever wanted to go camping with your dog? Have you been yet? What has been your experience? Let us know in the comments below!