Taking your favorite friend camping can be one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities to experience if a person is well equipped and ready. Dogs love to go on a trip with their human companions, and are usually the first one to jump in the car. Making the trip a pleasant one for both you and your pooch is just a matter of planning ahead for the adventure.
First off is getting your dog used to other dogs and people. You never know who you are going to come across while camping or hiking and it is best to have a calm animal at your side. There are many classes available at local pet stores or community colleges for those wanting to socialize their dogs and teach them basic commands.
Planning on where you will take your trip is another must, as some parks and camping facilities will not allow dogs. Finding a dog-friendly camp ground or hiking trail is relatively easy as there are many websites with this information available. Ensure that your dogs vaccinations are up to date as most facilities that allow dogs will want to see their rabies vaccination tags. It is also a good idea to have your dog protected against fleas and ticks. Ticks can be especially prolific during the summer months and one short outing could find your dog with dozens of ticks in their coat. Ticks can transmit diseases and in some cases can even cause death.
Teaching your dog to help carry camping supplies, such as their own food and water can help to cut down on weight in a backpack. For large dogs helping to carry supplies is not usually a problem and there are even special packs available for this purpose. Having water available for your dog is a must, since natural springs or pools may contain bacteria or parasites that can make both you and your dog sick. If your dog is a lover of the water, be sure to rinse them off when they come out of the water. It may even be worth it to have a water safety device for your dog as not all dogs like the water, but may end up in it regardless.
If you are planning to camp or hike during the colder winter months your canine companion may require a coat of some sort. Dogs do have fur coats, but some are far denser than others, and smaller dogs tend to be more susceptible to the cold than larger breeds. Keeping your dog warm and dry is key to keeping them healthy and happy. It is also good to keep in mind where your pet will sleep. Does your dog like to snuggle at night? If so, is your sleeping bag big enough for the two of you? A medium or larger size dog may require its own sleeping pad or blanket.
Finally, one of the most important things to remember is waste disposal. As with human waste, dog waste must be buried and kept away from water sources, trails, and camp sites by at least 200 feet.
Plan accordingly and both you and your pet will find your outdoor adventure to be one you want to experience time and again.