Dogs can make excellent companions on camping trips. Just as you and your family follow various rules of etiquette while camping, the same rules apply when you bring along your furry friend, plus a few additional ones. You will need a little extra planning and supplies if you want to bring along your dog.
Double-check the camp rules
The first thing you should do is always double-check the rules of the park or campground you plan to visit. Some parks allow dogs on trails and at campsites while others do not. Also, be aware of any additional rules applying to bring your dogs, such as leashes on trails and tethering. Most national parks allow dogs in campgrounds but require leashes. It all depends on the location.
Vaccination papers on hand
The next thing you should do is a quick trip to the vet. Before taking your dog anywhere, you should make sure he or she is properly vaccinated. Also, make sure to have proof of their rabies vaccination in particular. A check-up and a health certificate from your vet are also not a bad idea. Keep all of this documentation with you. If you are doing and hiking or rigorous activity, you need to ensure that your dog is healthy enough to handle it. Dogs need to be conditioned for a lengthy hike, just like people do.
You shouldn’t forget that other people may be camping or hiking in the area and may have been seeking a quiet retreat. If your dog is an excessive barker, you may want to reconsider bringing them along because they may cause a disturbance. Your dog should also know basic obedience and understand verbal commands – this will ensure the trip is pleasant for you as well as for other campers. An unruly dog running into other campsites and not coming back when called would be quite a nuisance.
If you’ll be doing any hiking or walking on trails, keep your dog on the trail and always clean up after your pet if they happen to eliminate on or near the trail. You should also be sure to clean up after your dog at and around your campsite just as you would pick up your own belongings and refuse. It is not the responsibility of the next campers to take care of what your dog has left behind.
Bring toys for your dog like their favorite ball, frisbee, or soft toy to keep them entertained as well as their bed or a foam pad so they can settle down comfortably at the end of the day. There are also camping crates made specifically for dogs on outdoor adventures. Taking your dog camping with you is all about preparation, planning, and consideration. It can be a great experience for you and your dog and not a nuisance to other campers if you are prepared.