Safety Considerations for Camping
Taking your dog out in the great outdoors for a camping trip is a great experience for you both to enjoy. However, there can also be some challenges, particularly if this is the first camping trip of the year of the first time you have had your dog out for more than a routine walk or a romp at the dog park.
To help make the trip fun for you both, here are the most important pre-trip preparation tips to consider.
Double Check the Policy
If you are camping in a state or national park, be sure to check the latest information on the website about dog-friendly campgrounds and areas. There may also be regulations on which lakes and beaches welcome dogs. It is also common for the websites to provide details on if the dogs can be off-leash or if they have to be leashed while in specific areas. Don’t assume these policies haven’t changed since the last time you visited and check the most current information.
There may also be locations in state and national parks where dogs are prohibited. This is often seasonal based on wildlife management practices or to protect species of birds which may be nesting or hatching.
Building Up to Exercise
Dogs, just like people, need to get back into shape. If the camping trip is going to include hiking and walking, start your dog on an increasing duration and intensity training routine at least a few weeks before you plan to leave.
This allows your dog, particularly an adult or senior dog, to work out stiff muscles and to build up stamina for longer and more demanding treks. Remember, if you are working out to get ready for the trip, your dog will need to as well.
Vaccinations up to Date
Make sure your dog is fully up to date on all vaccinations. You can also talk to your vet about the area where you are camping and consider additional vaccinations or topical treatments to prevent potential issues with parasites, ticks, fleas, and insects.
Get Used to Sleeping Together
Camping in a campground or a more secluded area means keeping your dog close by at all times. Taking your pet inside your tent or camper at night will stop nuisance barking and also prevent your dog from potentially having issues with skunks, raccoons or larger wildlife such as coyotes, bears or other types of predators.
Fresh Obedience Work
If you are going to allow your dog off-leash, work for a few weeks on recall off-leash. This is a great refresher course for your dog and can prevent the stress and anxiety if the dog bolts while out hiking on the trail.
Dogs that do not come back 100% of the time on recall should always be kept on the leash. If you have any concerns, perhaps consider boarding the dog and working on obedience to better prepare you both for a more positive outing the next time you go camping.