Camping with dogs is a great way to relax with your pets, but without adequate preparation, you can end up with sore paws, ticks, or worse.
This short planning guide provides the tools you need to have fun in the great outdoors with your canine friends.
Find Out if Your Destination is Dog-Friendly
If you’re going camping with dogs, make sure your destination is dog-friendly and set aside of time to research your travel options.
Will you be camping at a state park? Make things easy with GoPetFriendly‘s ultimate guide. It lists pet policies from state parks all over the country, including pricing information.
Camping with dogs at a national park requires forethought. There are pet policies to abide by.
For example, taking your dog to Yellowstone National Park is possible, but not recommended. Yellowstone’s website explicitly states, “Pets are not allowed on boardwalks, trails, or in the backcountry. This can severely limit your experience in the park.”
That’s not the case at every national park. Devil’s Post Pile National Monument in California allows dogs in all campsites and on hiking trails as long as they are leashed.
Need additional dog-friendly travel suggestions? Websites like BringFido and PetFriendlyTravel allow you to search hundreds of dog-friendly locations around the country, including restaurants, hotels, and pet hospitals – a feature that can come in handy in case of an emergency.
Schedule an Appointment With Your Veterinarian
About a week prior to your camping trip, schedule an appointment for your pups to get up-to-date on all of their shots and vaccinations.
While you’re there, stock up on flea and tick prevention, as well as heartworm medicine. Heartworms were once only a problem in the southern U.S., but in recent years, the parasites have been reported in all 50 states. Don’t let your best friend be one of the one million dogs that are infected with heartworms each year1.
To get the best results out of your flea and tick prevention, apply the solution at least two hours before leaving for your campsite. This gives the pesticide time to dry and less opportunity for your dog to rub it off before taking effect.
Pack Appropriately when Camping with Dogs
Don’t leave home without a bag of essentials. All canine camping setups should include the following items:
– Leash and harness
– Collar with identification
– Poop bags
– Dog treats
– Bed or blanket
– High visibility LED light
– Tick inspection comb
– First Aid Kit
– Dog wipes
– Rain jackets or booties
– Dog towel
– Seasonally appropriate clothing
– Documentation (ie: registration, records, pet insurance information)
– Car seat covers
Make the Drive Easier
How well does your dog travel?
Even if your canine companion loves car rides, a comfortable, relaxing environment makes transport easier.
Put your dog’s favorite bed or blanket in the back of the car. Include a toy or bone to keep them busy.
Do you have an anxious dog that gets car sick? Talk to your veterinarian about over-the-counter medicine like Benadryl. There are also all-natural options like NaturVet Quiet Moments Dog Chews and Vet’s Best Calm Dog Supplement.
Another solution for anxiety is a ThunderShirt. It costs around $40, but in my experience is worth it. Our dogs, Thoreau and Diane, have benefited. They go from shivering at every thunderclap to snoozing comfortably in a matter of minutes.
Plan ahead for pit stops Having access to a dog supply bag that includes food, water, and plenty of poop bags will make your stops convenient and quick.
Did we leave anything out? Tell me what items you take when camping with your dogs in the comments below?