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For many folks – myself included – spending time with your dog is preferable to spending time with most humans. This includes on camping trips where you want to get away from it all (and everyone). But camping with your dog presents some unique challenges depending on the length of the trip, the time of year, and where you plan on camping. In this guide, learn a few simple tips that will make all the difference when camping with your dog.
Prepare Ahead of Time
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The first thing you should do is take your dog to the vet and have them do a check-up. You want to ensure that your dog is healthy and good to go with vaccinations. If your dog isn’t already microchipped, you should consider that as well. Sometimes, even the best-behaved doggos can get away, and if they do, a microchip can help whoever finds your dog find you. If your dog is on medication, make sure you have plenty to get you through the trip. Pick up a flea and tick collar, too. I always investigate where the nearest animal hospital is as well. In case of emergency, I want to know who to call and where to go beforehand, that way in the heat of the moment I’m not panicking to get my beloved dog to the doctor.
Camping With Your Dog: Can You Even Bring It?
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Another part of planning ahead is ensuring that you can even have your dog where you intend to camp. My favorite place to camp is on forest service land, and dogs are allowed as long as they are leashed. I also like to camp in national parks, and while dogs are allowed in some national parks, there are many others that prohibit them. In the parks that do allow dogs, there are often many restrictions that limit where they can go. For example, you might find that dogs aren’t allowed on particular trails, in which case you’ll need to plan an alternate hike so your pooch can tag along. The point is that you shouldn’t just pack up and go and think that you can deal with dog restrictions once you get there. The last thing you want is to plan on camping with your dog only to find out that you can’t leave the campground with him!
Find Some Dog-Friendly Activities
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When camping with your dog, it’s important to plan some dog-friendly activities so Fido can be with you as much as possible. My dog, for example, loves hiking, so we go for a hike each day of our camping trips so he can check out our surroundings and sniff things to his heart’s content. Maybe your dog loves the beach or going to the dog park or riding along in the canoe or on the kayak with you. Perhaps he’s perfectly happy taking a nap in the sun or playing fetch at the campground. Whatever you do, give your dog many opportunities to do different things and burn off some of the pent-up energy from riding in the car and hanging out in the tent or the camper all night. He’ll thank you for it!
Camping With Your Dog: Do a Practice Run
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If you’ve never camped with your dog, don’t make the first trip one that involves a 1,000-mile drive and spending three weeks in the wilderness. Instead, take a trial run for the weekend close to home. See how your dog does in the great outdoors, how he interacts with strangers, and if you can both be comfortable in your tent or camper. Heck, set up your tent in your backyard and do your practice run there! It’ll be easy, quick, and get your dog used to camping. It’s better to find out that your dog hates the outdoors now than later!