Original Article by Mark Asher for PetsBest
As the weather gets warmer, outdoor activities, like camping and hiking, beckon. Your dog, of course, is the perfect companion to explore new spots and enjoy new adventures with. Although the great wide open is a dog’s natural environment, there are a number of best practices you should follow when being in the wilderness with your pup. In this article, we’ll go over health and safety tips for camping with our four-legged friends.
1. Protect pet health by talking to your vet about flea and tick prevention
Before taking a camping trip with your pet, consider your dog's flea and tick regime. Fleas and ticks exist in our backyards, but they are far more pervasive in open spaces. Talk to your veterinarian about where you’ll be camping, the conditions in the region, and the overall health of your dog. If you have a pet insurance, a portion of your flea and tick treatment may be eligible for reimbursement.
2. Take a doggie camping bag and keep a checklist inside
Designate a sturdy canvas bag as your doggie camping bag and keep a checklist inside it year-round so you won’t forget any important camping items. Your camping list should include:
- Plenty of food and water
- Food and water bowls
- Pet medications
- A variety of collars and leashes
- Dog bedding and blankets
- Pet first aid kit
- Pet insect repellent
- Warm dog clothing and booties
- A tie-out stake
3. Pack extra dog food
Camping activities can burn extra calories. If your dog has had an especially active day, give him a generous amount of food. It never hurts to bring two containers of food with you in case one becomes wet or is gobbled up by a woodland creature. Don’t be alarmed if your dog skips meals. For some animals, the stress of travel can suppress their appetite. However, if your pet’s appetite isn’t back to normal after the trip is over, take your dog to your veterinarian to make sure there isn’t an underlying pet health issue.
4. Invest in a good tie-out stake
Set up a metal corkscrew tie-out stake at your campground and attach a 20-foot lead to it. This will enable your dog to safely enjoy the campsite while staying within your sight. Be sure to check the stake often as tugging and wet conditions can loosen it — especially if it’s in sandy ground— and allow your dog to wander off.
5. Take a variety of collars and leashes with you
Camping offers many new places to work with your dog and partake in activities that are stimulating and fun. If you’re still training your pet, bring a variety of leashes. A 15-foot lead and prong collar are good for training sessions, and a regular collar can be used when your dog is on a short leash or tie-out. For swimming and hiking, a harness can help control his movements as well as ensure his safety.
6. Keep your dog warm at night
Dogs lose heat from their noses. In order to trap heat against their bodies, they sometimes sleep in a nose-to-tail position. In addition to a favorite bed or sleeping bag, supply your dog with blankets to burrow under. Smaller dogs or dogs with short coats may even need an extra layer like a doggie sweater.