Camping With Your Dog Tips: Make Your Dog a Welcomed Campground Guest and Keep Him Safe
Camping with your dog takes some planning. To make the trip enjoyable for your pooch and you, you need to bring the right dog camping gear and understand the rules for campsites with dogs. You also need to consider your close neighbors who may not appreciate meeting your dog as he romps through their campsite of his own free will.
What to Bring When Camping With Your Dog
If you are not extreme camping in the backwoods, then you won’t need much camping gear for your dog. The most important items will be a dog tie out, food and water bowls, and a couple of toys from home. A stake tie out will let you set your dog up in most any location, but he may get tangled if he’s not use to being tied up. A trolley tie out lets you give your dog a bit more freedom and prevents tangling, but you will need two sturdy trees in your campground to set it up. For the camping dog food bowls, collapsible dog food bowls are easy to pack away. However, the more rigid non-spill bowls are more difficult for your dog to spill his food and water into the dirt. Other than a leash and food bowls, consider where your dog will sleep to keep him comfortable. If you are going on long hikes, then he can bring his own supplies in a dog backpack and a GPS collar in case he gets separated from you.
Camping will expose your dog to ticks, fleas, and in some cases venomous snakes and parasitic infections, such as leptospirosis. But these are not a serious health risk if you make a trip to your veterinarian prior to your camping trip. Treat your dog with a flea and tick growth inhibitor, such as Frontline Plus. To protect against leptospirosis ask your vet about vaccination and don’t let your dog drink from standing water. If rattlesnakes are a concern where you will be camping and hiking, ask your vet about the rattlesnake vaccine.
Check the Campground Pet Rules
The campground may advertise itself as pet friendly, but there are often still restrictions placed on pets and campsites with dogs. These will certainly include being on leash at all times and what trails dogs can or cannot go on, and other areas off limit to dogs. Most parks do not allow you to leave your dog alone. When camping with a dog, the off limit areas become off limits to you unless you have someone in your group willing to wait with your dog at the campsite while you explore. Look up the pet or dog rules for the campground you plan to visit before leaving. You will need to take the rules into consideration when planning your daily activities.
In general, National Forest campgrounds allowed leashed dogs in the campsites, on most trails, and other areas. State and privately run campgrounds will have different rules. For example, in California state parks, dogs are usually only allowed in the campsite, but not on trails or beaches. However, individual campgrounds may have exceptions or additional rules. Exceptions are always made for guide dogs.
Practice Good Dog Etiquette When Camping With Dogs
Since the owner has control over the dog, really this is about good dog owner etiquette. When camping, your dog does need to be on his best behavior. Excessive barking and off leash roaming are not generally tolerated. Off leash dogs are a nuisance to wildlife, other campers, and other dogs. You may think your dog is friendly to humans, wildlife, and other dogs, but you cannot assume other humans, wildlife, and dogs will be friendly towards your dog. You not only risk getting a citation from park rangers by allowing you’re dog free roam, you are risking your dog’s life. Your neighboring campers, park rangers, snakes, bears, pumas, and squirrels will appreciate your dog being tethered. Also, bring the pooper-scooper. You will be expected to clean up after your canine wherever he goes.
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