It's time to hit the road for a camping getaway. But before you do, let’s make sure you and your four-legged camping buddy are equipped for your next outdoor adventure:
Don’t bring home any stowaways:Nature is chock-full of creepy crawlies that would like nothing more than hop on your dog and follow you home. Fleas and ticks hide amongst the grass and underbrush, sitting there waiting for an unsuspecting dog to stroll by. To a flea or tick, your dog is like a buffet on 4 legs – all you can eat! Applying a waterproof topical flea and tick treatment 48 hours before your trip can help make sure that your family doesn’t experience a flea and tick invasion after returning home.
- Tick Checks: Pull off any ticks that you can find. Tweezers and other tick removal tools are always good to pack away in your camping supplies.
Don’t let the dogs out: Make sure you have your dog leashed at all times (unless you find an off-leash park) so they aren’t off bothering the campground neighbors. Pack a stake with a 15-30’ rope tether that can keep them close at hand and out of trouble while still giving them plenty of room to stretch their legs. Be sure to check the rules and restrictions of the park or campground you are staying at to ensure you and your pets' safety.
Have an exit strategy: If one of the dogs should take ill or get injured, make sure you have a way to safely bring them to medical help. Always know where the nearest emergency veterinarian is located by you as you travel and camp.
Keep an eye out for others: Not every dog is as friendly or accepting as yours. Before you let your dog play with a strange dog, stay on guard and take notice of how they behave. Be especially careful when there is a size difference between dogs, as small dogs can be easily injured or worse. Likewise, don’t assume all small dogs are just waiting to be approached by a strange dog or person.
Dogs need R&R too: If the day is hot and humid, sit it out – not every day needs to be a walking/hiking kind of day for your dog. Hot, wet weather can precipitate heat stroke and is especially hard on short-nosed (or brachycephalic) dogs like bulldogs, Pekingese, and pugs.
- Like the scouts say, “Be prepared”: From medications, food, and bowls to even a preferred bed, bring along all your dog’s favorites and essentials. After sharing the same tent for a few nights, you may want to consider a separate ‘dogs only’ tent. No humans allowed. And don’t forget to pack a dog first-aid kit.
- Nature belongs in nature: Clean up after your dog (that means their poop), and don’t let them chew up too much wilderness. They may want to run after that squirrel and teach him who is boss, but make sure that the dogs don’t get up to too much mischief.
Camping is a fun way to spend a free weekend. Make sure to spend it the right way by following a few simple rules.