Camping With Dogs

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Camping season is well under way; people are heading out to campsites with dogs, kids and family in tow. In order to have a happy successful trip with your dog there are some precautionary measures to consider before you go.

Getting There:

Your dog may be fine when you travel around the city and your local area, but often times a camping trip involves driving longer distances. Be aware that your dog is not accustomed to this extended time in the car. Schedule potty and walk breaks, and remember to offer your dog water at regular intervals. Secure your dog in the car with a safety harness and include a favourite blanket, toy and/or bed from home.

Where are you going?

Check before you go. Not all campsites are dog-friendly and those that are may have specific restrictions such as 24hr on-leash requirements. Know the rules and be prepared to abide by them. Most campgrounds have rules regarding noise and if your dog is a barker you may want to find somewhere more suitable to take him.

Wild Animals:

Do some research specific to the geographical area that you are going. You may be in an area frequented by bears, cougars, coyotes or other wild animals. Don’t let this frighten you off, but take the necessary precautions indicated:

Bears – Invest in a bear bell for your dog (most bears are not predators unless startled and or when they are with their cubs and perceive a threat). Take bear spray and a bear banger (a mini pen size device that sets off a large bang to scare a bear back into the woods). Be cautious and alert when walking, keep your dog on leash.

Cougars – The best protection against a cougar attack is to avoid heavily wooded areas, keep your dog close by, and educate yourself on what to do if you encounter a cougar (be ‘large’, be aggressive, make noise, don’t run away).

Coyotes – Usually seeking food, coyotes are seldom aggressive. Keep your dog on leash and carry bear spray as a deterrent.

Eagles – Eagles have been known to swoop down and pick up small dogs. It is very important to keep your small dog on a short leash and be aware of your surroundings.

Other Hazards:

If you are camping in a forested area there are other hazards to be aware of such as:

Insect bites – Buy a non-toxic repellent that is safe for dogs, and also burn citronella candles to keep bugs at bay. Check your dog daily for ticks and other possible insect bites.

Water – Even if your dog is a swimmer, you are in unfamiliar territory and water can be a grave danger. Fast flowing creeks, and rivers or strong ocean currents can carry your dog to danger in a moment. Consider a life jacket for your dog and be aware of the area before you let him off leash.

Campfires – Curious dogs may get to close to the fire, or tread on hot rocks unknowingly. Keep dogs away from campfires and when checking your pet for bites also make it a habit to check their paws for burns or cuts.

Getting Lost – Your dog is in unfamiliar territory and if startled or spooked may run off. Ensure that your dog is always wearing current tags and make arrangements in advance to have someone checking that phone number. If someone has found your dog and is phoning your home, it’s of no use if you are away at the campsite. Consider purchasing a capsule that affixes to your dog’s collar that you can put current immediate contact info in, i.e. campsite location, cell phone number or other contact info.

General Supplies:

Prepare a packing list for your dog so that no essential items are left behind.

Food – bring your dog’s usual food, and remember to bring dishes.

Water – while water may be available at the campsite, it may contain toxins or unfamiliar chemicals. Consider taking tap water or bottled water from home.

Treats – a special treat or chewy bone may help to keep your dog occupied while you sit around the campfire at night.

Bed/Kennel – bring something familiar from home, either a bed or your dog’s kennel if that is what he is used to sleeping in.

Gear – prepare for bad weather, heavy rain etc, bring a rain jacket if that is what your dog is used to.

Shade – ensure that your dog has a shady area to keep cool in. Bring a collapsible umbrella if you aren’t sure of the conditions in the area.

Toys – you may not be able to adhere to a regular walk/exercise routine so be sure to bring a ball and or toy to keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated.

Medical Info – in case of emergency be sure to have your vet’s contact info with you.

For more info on traveling with dogs visit us online at

write by Cosima

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