7 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe When Camping
Many modern campsites accept dogs, so there’s never been a better time to take your pup on an outdoor adventure.
However, it’s important to remember that the outdoors can be a dangerous place for your dog. If you would like to relax by the campfire with your pooch, you’ll need to be well-prepared to make sure your pup stays safe and comfortable throughout.
So, to help you and your four-legged friend make the most of your trip, I’ve put together my top seven tips for keeping your dog safe while camping.
- Plan Your Trip Ahead
Before taking your dog camping, it’s important to plan your trip in advance.
If you’re staying at a campsite, do your research to make sure they’re dog friendly and have all the facilities you and your pup will need. Is the location safe and located away from busy roads? Will there be any farmland or cattle nearby that may be irresistible, but dangerous to your dog?
Also, check the weather again a couple of days before you leave. Most people go camping in the summer, but if the temperature is forecast to be particularly hot, your dog will be more at risk of heatstroke and dehydration.
You should also research and write down the contact details of the nearest veterinary clinics. Hopefully, you won’t need them, but if something goes wrong, having the details in advance will save you a lot of time and stress if your pup gets sick or injured.
- Bring A Suitable Dog Bed
Make sure you pack a suitable bed for your pooch to use during your camping trip. They’ll be much more comfortable if they have their own cozy bed to snuggle up in like they do at home.
I recommend choosing a bed that is well-padded, insulated and waterproof so that it’ll be easier to clean when you get home. Some special camping beds for dogs can even be zipped up around your pup like a sleeping bag, so you can both enjoy a toasty warm night under the stars (make sure your pet doesn’t feel restricted though!)
- Be Wary of Local Wildlife
One of the biggest risks to your dog when camping is dangerous wildlife. Never allow your dog to chase wildlife, and be sure to keep them on a strong leash and high-quality harness if there are deer or other cattle nearby.
Creatures like porcupines and skunks may injure your dog if they are pursued, while speedy animals such as squirrels and rabbits may lead your dog far away from you so they get lost.
For these reasons, I recommend keeping your dog leashed at all times, particularly in unfamiliar areas.
- Bring Plenty of Fresh Water and Food
It’s important to bring plenty of fresh water and a portable water bowl along with you on your trip, so that you and your pup can stay properly hydrated. This is especially true if you’re camping in warm weather – dehydration can occur rapidly if your pup doesn’t drink enough throughout the day.
Most serviced campsites will have a supply of drinking water, but if you’re wild camping, you’ll need to bring several gallons along with you. If you don’t want to carry so much water, make sure you have access to a clean water source and use dog-safe water purification tablets or a water filter to replenish your supplies.
Make sure to bring enough food and snacks for your pup too. If you’re planning an active trip with lots of walking, you should bring more food than they usually eat to compensate for their increased energy expenditure.
Note: Never let your dog drink untreated water from rivers or lakes. These waters may contain harmful bacteria.
- Identification and Emergency Kit
It may be uncomfortable to think about, but you should always prepare for the worst by packing an emergency kit.
This should include laminated cards that include your dog’s photograph and your contact details in case they get lost. Make sure their microchip details are up to date, and that they wear a collar with an ID tag at all times.
You should also bring a first aid kit with you, so you can deal with any minor injuries should your pooch get hurt. This could include tweezers to remove ticks or splinters, wound cleaner, bandages, booties, pliers for pulling out porcupine quills, and a sterile eyewash.
I also recommend bringing copies of your pup’s vaccination record and health history, as well as the contact details of your dog’s vet. This will be very useful if your pup needs to visit a different veterinary clinic for treatment during your trip.
- Protect Your Dog Against Ticks and Insects
Grassy, wooded areas are often riddled with ticks and other nasty insects that can bite your dog and cause discomfort and disease.
Your pooch should be on a flea and tick prevention program already, but before taking them camping, you must make sure that their treatments are fully up to date.
It’s also a good idea to ask your vet about additional non-toxic insect repellents that can be used to ward off mosquitoes and other biting insects from bothering your pup.
- Recall Training and Obedience
Whether you’re camping in the wilderness or setting up your tent on a campsite, you must ensure that your dog is well-trained before bringing them along.
While your dog should always be leashed, they should also have reliable recall so that you can call them away from dangers. This could be wildlife, other campers having a BBQ, or fast-flowing water, for example.
Your pup should also know key cues like “stay”, “wait” and “leave it”. If your dog goes to eat something potentially dangerous that another camper has left on the ground, you’ll want to be sure that they will listen to you!
In the great outdoors many things can pose a risk to your dog. It’s crucial that they respond to your cues so that you can keep them safe.
Note: Even if your dog has great recall, the safest option is to keep him or her leashed when hiking or camping. A long line can be a useful tool when camping, as your pet still has freedom without being able to leave your camp.
Happy camping, friends!
Guest post contributed by: Richard Cross of TheDogClinic.com.