Just like everything else, camping with dogs require careful planning and thought. We highlight here important preparation and planning to have a fun, stress-free, adventure.
Check the Rules of the Parks and Wildlife Areas You Plan to Explore
You will need to understand the rules for the areas you plan to explore and where you plan to camp. Many national, state, and local parks and forests allow dogs, but some do not, and some have specific restrictions. Check the website for details. Also, check the details of your campsite and trail plans. The more you plan, the more you will avoid pitfalls and have an enjoyable time.
What to Pack for Your Dog – Keep It Simple
Pack plenty of food and treats – mostly just what your pet needs at home. Lightweight eating and drinking bowls make life easier for you.
Make sure you review availability of water for you and your dog. We usually plan a 1/2 gallon per dog each day and a gallon for each human. Make sure to check with your vet, to ensure you have enough fresh water for your dog. Review the website for the area you will be visiting. Also, check the details of your campsite and trail plans. An important consideration when camping is the proximity of water at the campsite and while you are hiking. If your pup does not have enough water, you won’t either, you will need to share.
For hiking, it’s best to choose trails close to streams or lakes. Keep in mind distance between water stops. If water stops are far apart, you may want to carry extra to ensure it is readily available whenever your pup is thirsty.
Leashes, Leashes, Leashes
Bringing more than one leash is important for a number of reasons. First of all, there are parks that require your pet to be on leash at all times. Even for parks and forests where your dog can roam free, there will still be times when a leash is needed, especially when wild animals show up. And don’t forget rattlesnakes; dogs won’t understand what they may be getting themselves into.
In a strange environment, even the most disciplined dog may get out-of-hand. At CragDog, we, of course, are in the leash business and have many sturdy leashes for you to choose from.
Make Sure Your Dog is Prepared
If you plan a strenuous trip, covering many miles, know what your pet is capable of. You might want to have a training plan for your dog just as you may have for yourself. Consider scheduling a visit to your vet to make sure your dog can handle the trip, especially if you have any doubts about the health or capability of your pet.
Starting out, not all dogs do well at sleeping in a tent and may have trouble going in and out. You may want to practice before you are on the trail.
If you plan to hike in popular areas, your dog will need basic obedience training to avoid trouble and to keep all pets and wildlife safe. Know the rules for the trails you’re using, and whether there are other uses for the trails by, for example, bikes or horses.
Respect wildlife and other pets by giving them plenty of space. Do not let your dog chase other dogs or wildlife. It pays to go out of your way to be considerate of other users to avoid confrontations (with humans, pets, or wildlife).
Enjoy Nature As You Found It.
Follow the age-old adage: leave no trace. Allow others to enjoy nature as you found it. Always pick up your dog’s waste and dispose of properly where indicated.
At your campsite and when taking breaks, make sure to clean up food crumbs, spilled treats, and packaging. And you don’t want to mistakenly leave behind your CragDog dog toys…
Bring Along Your Sense of Humor and Have Fun
The whole point of hiking with dogs is to enjoy their company and have an adventure. Follow these guidelines to plan ahead, but always have Plan B in case of unforeseen events. The best trips are the ones that have unanticipated experiences; you can’t plan for everything. Take lots of pictures, stay safe, and enjoy the great outdoors. Your friends and family will be waiting to hear your stories when you return. And your best friend will become your even better friend.