8 Essentials for Camping with Your Dog

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Summer is a time for catching fireflies and hanging by campfires. It’s a time to bask in the sun and swim in the water. Many families take small vacations to get away. My husband and I are no exception; we love to go camping during the summer.

On our last trip to go camping in the mountains, I realized that dogs are a lot like kids. You have to pack a bag, make sure they have their snacks and of course you can’t forget their favorite toys! While I was racking my brain trying to figure out what all would be needed for our weekend long camping trip, I wish I had a quick checklist that would have made the packing adventure a lot easier. So, in order to make it more convenient for you, I am taking my experience and giving you a checklist to prepare you for your doggy camping trips.

Food/Treats

While it should be a given, dogs will get hungry and even though the hot dog that fell off the campfire may be scrumptious to your dog, it can mess up their diet. Stick to their standard doggy food and treats, it will keep their tummy happy and keep you from having to clean up a pukey mess.

Extra tip: pack them in zip lock baggies or some other type of storage bowls to keep bears and/or any other animals away. After your dog is finished eating, pack up the food and store it in your vehicle or a bear safe container away from your tent. You surely don’t want to wake up to Yogi in the middle of the night.

Bottled Water

Some campsites have water available from a pump, while others may be completely in the wilderness and water is something you have to track down. Pack bottled water because rivers and streams are not always clean. They can contain pollutants or bacteria that could make your pooch sick.

Water Bowl

So you have packed the water, now you need something to put it in. Unless you plan on cupping your hands and making your own human water bowl for your pup, a portable water bowl can come in handy. You can transport it anywhere and some are even collapsible, making them super easy to store. You can even through one in the glove compartment of your car.

Toys

Toys are best packed in a very small quantity. Keep it simple and only pack 1, maybe 2 toys. It will help keep them occupied during camping downtime. Having too many toys can get clustered and will (9 chances out of 10) get lost in the wilderness. Plus, you don’t want to tempt a bear with a brand new squeaky toy to play with, do you?

Leash

Dogs are curious creatures by nature. They love to explore and some are great escape artists. You can help keep your pet safe and out of trouble by having a leash on hand. A retractable leash will give your pet some freedom to roam around and a standard leash will help give you better control.

Booties

Booties can be an optional item, but I consider them necessary. Unless you are completely familiar with your camping spot, it is hard to determine the exact terrain of the surrounding area. Regardless of where you go, one thing is certain, the outdoors can be unpredictable. Rough plants, hot concrete, cactus, or snowcapped mountains can all be a danger to your furry friend’s paws. Having booties can help protect your pet against the dangers of Mother Nature.

Warm Additions

The great outdoors can vary in temperature from one moment to the next. Nights can get chilly and a nice, warm dog blanket can help keep your pooch cozy and comfy. If your dog happens to be the type to care for a blanket, a fleece jacket can also be a great option. Fleece jackets are worn close to the body, trapping heat that would otherwise be lost.

Poop Bags

I know you’re thinking that since it’s natural for animals to poop outside without a cleanup crew, that it should be allowed for your dog. However, you have to remember that you probably aren’t the first person to ever camp there. Be courteous to other campers and remember that you are a responsible parent. By bringing poop bags, you can earn the respect of your neighbors, human and animal. Clean up the doo and keep others out of the poo.

First Aid

First aid is one thing on the list that is often overlooked. However, since Mother Nature isn’t always as friendly as we would like her to be, it is important to protect your pet’s safety. In the event that something happens to your fluffy butted friend, you can be prepared with first aid swaps. They relieve pain and clean minor cuts, scrapes and burns. They really come in handy in case of an accident and they are small, making them easy to pack.

Optional Items

All of these items can really help you get prepared for camping, or any travel trip for that matter. This checklist can be used as a convenient way to pack for your next trip.

Photo courtesy of estrolli

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