Family camping trips can be a little intimidating with the extensive list of items to pack. As pets are increasingly viewed as members of the family, they are more likely to be invited along as well. Here are the tips you'll need to make your camping memories even more special with the addition of your dogs' company.
If you're camping in a designated campground, do your research and choose a spot that allows dogs and learn what their rules are. Some campgrounds require dogs to be leashed at all times while others have less restrictive policies. Respect the campground regulations and be sure to look after your pet's messes to keep the grounds nice. We like this waste bag holder with a flashlight for night-time bathroom breaks.
Be sure your dogs' vaccinations are up to date. Bring a copy of the rabies vaccination records just in case your pet should have an encounter with wildlife.
Flea and tick meds are important not only for your pet, but also to ensure the bugs don't hitch a ride and come home and decide to go on their own camping trip at your house. We have a variety of insect-repelling products including T-shirts, hoodies, beds, bandanas, crates and pet-safe sprays and drops. Our Sentry Natural Defense Squeeze-On treatment works for three months against fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.
Also consider getting a pet first aid kit. As life would have it, if you bring one, you probably won't need it, right?! Check out our wide selection of kits to suit your needs. These can also help with human first aid issues in a pinch, so they're great to have around! Pet sunscreen is also a must for certain short-haired breeds. A light t-shirt can help protect your pup from sun, bugs and scrapes, as well as keeping your dog cleaner.
Food, water and shelter are the main requirements for survival, but to thrive in the wilderness, we have some supplies to make "ruffin' it" less rough!
Pack food in waterproof bins or zipper bags to keep bugs out and the animal-attracting scents inside. Our travel bowls make feeding a snap. If water is scarce, our Fresh Licks bowls are an environmentally friendly option. Our collapsible bowls have clips for easy packing and carrying. Be sure to bring treats and chew toys to keep dogs calm and well-behaved in unfamiliar surroundings. This concept works for children as well. Just pull out the S'mores to get the kids all happy and less freaked out by non-electronic adventures.
An additional collapsible bowl is nice for water, but we also carry some nifty dog water bottles that don't even require a bowl and won't be spilled. These are particularly nice for hikes up the trail. Dog-friendly designs will be a visible reminder that your dog's water bottle is his, and you won't accidentally imbibe drool backwash.
Many people like to sleep with their pets for added warmth and security. But it's nice to have a portable bed or blanket for your pup. It's the equivalent to the camping chair for humans that will make your pet comfortable around the campsite. These travel beds are great for protecting your vehicle against dirt and hair too.
If your camping spot doesn't have much shade, consider one of our pet shade tents or collapsible crates for protection from the elements and dirt. Our Guardian Gear Insect Shield Collapsible Crate also provides protection against insects.
It's important to be sure your dog is safe. Is the terrain going to be rough? Will you be doing a lot of hiking? Dog boots can be a lifesaver when hiking over granite, lava rock, cacti, or hot surfaces. Here in Colorado, we've even had dogs abandoned in the mountains because their feet were too cut up to walk and the dog was too large to carry. We have a large selection of boots to meet any dog's needs for a variety of conditions to ensure every member of the hiking party is safe.
Having a sturdy dog collar and leash is also important to keep your pet under your protection. A multi-function leash that has a two-sided connector is helpful for tethering, hands-free hiking and more. Check for wear and tear to make sure your dog's old collar is secure.
For dogs with narrow heads, consider a harness to prevent the collar from slipping off. My brother learned this the hard way when he and his hiking buddy got in a tight spot and tried to help his dog down, only to have the collar slip off. His dog was lost on a mountain for ten days before finally being captured.
This brings us to the importance of identification. It's a good idea to get a microchip implanted when updating your pet's vaccinations if you haven't already done so. Be sure the microchip information is updated to your current mobile number.
Another great product for identification are our QR code IDs. These can be instantly updated 24/7 with your smart phone, which means you could even enter your campsite location! Even if your pet should be found by someone without a smart phone, they can still access the information by taking a picture of the QR code and texting it to the number on the tag.
Do you have any other ideas to make camping with dogs even better? Please share!
Photo of camping dogs courtesy of bugeaters.