Most people agree that we are just spending too much time with technology. It’s great that we can see what our friends and family are doing on social media, but how much time do we really waste staring at our phones?

Sometimes it’s a nice treat to just unplug and head to the great outdoors. This time can be made even better when it becomes quality time with our favorite four-legged friends.

If you’re considering heading into the wilderness, here are 10 tips for camping with your dog.

10 Tips for Camping with Your Dog

When going camping, there’s a lot to think about even if you’re going alone. Bringing more people or your pet will give you a little more to plan for, but it won’t be too difficult if you plan.

Before Leaving Home

Your camping adventure is going to start before you even leave home. To have the best time possible, you need to make a good plan. Your itinerary can change, but your supplies can’t. Take stock of all the things you’ll need and you’re likely to have a much better time.

  1. Check with Your Vet – One of the first things you should do before hitting the trails is to ensure your pet is in good health. This will include a visit to the vet to make sure your dog is looking good and is all caught up on their shots as well as pest preventatives.
  2. Update Your Dog’s ID – It’s very easy and cheap now to go get your dog a custom dog tag. You’ll want to make sure your dog’s tag has your current phone number as well as your pet’s name. You can even consider buying a tag that has your campsite information so anyone who finds your dog will know where to bring them.
  3. Know the Regulations – Be sure to read up on all the pet regulations where you’ll be staying. You might even want to talk to someone there when you book your campground. Some campgrounds do not allow pets, or they may allow pets, but they always must be leashed. Be sure you know the rules before you go.
  4. Pack What You Need, Leave What You Don’t – It’s important to consider what supplies, food, and toys you’ll need to bring with. Don’t over burden yourself with “stuff.” Remember that you’re going camping to get away and to be closer to nature. Be ready to enjoy spending time in your own head and with your dog.

While Camping with Your Dog

  1. Start with a Cozy Homebase – Make sure one of the first things you do is get your camp set up. Place your tent over a tarp to help prevent moisture from creeping into your tent, then lay down your blankets and pillows and get ready for a relaxing time. You want your tent to be the place you escape to if it begins to rain or if wind howls. Or maybe you just want to go there for your afternoon nap.
  2. Know Where Your First Aid Is – Should something bad happen, you’ll want to be prepared. Know how to take care of cuts and other dings, but also have a supply of allergy medicines and salves for things like bee stings and scrapes.
  3. Be a Kind Guest – Remember that you are a guest at the campground. You should of course pick up after your dog, make sure they are leashed, and do not leave them alone. You need to be considerate of other people who are also enjoying some vacation time.

After Camping

  1. Grooming Is Important – Once you’ve made it home after enjoying the company of your dog in the great outdoors, be sure to give them a thorough once over. You’ll want to make sure you get any dirt or burrs out of their coat, so make sure the get a good brushing. And while you’re bushing make sure you…
  2. Check for Pests – Make sure you also check your dog for any critters. The great outdoors is the place to pick up some fleas or ticks. You’ll want to make sure you check your dog is not harboring any critters you can see.
  3. Get Ready for Next Time – Now that you’re back home, take stock of how your trip went. Were there any supplies you wish you had brought? How did your dog act while camping, and how well did you handle them? Is there anything you would change for next time? Asking these questions will help you assess what went well and what you maybe could work on for next time.

Some Tips from the US Forest Service

Aside from these tips, the US Forest Service recommends carrying these items specifically if you have any dog related emergencies:

  • A bandana to use as a makeshift muzzle.
  • A set of tweezers and mineral oil for tick removal.
  • An easily packed blanket like a space blanket for treating shock or cold.
  • A folding multi-tool that has a set of pliers for removing thorns or porcupine quills.
  • Something to protect dog paws like specially made booties or even toddler socks.
  • A first aid booklet with animal specific information.
  • The name, contact information and directions to the nearest veterinary clinic.

With some preparation beforehand, you and your dog will be able to safely enjoy the great outdoors together.

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