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Camping With Your Dog
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Camping With Your Dog

1. Make sure you bring your dog's (puppy's) proof of vaccinations rabies tag with you when you are camping. It is probably NOT a good idea to take them camping with you until he has had at least three sets of puppy shots.

2. Carry emergency information not only for your family, but also for your pet.  If you should become injured the authorities will need to contact someone to care for your dog. 

3. Talk to your vet about camping and ask whether he or she thinks your puppy needs to be vaccinated for Lyme Disease.  While you are talking with them, ask about what you should keep on hand as a "doggie first aid kit".

4. Flea-tick control. Advantage is excellent for fleas but does not get ticks. Frontline does a good job on both. These are both once a month applications. Some of the other products like Revolution and Sentinel are taken internally instead of applied to the skin. Also make sure that you keep up his heartworm prevention program. Many people now give heartworm preventative year-round.

5. Crate training is excellent. Fold up wire "suitcase" crates are the most versatile for travel, since you can put them in your tow vehicle, take them in a motel room, put them in the camper. When riding in the car, have your dog (puppy) ride in his crate. That way is you have to slam on the brakes suddenly, they won't become a missile that could fly into the windshield. Also prevents the dog from darting out the vehicle when you stop, during unloading, loading, etc. And if you stop somewhere you can open the windows, park in the shade, and leave him secure in his crate.

6. Puppy classes are great for socialization and basic manners. Keep it up.  Continue on with obedience classes as your dog gets older.

7. Learn to use plastic bags for poop pickup. Use the bags from the supermarket, newspaper wrappers, or sandwich bags. Commercial bags are available that attach to your leash or are compacted into small easily carried "pills", which are my personal favorite.  Insert your hand in the bag, pick up the offending matter, turn the bag inside out and toss it in the trash. Keep a supply of plastic baggies in your car, PU, camping gear, pockets, etc.

8. Make sure your dog is always wearing a collar with current contact information on it.  If possible make a tag for each trip with the name and phone number of the campground you are staying.  You may want to think of buying a "traveling collar".  This could have more specific contact information for your dog.  If you camp in remote areas (like dispersed camping in a National Forest) you may even consider a "blaze orange" collar for visibility.

9. Get your dog tattoed and microchipped as soon as possible. Remember to register the chip or tattoo. This will really help if your dog gets lost--especially when you are far from home. Keep photos of your dog with you so that if he does get lost, you'll be prepared to make fliers right away.

10. If you do nothing else, teach a reliable, offlead recall NOW. You never know when they might get away from you and you will need to call them back. 

11. Get a flexi-lead--the retractable lead that let the dog run out (some as far as to 26 ft.) and then run back to you. Great for those long walks. Dog gets to walk 2 to 3 times farther than you do!!!!  But if you use them on hikes make sure your dog does not get out of your sight.  Remember, there may be another hiker around that corner that you cannot see.  Remember, in most areas law limit leashes to 6 feet in public areas which may include the hiking trail you are on.

12. Remember that dark colored dogs overheat more quickly than light colored dogs and that dogs don't sweat. A dip in a pond or a quick hosing down with cool water (or even misting water over the head, neck back, and belly) will help cool an overheated dog. If you hike with your puppy remember that he cannot go as far as an adult dog can and that you need to watch him for overheating. Take plenty of water along for the dog to drink and to pour over him if need be.

13. Remember that not everyone is a "dog person".  Do not allow your dog to approach someone unless they consent to it.

14. Ask campgrounds what their pet rules are when making reservations.  Many campgrounds have prohibitions on pets and others may limit the size of dogs they will allow.

15. Keep your dog on a leash at all times.  Even a well behaved dog may run off at the sight or scent of other animals.  Additionally, don't let your dog chase wild animals/game.  Remember, it is their home you are visiting - please respect it.


The most common question I am asked is "Can my dog be left on the pop-up alone?"

There is no simple answer to this question, every dog is different and you have to make your choice based on the temperament of your dog.  Remember, you dog is a member of the family and should be treated as such.  Do not place them in a dangerous situation.

First of all, check with your destination to see if a kennel is available. This is always the first choice. If not, then a dog that is comfortable being left alone in the pop up may be OK. On a couple of camping trips "test" the dog. Put them in the pop up and go out and get in the car, slam the doors for the correct number of people and drive away. One person stays behind and keeps quite listening to see what the dog does. Some dogs will go to sleep, some will whine/bark for a coupe of minutes then quiet down while others continue to bark.

If you do plan to leave them alone, please keep in mind they can't care for themselves.  Make sure the temperature will be in a safe and reasonable range.  While you may have A/C or a heater, what will happen in a power failure?  Remember food and water!

This is also not something you should spring on your dog out of the blue.  If your dog has only experienced being with it's "pack", being abandoned may be difficult for them to deal with.  Over several trips in the pop up you may want to slowly build up the time you leave them alone.

Some things that may help:

A bed the dog is comfortable sleeping in; even better is a crate if your dog is comfortable in one.

Close all curtains to keep it dark

Run your A/C to keep it cool (plus it adds background noise)

Leave a radio on softly to block outside noise.

Again, the choice will ultimately be yours. You must feel comfortable with leaving your dog alone.

My thanks to Sue Healy (wssfetch on the PUT Message Board) and others who have contributed to this information. Visit Sue at her web site:  Gingerwood Welsh Springers

Additionally, thanks to Golden Retrievers in Cyberspace for use of the link to their page "What to Put In Your Canine FIRST AID KIT", which is Copyright (1995) by Anne V. McGuire


A couple of other great sites relating to hiking and camping with your dog are:

Hiking with Canines

While this site deals with hiking and backpacking, it is great information that can be used in most camping situations.

Camping with Your Dog

Another source of great information!

   Revised: May 08, 2007


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