Pet ownership is at an all-time high today, and many people take their pooch with them everywhere they go, including on vacation and that includes camping! There’s a lot of information to be had out there, and there’s even a website devoted to camping with your pet that provides a comprehensive list of campgrounds and trails in each state that allow dogs. We’ll provide that resource a bit later in this article. First, we want to discuss some basic things you might have already thought of (reminders aren’t a bad thing though!) and a couple that you might not have.
Consider the length of your stay, and the activities you’ll be doing with your dog. Is your trip just a weekend, or will you be staying longer? Will you be hiking any trails together? Will you and your dog be in the sun for long amounts of time, or swimming? All of these factors need to be considered so you pack the right gear to make your trip fun and relaxing for both you and your dog.
First, make sure the place your heading to allows dogs. Can they go on the trails in the park, or will your dog be restricted to certain areas? Try to pick a campsite with a shade tree or two. Alternatively, ask to see if the campground provides picnic tables on any lots, because this can be used as a source of shade as well. A lot right on the water is ideal for fresh water to drink and quick and easy access to swimming on hot days.
Be sure to pack enough food for your dog—you’ll both be getting lots of fresh air and exercise, and their appetite will be big too! When your dog is done with his meal, dispose of any leftover food in a trash can and wash the bowl then put it away. This will keep the “friendly” local raccoons and any other unwanted woodland friends from coming around, especially at night!
Before you leave home, make sure you’ve applied flea and tick meds. Your dog can pick up ticks and fleas from both woods and shore, making for a very nasty surprise a couple weeks or sooner after you get back.
Finally, keep a first aid kit handy that includes hydrogen peroxide and a wash cloth. If your dog picks up a toad while on a hike (like my dog has!), you’re going to need it. Toads secrete a protective toxin that make their predators sick, and in some cases even kills them. If your dog picks up a toad, you’re going to need to get to a water source right away. Your dog will be foaming at the mouth, put do not panic. Wet the washcloth with hydrogen peroxide and wipe out your dog’s mouth completely, including the tongue, gums and the roof of the mouth. Immediately rinse with water. This will remove the bulk of the toxin; if you want to clean your dog’s mouth again for safe measure, do so, but make sure you follow up with a complete rinse each time. It’s a good idea to research toad poisoning and the types of toads that may live in the region where you will be staying.
Other resources for camping with your dog can be found here:
Pet Camping, a website devoted to camping and RVing with your pets (mainly dogs) is an AMAZING resource with articles, reviews and more.