Prep For Camping With Your Dog
Dogs are precious family members too, so it makes sense that time is spent planning and preparing to ensure that your pet’s camping experience is both safe and enjoyable. Below are some pre-travel and packing tips to consider before your furry friend joins you on your adventure. (Photo Credit: Zoey in the snow – Steve Fenton)
Before Your Trip
- Verify that your dog’s collar has an ID tag with the best contact number for during your trip and microchip your dog if you want to be extra safe. If staying somewhere for a lengthy period, you can also have a temporary dog tag made with the name and phone number of the campground.
- Keep at hand a recent photo of your dog. (Not all dogs look the same after a groom.)
- Check that your dog’s core vaccinations are up-to-date and consider vaccinations for Lyme disease (if you will be in a high-risk area for Lyme-disease carrying ticks) and Bordetella (if you expect your dog to be socialising with other canines); Bordetella should be administered two weeks prior to exposure to dogs in group settings.
- Ensure your dog is protected against fleas, ticks and intestinal worms or other diseases that can be contracted from wildlife, plants and insects.
- Consult your vet about the best options for relaxants and an antinauseant if your dog is a nervous traveller or prone to motion sickness and ask for an antidiarrheal in case your dog consumes bad water.
- Prepare and secure a travel crate or hook up a dog seat belt restraint whether you are travelling in an RV, truck or car.
- Research veterinary offices or animal hospitals in the area(s) where you will be camping and contact them to confirm that they accept emergency patients.
- If possible, ahead of your trip, let your dog get used to the RV or tent – have a few trial drives or dry runs. You can never predict how your dog will react to an unfamiliar environment!
- Plan your travel route to include ample opportunities for your dog to do its toilet. Be wary of busy areas that may make your dog nervous.
- Are dogs allowed and what are the campground pet rules?
- Is there a restriction regarding the size or breed of dog allowed in the campground?
- Does the campground require dogs to be leashed at all times? (Note that some campgrounds have max 6 ft leash length regulations.) Is there a secure off-leash area or dog park/beach?
- Are there areas in the park or campground that are prohibited to dogs?
- Is there a kennel nearby? This is handy to know ahead of time should you participate in an activity where dogs are not allowed and you need to leave it for a few hours or an evening.
- In the summertime, choose a campsite with shade for your dog.
What to Pack
- Current copy (or knowledge of online access) of your dog’s vet records and/or insurance information, medications and/or creams, first aid kit with pet-safe eye wash, and clean towel or blanket in case of an accident.
- Same food and treats that your dog eats at home, and make sure it has fresh water too. Be sure to use an airtight food container.
- Dog’s blanket and/or bed and some familiar toys with its scent.
- Brush and leash (a spare leash and collar are good to have if your dog gets very stinky or, worse, skunked).
- Dog shampoo, de-skunking shampoo/products, dog towels or wipes for wiping down muddy paws and doggy rain gear if yours uses this.
- Environmentally-friendly poop bags.
- Stake or tether – whatever you do, don’t leave your dog unattended or tie it to anything that it can get away from.
- Zip ties to secure tent openings.
- Small non-slip rug for inside the RV or tent and a mat you can easily clean and brush off for outside use.
- Tick removal tool.
- Synthetic pheromone spray or calming collar to help with any anxiety your dog may exhibit during your trip.