When it comes to some of my favorite things in life; camping with my dogs has to be up near the top. I mean, what's not to love about a warm snuggle with your best friend, mountain top?
Here are some things I’ve learned when it comes to safely taking your pup on a one day or multi-day outdoor adventure.
1) Food & Water
- Your dog should be prepared to easily handle the distance that you will be covering. If it’s been a while, and you’re both just getting back into it, train together! Dog paws need to be toughened up and trail ready before a long day or days adventure.
- Bring the expected amount of food, and then some. I always count the meals I expect my pup will eat, and then pack 2 more meals just in case. Hopefully it never happens, but if you end up in a situation where you are out longer than expected, you will want to be prepared. Treats are also an essential trail item. I give my pup treats quite frequently along the trail to not only give provide some much needed calories, but it helps keep him on good behavior. Zukes has some great choices my dogs are obsessed with.
- Bring plenty of water. I either bring enough water for my pup, or give him the filtered water I would eventually be making for myself. I don't tent to stop my pups from drinking from rivers and streams, but do be aware that there can be microorganisms in that water you and your pup don't want in their stomach. If you’re camping and you’re not sure if the site/area has potable water supply, I would plan on bringing some or filtering it. Always better to be safe than sorry!
2) Sleepy Time
- Dogs are creatures of comfort and routine so bring some items that they are familiar with and have their scent. I usually bring a Ruffwear camping pad with me.
- As far as sleeping, I’ve heard there are two ways to do it. Some dogs are comfortable sleeping in their own tent, or they sleep in the tent with you. I prefer to sleep with my pups. They are much more comfortable being with me and adds extra warmth! I give them the Ruffwear pad to sleep on or i’ll bring an extra lightweight pad for our multi-day trips. If it’s is going to be exceptionally chilly, I’ll bring the Kammok quilt for them to snuggle in.
3) Identification & Vaccinations
- Make sure your pup has a collar with identification tags that include their name and your cell phone number (ideally the one you have with you!) and have your pup micro-chipped.
- Have your pup up to date on vaccinations and give them any preventative vaccines for the specific area you are traveling in (heartworm, flea and tick,water borne illnesses, etc). Many times, your regular annual vaccines may not be the same or safe for other areas you may travel to. Ask your vet!
- While on your outing, check them regularly for signs of fleas or ticks as well as plant jabs and stick-like thorns.
- Pack a first aid kit in case of cuts or other injuries.
- I have a Ruffwear light that blinks on my dog's collar that I turn on at night time. It's really helpful in keeping an eye on them when it gets dark.
4) Dog Backpack
- A dog backpack is a great idea because it saves your back (the weight of food and water: they get to carry their own food) and opens more room for you in your own pack. Ruffwear makes some great packs: we have the Palisades and the Approach packs.
5) Doggie Poo
- Be sure to bring plenty of dog bags., always.
- Keep an eye out for when your dog goes. You don't want to leave it lying around where you or other campers can step in it.
- Pack it until a receptacle is available. If it’s going to be a while, bring a shovel and bury it.
While i’m no dog-camping-expert, I have some good experience with it with my dogs and this is what i’ve learned. I hope you found this useful and helpful!