Most people haven’t put much extra thought into camping with dogs. Your furry friends will love the extra exercise and being outside, but there’s a few things you need to consider.
In this article we’re going help you make sure you and your dogs are fully prepared for camping getaway.
Picking the right campsite
The first thing you need to do is make sure your campsite allows pets. Most places do but you don’t want to arrive at your campsite only to be turned away.
Pick a site where you have access to lots of open space and good walking trails for dogs. You want your dogs to be fully comfortable with the environment, so they don’t get stressed out.
Sleeping at Nighttime
For your safety and your dog’s safety, you’ll want to let your dog sleep in your tent. Since you’ll be in unfamiliar territory, your dog will feel more comfortable sleeping at your side.
Make sure you have a large enough tent to accommodate your dog. Your dog will be nervous and anxious because of wild animals outside so he needs to have space.
How much food do you need to pack for your dog?
Make sure you bring dog food with high protein and fat levels for your camping trip. Veterinarian Michelle Richardson from Helena, Montana recommends increasing the ration size by up to 50%. You need to account for all the extra energy your dog will be using on the trip. A quick rule of thumb is to bring an extra cup of kibble per 20 pounds of dog per day. Give your dog a small portion of food about an hour before hiking and smaller portions throughout the day. If you want a snack, your dog does too! If you’re going for a long trip, think about packing high-protein dehydrated dog food as an alternative.
How much water do you need when camping with dogs?
Use your own thirst as a guide and give water when you stop to drink every 15 to 30 minutes. If you have a large dog it might drink 0.5 to 1 ounce of water per pound, per day. If you have a small dog (20 pounds or lighter) it will drink 1.5 ounces per pound, per day. For example, a normal-sized golden retriever might need a half a gallon of water per day. Check out our post about essential items in your survival kit to learn more about your personal needs.
What if your dog gets seriously injured during a hike?
You should always have a first aid kit for yourself in case of emergencies. You’ll also need a separate doggy first aid kit for your canine companion. Pack gauze, heavy-duty bandages, a liquid bandage for split paw pads, pet-friendly antiseptic, antibiotic ointment, pliers or tweezers for thorn and tick removal, styptic swabs, an antihistamine in case of snakebite.
Does your dog need a sleeping bag?
In most cases, you won’t need to get a sleeping bag for your dog. You can just bring a lightweight foam placemat for it to sleep on.
However, if you expect it to get cold you can buy dog-sized sleeping bags or a fleece or wool blanket.
Should you Bring a Leash and Stake?
Is your puppy a wanderer? When you’re setting up the tent or cooking over the fire you don’t want to be worrying about your dog.
A leash and stake combo might be heavy to bring into the backcountry, this combination is perfect for car camping. You’ll be able to ensure your dogs safety while it’s at your base camp.
How to deal with dog poop on the trail?
Just like in the city, you should clean up after your dog while camping as well. A lot of wildlife communicates through scent and your dog poop can interfere with the natural order of things.
Your two options are either to bring doggy bags or a shovel. You can use a doggy bag to pick up the poop and bring back to your campsite to dispose of properly. The shovel is for digging if you don’t want to carry dog poop during a long hike. You have to make sure the hole is at least 8 inches deep and at least 200 feet from walkways, camping sites, and water sources.
We should always leave nature the same, or even better than we found it so it’s important to clean up after your dog.
Give your dog a backpack too
You can give your dog some work to do and make hiking easier for yourself at the same time. Buy a doggy backpack you can put on your dog so it can carry his own water, food, and treats. Your dog will love having a task to do and if your dog is particularly energetic, you can use a weighted dog backpack to calm it down and give it extra exercise.
Camping with dogs should be fun and easy. Hopefully after reading our tips you have a good idea of what you need to do and bring for a successful trip.