This week’s blog post is in honor of an upcoming day, one I consider a holiday worthy of celebration, National Camping with Your Dog Day. Taking place on September 5th, National Camping with your Dog Day celebrates getting outdoors with your four-legged friend. Whether you’re a weathered outdoor enthusiast, or a recent dog owner looking to enjoy new activities together, this is a great opportunity to explore nature together.
Camping with your pet does require a few additional considerations to ensure the trip is enjoyable for all involved, especially if you’re traveling with a group. Whether you are new to sleeping outside with your pet, or have had many outdoor tramps together, it’s always a good idea to remind yourself of the best strategies for planning a more enjoyable outing. Below are some of my tried and true tips from camping with my two dogs, Skeeter and Tinker. The photos in this post are a tribute to my two little outdoor pups.
- Ensure your dog’s basic needs are met
Food and water are the most essential considerations for you and your dog’s outdoor adventures. When planning your provisions, keep your dog in mind. If it’s going to be very hot outside, make sure you pack extra water, especially for areas where water is less readily available. If you’re burning more calories during a day of long hiking, plan accordingly and pack extra dog food and treats. In the same way you require more food, they are going to be burning more calories and feeling extra hungry too.
- Pack the Right Gear
When preparing for a trip, you always ensure you have the clothing and gear you need for the unique elements. Your dog requires the same consideration. If it’s cold outside, make sure you are packing warmer clothes for your dogs. You may need to protect their paws, while also packing an extra warm or water-proof layer. In hot weather, having a fresh trim for long-haired dogs is best. This not only keeps them cooler but also protects them from annoying cockleburs and stinging grasses.
- Check their paws
Dogs don’t wear shoes, but their feet are at risk in the elements. Cold and hot weather climate trails pose unique risks to your dog’s foot health. Make sure to check their feet at the end of the day and keep an eye out for any signs of limping or discomfort. Dogs naturally try not to show pain, so they may have a thorn in their foot and trying their best not to show it. Finding problems early can save your pet from additional pain or the risk of infection.
- Give them somewhere soft to lay at the end of the day
After a long day of exploring, the last thing you want to do is sit on hard, dry ground. Your dog may have the same feelings. Before you settle for the evening, think about where your pet may lay on the ground. Humans usually have chairs, picnic tables, or blankets. Don’t make your dog sit on the ground at the end of a long day day, but bring along something to protect them from the ground. At the very least, a tarp or space blanket is a good idea
5. Pack it Out
Often people will leave dog poop where it’s deposited, feeling it cannot cause much harm in the “great outdoors.” However, you must remember it is not a natural part of the environment. The food your dog eats has preservatives and other chemicals, that is left outside when they leave waste. Also, in areas where many dogs frequent, high levels of dog doo can cause elevated levels of e coli. So, just remember, if ever in doubt, pack it out.
6. Make sure the Location is Pet Friendly
Nothing will ruin your family camping trip faster than discovering the location is not pet friendly. My husband and I were disappointed when we arrived in Denali National Park to discover dogs were only allowed in a few short trails on the park. We were confined to these areas when we had hoped to visit the park. Keep these things in mind when reserving spaces in campgrounds and choosing trails. Make sure you and your doggy friend are welcome.
Bring your Dog Along – National Camping with Your Dog Day
Dogs love the outdoors. It gives them a chance to learn, explore, and stretch their legs. Whenever you’re heading outside take your best friend with you. By planning ahead, you can ensure the outing is fun and memorable for all people and animals involved.
If you want more useful information, visit the website of the group who started National Camping with Your Dog Day.
Camping with Dogs is an online community of outdoor dog enthusiasts, a great place to find useful tips and kindred spirits. So happy hiking and don’t forget to bring your fuzzy, four-legged friend!