So, you’re ready to embark on a camping adventure with your canine companion? Before you hit the trails and pitch that tent, there are a few things you should consider to make sure both you and your pup are set up for a great time. We’ve rounded up a list of tips for you to keep in mind before and during your camping trip with your dog along for the ride.
Check Campsite Policies
Before you pack up, double-check the campground or RV park’s pet policies. Dogs are welcome at most Parks Canada sites, but only if they’re on a leash less than three meters long, and under control at all times. Rules can vary from place to place, and some sites might allow for off-leash play in designated areas. Be sure to do your homework before you go. While you might luck out and land at a spot that has no problem with dogs, you could also find yourself in a serious pinch if that’s not the case.
Know Your Dog's Temperament
It’s important to understand your dog’s personality and comfort level when it comes to new environments. Some dogs thrive in the great outdoors, while others might get a bit anxious or stressed. Be attentive to your dog’s health, behaviour, and well-being. Look for signs of anxiety, agitation, or even fear, and always keep a watchful eye on your pooch. Plan your trip according to your dog's needs too. Stop regularly to allow for bathroom breaks, water and snack time, and an opportunity to stretch their legs. Another thing to consider is how your dog does with other animals and children. Travel brings a whole lot of unpredictable situations. Knowing your pet and planning around them is key.
Just like you pack your own camping gear, your pup needs its own list of essentials too. Pack enough food and water and extra, especially if you plan on being active with your dog. A portable dog dish is handy if you are hitting the trails. A comfortable place for downtime, a dog bed, crate or kennel helps your pooch to feel at home in the campground. Don’t forget the leash, collar with ID tags, wipes, dog towels,s, and be sure to stock up on poop bags that are biodegradable.
A quick pre-camping vet check can save a lot of worries on your trip. Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations, and protect them against ticks, fleas, and intestinal worms. Bring along your dog’s medication, including dog shampoo and a brush. If the weather takes a turn, have a plan to keep your dog warm and dry. Make sure its sleep area is well-ventilated and has access to water. Keep your dog away from the campfire to avoid smoke, sparks, or getting injured.
Plan Dog-Friendly Activities
Make sure your camping adventure is dog-friendly by planning activities that your pup can join in on. Hiking, swimming, and playing fetch are at the top of your pooch’s list! Choose trails that are suitable for your dog’s fitness level and note that it’s recommended that dogs not be taken into backcountry terrain. Many wilderness areas are not suited to dogs due to rugged terrain and possible exposure to wildlife and potential run-ins with bears or cougars. Many trails and public areas also have restrictions, so check those out before you go.
Always follow the golden rule of camping: Leave No Trace. This applies to your pup as well. Always clean up after your furry companion, bury waste or scoop that poop! Remove any leftover food (pup or human) not to attract any unwanted wildlife or insects. Leave nature as you found it, and a place for everyone to enjoy.
Respect Other Campers
Some people might be allergic, fearful, or simply prefer a dog-free zone. Be a considerate camper by keeping your dog well-behaved and under control. Avoid letting your dog approach other campers or their campsites without an invitation. Remember, not everyone is a dog lover, please ensure your dog doesn’t bark excessively. This not only keeps your pup safe but also ensures everyone else has a good time too.
Camping with your dog can be an unforgettable experience and a whole lot of fun. With a little planning, respect for others and nature, you’re well on your way to creating memories that will last a lifetime. So, pack your bags, your four-legged bestie, and get ready for a fantastic time in the great outdoors. Read up on Dogs in the Parks information sheet for additional information. Happy Trails!