Dog running in river

10 SAFETY TIPS FOR CAMPING WITH YOUR DOG

05/18/15

This is the time of year when many people get excited about camping. It’s a cost-effective and fun activity for the whole family – including dogs! That being said, there are some key safety tips that you should keep in mind if you plan on bringing your pooch on your next adventure:

  1. Keep your dog on leash at all times: Your dog will most likely be tempted to explore when in a new environment and his recall may not be as good as it is at home. In addition, they may instinctively want to run if they are spooked by something in the woods or if they have a high prey drive and get on the trail of a wild animal.
  2. Ensure your dog is wearing a collar with an ID tag: Despite your best efforts, there is a risk of your dog getting away from you and becoming lost. They will be less likely to find their way back to you in an unfamiliar environment so it’s important to ensure they can be identified by someone if found. An ID tag with your cell phone number on it (not your home number since you won’t be there) and a microchip will help ensure a safe return.
  3. Provide plenty of shade and water: Your dog most likely isn’t used to spending all day outside in the summer. Be cautious of the amount of sun they get and provide plenty of opportunities for your dog to cool down in the shade or by going for a quick swim in the lake.
  4. Make sure all shots and preventive medications are up to date: Your dog will be exposed to wild life, ticks and mosquitoes while camping. Because of this, it’s important to ensure your pet is protected by vaccinating them and regularly giving them a preventive medication that protects against heartworm and other parasites. Using a pet-friendly bug repellant will also provide some protection from insects. You should also check your dog thoroughly for ticks after they’ve been in tick grass or a wooded area.
  5. Never leave your dog unattended, especially in a hot tent or car: When camping with your dog, you will need to ensure someone is able to watch him or her at all times. Even if this means someone needs to miss out on a fun activity because it isn’t pet appropriate.
  6. Don't let them drink standing water: Puddles and slow moving rivers/creeks may contain bacteria that can lead to gastrointestinal issues, such as Guardia. Keep clean drinking water on hand at all times to avoid this from happening.
  7. Consider bringing a crate: If your dog is used to being in a crate, bringing it along may help them feel more comfortable and will help to ensure their safety. A portable fencing unit is another good way to keep them contained, but they’ll still need to be monitored.
  8. Keep them away from the campfire: Even a spark from the fire can burn your dog. Keep them a safe distance from the fire pit to avoid a trip to emergency room.
  9. Keep dog food in tightly stored containers and locked in your car: This will prevent wild animals, such as bears, stopping by your campsite for an unwelcomed visit!
  10. Consider boarding your dog: Despite wanting to include your dog in this fun family activity, camping isn’t for everyone. If you have any concerns about your dog going camping (heat tolerance, anxiety, etc.), consider leaving them with a friend or at a trusted boarding facility.