cropped view of traveler in tent with funny golden retriever dog
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Ah, the great outdoors! For Mother Nature fans, there is nothing more exciting or nicer than spending an evening under the carpet of the stars, breathing in the freshest air and falling asleep in the quiet silence. Unless you’re a pet parent – and the only thing that could enhance your adventure is taking your pup for the trip. Camping with dogs is a fun experience for the whole family but requires preparation. And, as with most activities, your dog needs to come first so you can prepare for his or her needs along the way. We have put together a guide on how to climb these mountains and climb these rivers with your pup by your side.
Can all dogs go camping?
That’s a fair question, don’t you think so? After all, some dogs can skilfully run next to you while you are training for a marathon, while others are better suited to cheering you on from the couch. When hiking, however, almost all dog breeds can camp with the right planning, preparation and care, explains Annette Louviere, DVM, veterinarian and head of technical support at Wisdom Health. Before venturing out to climb any section of the Appalachian Trail, however, you should think about your dog’s type of lifestyle and activities. Not to mention health problems.
“For example, walking long distances with arthritis is not only uncomfortable but also painful,” says Louviere. “And asking a dog with a heart condition to exercise vigorously is unwise.”
Also, not all dogs thrive in all weather. For example, Louviere explains that flat-faced breeds (Brachycephalic) can have real problems breathing and regulating their body temperature, especially in the summer heat. Hence, precautions must be taken to protect them.
That being said, there is a big difference between a week-long hike through rocky terrain and a quick, leisurely trip to a peak where you can picnic. Think about what your puppy can do before you take him on the trip.
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Which breeds of dogs are best for camping?
While most breeds go camping or hiking, active, sporty breeds are ideal for sharing outdoor adventures, according to the Louviere. These include:
She also says not to be fooled by the size! “Small to medium-sized breeds can also instruct outdoor companions with the proper preparation,” she explains. Breeds such as the Miniature Poodles, Corgis, Beagles, Dachshunds, and Shetland Sheepdogs have a high energy for adventure despite their smaller stature.
Dog camping gear you need to get started
As Louviere says, having the right equipment is critical to making any good adventure possible. And that includes gear for you and gear for your pup. Here’s an overview of a basic packing list that will make camping with dogs easier and more fun for the whole family.
6 tips for safe camping with dogs
If you are considering camping with your dogs, there are a few strategies you need to use to make sure your pup is happy and healthy. You don’t want to be unprepared – in the middle of nowhere, with no cell phone service – and have an emergency. Instead, follow these six expert-led tips to keep everyone enjoying the trail.
1. Make a vet visit before camping.
If you haven’t visited your vet in a long time, book a check-up a week before your vacation. When camping, you want to make sure that your pup is fully protected from all potential threats. This includes flea and tick protection, up-to-date vaccinations, and parasite prevention protocols that your veterinarian can recommend. While it may seem like an overkill, it is better to have peace of mind for your loved one.
2. Make sure your dog is microchipped.
Louviere says it’s also a good idea to microchip the puppy in case an unthinkable breakup occurs during your camping trip and your dog gets lost somewhere in the Great Unknown. As scary as a thought is, a microchip acts as a permanent identification for your dog so you can always find him.
3. Arrange a care appointment beforehand.
Different breeds have different grooming requirements, but even some short-haired dogs might get a haircut and / or nail cut before camping. Where from? As Louviere explains, clean nails keep twigs or twigs from getting caught in the path. And the fairing prevents them from overheating when you are camping with your dog in the summer.
Beware, there are certain double-coated breeds that should never be shaved in any weather!
4. Never leave your puppy unattended.
“Your puppy is your constant adventure companion,” recalls Louviere. And by that she means that your dog should never be left unattended. There are no exceptions to this rule no matter where you are, especially if you find yourself on a new mountain, trail, or campsite that you are unfamiliar with. “Whether at the campsite or in your vehicle, it’s hard to predict what can happen when you are away,” she adds.
5. Know your dog’s triggers.
All doggos have different tolerance and personality types. While some are generally down to earth and calm, others are easily excited or nervous about noises. Because of this, according to Louviere, it’s important to be careful about what may trigger your pup – due to changes in weather, wildlife near campsites, reactions to other dogs or people, etc. You want to be prepared for anything.
6. Always follow the rules for campsites and hiking trails.
Remember: not all trails are animal friendly. Before deciding where to camp your dog, double check that your furry friends can trot next to you. The same goes for campsites: most are good with dogs on a leash, but others are not. And if they do allow your pup to be on a leash, make sure he is well trained to remember as you don’t want him to run away in a strange place.