Are you thinking about taking your dog along on your next camping trip? Bringing Fido camping can be a lot of fun if you’re properly prepared. If not, it can be a disaster. Here are some tips to make sure your first dog camping trip with your goes smoothly.
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1. Practice in your backyard first
Sleeping in a tent can be a nerve-wracking experience for your dog if they’ve never done it before. They’re used to sleeping inside on a bed in a quiet, familiar place. Before you bring your dog on their first camping trip, it’s smart to familiarize them with your tent. Set it up in your backyard, roll out your sleeping bag, and sleep under the stars with your pup. Okay, maybe that sounds a bit lame. We aren’t 10, I get it. BUT.. if your dog freaks out their first night in a tent, it’ll be a lot easier to handle when home is just steps away than when you’re in the middle of nowhere.
You don’t need a really expensive, fancy tent for your first trip, especially if you’re car camping. There are plenty of functional options that won’t break the bank, like this Coleman Sundome.
2. Get your dog used to the sights and sounds of nature
If you live in the city or most of your outings are in urban settings, the sights and sounds of nature can be really distracting. Getting your dog accustomed to the woods will make sleeping there a whole lot easier for both of you.
3. Make sure your dog has flea/tick protection
If you don’t hang out in nature a whole lot, ticks may not be at the forefront of your mind. Keep them protected from tick-born illnesses while you’re out enjoying your camping adventure. Our go-to is Soresto Flea & Tick Collars.
4. Bring a human/dog first aid kit just in case
Having a successful camping trip is all about being prepared. Hopefully nothing will go wrong and no one will get hurt, but just in case, it’s best to always have a first aid kit handy. I keep a big first aid kit full of human and dog supplies at camp and when we hike, I bring my DIY Dog First Aid Kit.
5. Stick to their schedule
If your dogs are like mine, they know when it’s time to eat in the morning and alert me if I miss dinner time by a whole 5 minutes. Sticking as close to your dog’s regular routine as possible adds a sense of normalcy in an unfamiliar situation.
6. Bring a tie out for downtime around camp
Even if your dog is usually good hanging out off-leash, things can be different at camp. Most campgrounds have rules about keeping your dogs retrained. On top of that, there are squirrels running around and lots of new things to smell (and pee on). To keep your hands free and give your pups a bit of space to move around, consider bringing a tie-out.
7. Temperature Regulation
You may not have heat or A/C, but there are lots of natural ways to manage your dog’s temperature and keep them comfortable. In the summer, this means plenty of water and shade. In cooler temps, this means warmth, be it from blankets, a dog sleeping bag, or a jacket.
8. Give your dog a comfy nap spot
Let’s face it, dogs spend a LOT of time napping. Even super active dogs like mine take a few siestas during the day. Make sure they can do so at camp too by giving them a comfy place to veg out. Outdoor dog beds, cots, and dog sleeping bags are all great options.
9. Make sure you have all the essentials
The first rule of camping is Be Prepared! Make sure you have everything you and your dog need to ensure a fun, relaxing trip. Print out the checklist below to help keep you organized while you pack.
10. HAVE FUN!
The best way to make sure you and your dog enjoy your first camping trip is, well, to enjoy it! Have fun. Keep it light. Don’t expect perfection on the first trip (from you or your dog). I’m pretty sure Murphy’s Law was written with camping in mind, and that’s okay, it makes for great stories later.
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Thanks for reading!