10 Essential Items for Camping with Your Dog
Camping with your dog this summer? It can be one of the most rewarding, fun experiences ever. The bonding and things you both learn while together are priceless. Make sure nothing interferes with your trip by having several essentials items on hand to ensure a smooth experience, whether you've hiked in forests or just your backyard!
1. First Aid Kit
You've got your first aid kit on hand, but what about your dog? Band-aids, rubbing alcohol, aspirins and other human first aid kit items do not work the same for pets, and can delay healing, cause skin issues, or cause internal damage if licked or eaten. You will definitely want to carry something for your pets, because scratches, cuts or vomiting can occur. Get a pre-filled first aid kit or check this list below for some basic first aid items to include in your pup's backpack.
- Tweezers. Definitely helps if you find any ticks or other foreign items on your pet.
- Non-latex disposable gloves
- First Aid Tape
- Antiseptic wipes or spray. Much better than alcohol or hydrogen peroxide (unless watered down).
- Bandages: Adhesive, Elastic and/or Reusable Cloth
- Blunt Tip Scissors. A pet in distress can move suddenly to relieve pain, you do not want sharp ones.
- Gauze Pads and/or rolls of various sizes
- Instant Cold Pack
- Wooden Tongue Depressor
- Saline Solution
- Petroleum Jelly. You can use this to keep your dog's feet protected and moisturized, as well as for Rectal Thermometer usage.
- Emergency Blanket
- Ear-cleaning solution
2. Flea & Tick Preventative
Before even stepping a toe outside of your home in the summer, make sure your dog is protected from fleas, ticks, heart worms, mosquitoes and all the other annoying pests you may encounter outside. Use a preventative drops that can last up to four weeks. Use a Flea and Tick repellant spray or supplement right before you go out hiking.
3. Collapsible Water Bowl
Water is definitely an important part of any distant travel for you and your dog. Some dogs are fine with drinking out of your hand, but a better option is a collapsible water bowl. Kano here on the right, for instance, is not a big fan of splashing water so a convenient collapsible bowl is best for him.
Why should your dog roam light and free while you carry all of his belongings!? Just (partially) kidding, but really, allow your dog to carry around some of his lighter items on his back in his own little backpack. It can free up some room in your own pack, and kinda gives your doggy a little job to do! Some dogs may need to get used to having something on their back, so take some time before your trip to let the dog try it on around the house.
Sometimes while camping or hiking, dogs may walk/run through bushes or trees and get stuck or take something with them from the foliage. Things that get stuck on your dog's fur can be annoying to get out, so in addition to the tweezers in your first aid kit, it would be a smart idea for a comb or a flea comb. A comb can get out fleas, dirt, burrs and other foreign items from your dog's fur. It also helps remove long stray hairs that get stuck to your clothing when you hug them!
6. Weather Wear
The news tries to be right 99% of the time (or less), so that means we still should travel prepared. Rain can suddenly occur during a hike, and the best idea is to make sure your dog is covered too. Keep a light rain coat and some towels on hand for your pup so that they do not end up shivering or sick.
7. A Tent
Did you ever think of where Fido may sleep? Make him comfy and safe by allowing him to chill in his own little waterproof dog tent! Dog tents usually have a fully enclosed floor to prevent pest entry, and UV-resistant, waterproof fabrics to protect your pup from the elements.
8. Collar Tags
It is always important to keep your dog's tags updated, but it is most essential when you are going camping or on a hike. Having the correct contact information helps you find your dog much quicker in case they scurry off (and that can happen even with a well-trained dog!) Have your phone number and even have the microchip information updated. Even better, get a temporary tag that notes what camp you are staying in, your campsite information and emergency numbers to the camp.
9. Different Leashes
Speaking of your pup scurrying off, it is normally best to keep your dog leashed during camping trips. Having a variety of leashes with different lengths will give your do the space he needs and the safety you need. Keep a distance from retractable leashes, they can get caught in bushes or wrapped around trees. Have long leashes for more open areas and short ones for wooded areas and campgrounds.
10. Foot Protection
You pet will definitely enjoy trotting around in the woods, but there can be sharp edges from plants and rocks that can hurt Fido's feet. Invest in little padded dog shoes for tougher terrains and weather and consider a paw wax or vaseline when taking your dog in hotter paved trails.
...11. A Jar of Peanut Butter
This last one isn't a joke, peanut butter is a great idea in many ways. It is a great source of protein, fat and satisfaction. Your dog loves it, you may love it and it will last a long time. If you encounter some difficulties while on your trip (for example run out of food during an emergency) it will help keep up your energy! Just like a can of beans.
And those are the basics! I really hope that you get to go on a hike or camping trip with your dog(s) this summer! Going into the wilderness with a dog is such a great feeling since you are now in a place closer to their more natural habitat. Make sure where you camp or hike is dog friendly (we'll create a list soon) and get yourself a list of rules for the area. Also practice obedience training with your dog in basic commands (especially "Come" or "Come here") before hitting the trail. Know what your dog is capable of doing (maybe not a 5-mile hike for a dog with weight or joint issues) and make sure your dog is actually happy about travelling far from their little home. Keep an eye on the signs that your dog gives you.