Written by Timothy Martinez Jr.
Dogs love being outside and going for walks so taking them camping is a natural transition. However, there are a few things you should know before taking your dog into the wilderness.

Since many people see their dogs as their best friends, it’s no surprise that many love taking their dogs on camping trips. Enjoying the outdoor sights and sounds is a great way to bond with your pet, but before taking your dog camping, you should know a few things to make your trip smooth and safe.

Prepare your dog for the trip

Before taking your dog camping, you should do a few preliminary things. First, consider taking them to the vet for a pre-travel visit to make sure all their shots and vaccinations are up to date. There are a lot of potential dangers for dogs while camping. By educating yourself on some of the risks like Lyme disease, which is commonly contracted from ticks, you will be able to detect any problems. Also, before going in the wilderness, ensure your dog has a collar with your updated contact information in case you get separated.

Start with some day trips

Presumably, you know how your dog will react to certain activities, whether it’s getting into a car or going for a walk. Acquaint your dog with these new experiences to reduce their stress by taking rides in the car and going on hiking trips. You might also want to set up a tent one day and have you and the your dog sit in it for a while. You’ll want to do this for a few weeks before you actually embark on an overnight camping trip.

When camping always have your dog leashed

When your dog is finally ready to go camping, the number one rule you should remember is to always keep your dog on a leash. Having the dog leashed will ensure you have control over its actions. There are numerous risks and threats in the woods, such as wild animals, slippery rocks and poison ivy. You might also encounter other campers with pets, so if you know your dog will become overly excited or aggressive, you’ll be able to stop them from doing anything dangerous. Also, if you’re staying at the campsite, you should tether your dog to a tree. You don’t have to keep them on a short leash, just make sure they can’t wander freely through the campsite.

Bring bedding for your dog to sleep on

You should never make your dog sleep on the bare ground, because it tends to get cold at night. Instead, bring some sort of bedding like a small air mattress or blanket. Be sure that there’s a buffer between your dog’s bed and the ground because the cold easily moves from the ground upwards.

Bring food, water and toys for your dog

Food and water are necessities for your dog, so you should be safe and bring more food than you think you’ll need. Don’t let them drink from ponds or puddles because the water could be contaminated with bacteria. Bringing toys for your dog doesn’t just keep them entertained, but also act as familiar objects for comfort.

Clean up after your dog

Just like you would when taking your dog for a walk, you should always pick up your dog’s waste. Leaving their waste in campgrounds or even in the woods is potentially harmful to delicate ecosystems because it may contaminate water.

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