So you’re planning to bring your furry ball along on an overnight camping adventure? There’s nothing like bonding with your best friend out there in the wild with no distractions and even more time for each other.
For all the right reasons, it is the best decision you’ll make. But this can become a nightmare if you’re not prepared for it.
Humans can understand instructions. But with pet dogs, there might be a communication breakdown that can easily get things out of hands.
So before you embark on your life changing adventure with your canine mate, here are 7 tips you must follow to prepare your dog for its first overnight camping adventure.
1. Mock Test and Training
A pet dog who has known home and surrounding areas all its life, will not appreciate wilderness suddenly. Your canine is accustomed to sleeping in its bed and any change of routine might backfire.
The newfound freedom for your canine can drive it nuts. They might find it oh-so-interesting to chase just about anything, even a fallen leaf. The sights and sounds of nature are distracting for sure, which might take your pet’s attention off what you have to say.
And even if this isn’t the case, getting your dog accustomed to the “tent life” can be a challenge. What if it instead wants to tear it down?
Experts agree you should introduce your canine friend to the concept of camping first in your backyard. A disgruntled pet will be much easier to handle when they’re a few steps from home as compared to out in the woods.
Also, refresh your pet’s response to keywords like “Leave it”, “Stop”, “Come”, “Down”, and “Okay”. Your fellow campers might not appreciate the intrusion of your pet on their territory even if your canine does it in goodwill. You want your buddy to stay by your side and follow your orders when you give them out.
Also, a dog who likes barking in the wee hours of the night probably doesn’t make a good companion, especially for fellow travelers who have no attachment to your buddy. Sound travels, often miles as well. Figure out a way around it too if your pet is prone to barking.
2. Shortlist Pet-Friendly Campsites
Not all campsites admit dogs. Some would do so only if they’re leashed. And then there are a few that would let your pet run free as long as it exhibits a prompt response to your keywords. You want to find a place that suits your requirements, whatever they may be.
There’s nothing like taking a several hours’ long trip to your preferred site only to find they don’t allow dogs inside. No, there’s no way around campsite rules. Research well in advance so you’re not disappointed. The good news is that you can find pet-friendly campsites across the U.S. including Houston, and Miami.
3. Tag. Tag. Tag.
Your pet should be tagged for identity, medical history, and emergency contact information. And these should be added to the collar in a way that makes it impossible for your pet to lose it. Microchips can prove quite a life saver.
Out in the wild, dogs may end up being unpredictable no matter how well-trained they are. So if yours chases a squirrel to an unknown land and gets found by a lucky stranger, you can at least be assured they’ll be able to find you and return your most prized companion.
4. First Aid Kit
It’s just not you but your furry friend might also need first aid administered while camping if they get themselves into a sticky situation. The only difference is their first aid kit is a little different. Here’s what you should pack for your pet’s first aid requirements.
- A cloth that works as a muzzle. A purpose-built muzzle is preferred. A cloth, however, works multi-purpose.
- Tick removal system (mineral oil and tweezers).
- Space blanket in case the canine gets cold.
- A set of pliers to pull out thorns, spikes or any other unfavorable pricks.
- Paw covers for use if your pet somehow injures its pretty paws.
- The name, contact number, and address of the nearest veterinarian to the campsite.
You don’t want to put your pet at a health risk while on the road. Do all that is in your control to keep them happy and healthy.
5. Pet Gear
Yes, besides your must-have camping gear, you’ll need pet gear too. Unless you prefer putting all the burden on your shoulders, you can invest in a dog’s hiking backpack and have your furry friend carry their load (if they’re not one of the fragile breeds).
You must carry their food bowls, their favorite foods (unless they can survive off their own hunted species), and water. A portable water filtration system means you have access to clean water for yourself and your canine friend. If you’re not carrying this, you must carry drinking water equaling the same amount as you’d typically use over the period of your camping trip.
Don’t forget to add a few familiar toys to their backpack. You’ll also need layers (sleeping pods) for your pet to find their comfortable spot at night. A reflective leash with a clip-on flashlight is also a good idea. Your fellow campers will know you have company even at a distance.
6. Stick to Their Routine
There’s a high probability your canine friend follows a strict routine at home. They have a fixed time to get to bed, a time to get up, a time to munch and a time to poop. While you’re driving to the campsite or when you’re already there, appreciate your dog’s routine and stick to it. The less troubled they feel, the less likely they are to react unnecessarily.
7. Poop Fix
Don’t forget to throw in a couple of poop bags for your pet’s nature calls. Most campsites won’t appreciate you leaving your dog’s remains behind. Remember to scoop them up and dispose them off properly when you leave. Keep it nice and clean for the next visitor. It takes just one to start the ruins.
If you’re taking care of all these, you’ll have fewer chances of a mishap. You can never truly eliminate it – after all, your canine friend has a brain of its own. The least you can do is put in all the right preventive measures so your buddy feels less obliged to jump into trouble.
Your companion of years won’t be quite a handful if they know what’s expected and what’s not. And once they’ve tasted the bliss of overnight camping with their favorite person, your duo will become invincible! More power to you!
Judy Robinson is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger. She loves to write on healthy lifestyle, fitness 101 and DIY related topics. Follow @judyrobinson for more updates.