Dogs make pretty good camping partners. They enjoy time outside with their human parents and they are relatively low maintenance. Their powerful sense of smell and hearing can also warn solo campers about animal intruders and dangers. Dogs are also highly accommodating. They are usually more than happy to snuggle up right beside you in a tiny tent and walk miles without complaint.
However, when gearing up to go camping with your dog, it’s critical you pack the right gear. Following are a few things without which your camping trip with your dog can end up being a disaster.
1. Biodegradable Dog Poop Bag: When you go camping, it’s your responsibility to leave the campground exactly how you found it. That means no covering up dog poop with dirt. It’s best to carry along enough dog poop bags to last you the entire trip. Make sure to dispose the bags at proper waste bins.
2. Short Leash: You need a short leash when you’re walking your dog in places where there are other people and pets. It also makes sense to keep your dog on a short leash when hiking near cliffs.
3. Retractable Dog Leash: When you want to give your dog a little bit more freedom, the retractable dog leash works best. These are best when hiking in open spaces. Retractable leashes also come with comfortable grip handles, which gives your arms a welcome break when hiking with your dog for long hours.
4. Super Comfortable Harness: Normal dog collars can strain your dog’s neck area during long walks. This is why it’s always recommended to buy a comfortable harness when going camping with dogs. Make sure the harness has padded inners to properly cushion the constant yanks and pulls.
5. Tether/Tie-Out: When you are setting up your camp or doing something that requires both hands you need to secure your dog. Dog tethers come in really handy in these situations. They also work well in keeping your dog from wandering off into your neighbors camping ground.
6. Dog Sweater: Dog sweaters or cold jackets are essential especially if you are a parent to a short-haired dog. If you are seasoned camper you already know that even a warm sunny day can be followed by an uncomfortably chilly night. Sweaters act as extra layers that keep your dog toasty and comfortable.
7. Dog Tag and Microchip: In addition to regular dog tags with your phone number and address, it’s always a good idea to get your pet microchipped. This acts as a backup and ensures your dog makes its way home even if it somehow loses its collar.
8. Dog Hiking Shoes: Dogs do have sturdy paws which are much tougher than bare human feet. While a human would get blisters, in a matter of minutes, walking barefoot on hiking trails, dogs are much more capable of navigating rough terrain. However, doggie paws do get sores and blisters, especially when they are forced to walk for hours. Booties or dog hiking shoes give them the protection they need. Bear in mind, these shoes do need some getting used to. Make sure you introduce the shoes well in advance so that your dog gets enough time to adjust and be comfortable wearing them.
9. Weather Resistant Sleeping Bag: Creating a comfortable space for your dog to relax and sleep is important, especially after an entire day of hiking. Select a comfortable sleeping bag with enough padding. You can place the bag inside the tent at night and leave it outside during the day for your dog to lie down on whenever it wants.
10. Dry Dog Food and Canned Wet Food: It’s never a good idea to bring along dog food that your pet has never had before. Instead, pack in dog food that you know for a fact doesn’t cause stomach upset. Now, dogs do tend to become picky eaters when they are anxious and in an unfamiliar territory. Therefore, it’s best to pack in some flavorsome wet food along with dry food. This should encourage them to gobble up their daily meals when out in the wilderness.
11. Extra Dog Food and Snacks: It’s always a good idea to pack in more food and snacks than you need. These come in handy if your return home is delayed or if you just want to soak in all that green for one extra day. It would be a shame to return home just because you didn’t carry enough food and water for your dogs.
12. A Familiar Dog Toy: Some dogs get anxious when they are outside, especially if it’s their first time going on a camping trip. A familiar toy helps them to calm down. Allow them to chew their stress away and take it out on a chew toy.
13. Flexible Food and Water Bowl: Wide-bottom foldable bowls are perfect for camping trips as they remain stable on uneven grounds. While you can buy metal or plastic bowls, flexible ones are much more suited for camping. These foldable bowls have holes, so they can be hung from carabiners. They can also be folded flat, which makes them travel-friendly.
14. Emergency First Aid Kit: Even a small emergency medical kit has the potential to save your dog’s life when out in the wild. Include pet meds like dog painkillers, vet wraps, soothing foot balm, eye drop, styptic powder or pencil, and an assortment of bandages. It’s also important to pack the medical supplies inside a sturdy waterproof bag.
15. Dog Backpack: If your dog is fit and strong, it can easily carry around 10 percent of its body weight. Dog backpacks are great because they help your dog do its part by carrying some of the load. Much like human backpacks, it makes sense to buy waterproof dog backpacks.
16. Dog Muzzle: No loving pet owner wants to muzzle their dogs. However, when near other dogs and humans, it sometimes becomes a necessity. Carry along a flexible nylon muzzle for these moments.
17. Water Purifying Tablets: Sometimes even the most seemingly-pristine natural water sources contain deadly pathogens. Therefore, it’s recommended to bring along water purifying tablets when going camping with dogs. This ensures you can purify water collected from lakes, ponds, and rivers. While your hydration bladder should be the primary source for water for you and your dog, these tablets come in handy if you are running dry.