How To Prepare Your Dog For A Camping Trip

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Camping is a great way for you and your dog to welcome the fall together. While there can be a lot to keep track of in the woods (or even your backyard), these tips will help you both have a happy, safe time under the stars!

Wildlife aside, fleas, ticks and germy unknowns are harder to avoid outdoors. If your dog isn’t up to date on her vaccinations, or needs to re-up on preventatives, schedule an appointment with your vet before setting out on an adventure.

Before deciding where you’re camping, do some research and be sure dogs are welcome. Whether you’re in an RV, pitching a tent at the beach or cozying up in a cabin near hiking trails, you don’t want to travel all the way there just to find out your travel mate isn’t invited.

Even with a dog-friendly destination, make sure you’re keeping your buddy close any time you’re outside. A trolley dog tie-out has a zipline that allows your dog to move around freely without getting too far away from the fort.

To avoid first-time camping jitters, bring your dog’s favorite toys along for the ride. A snuggle toy is good for calming your dog’s nerves, and a travel bed will help keep them comfy and secure. When you reach your destination, break out a flying disc so both of you can stretch your legs and have some fun.

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You can’t always trust your weather app, so pack a fleece blanket to keep your dog warm in case of unexpected rain or chilly temperatures. A portable pet bed is also a must-bring if your dog is the type to hog space as you sleep!

Never hit the road without a stocked snack kit. Collapsible bowls save space so you can pack more of your dog’s favorite treats. And if your dog is on a fresh-food diet, look for a shelf-stable version for their mealtimes. But keep in mind: Switching up your pet’s food suddenly could result in an upset stomach.

If you go the shelf-stable route, make sure you transition to the new food 10 days prior to your trip, and allow 10 days to transition back to their usual diet afterward.

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The outdoors are distracting! Use a high-value treat for commands and recall to keep your pup focused on you and the trek.

Just because the scenery has changed doesn’t mean your dog’s schedule should. If you don’t already take your pup for long walks or runs, a 5-mile hike may be a bit much. Instead, do a couple laps around the campsite. For food, plan to give your dog meals at the same time you would at home, and bring a good water bottle to keep them drinking normally, too.

Your dog needs to freshen up after a long day of play. Pack a brush, towel and even dog shampoo in case your pup has a little too much fun in the mud.

Between following these tips to make sure you and your dog have the time of your lives, don’t forget to take some pictures together. A light treat is a great motivator to get your dog to stay still for the perfect pose!

Written by Sarah Michel. Sarah is an editor at The Dodo.

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