Avid outdoors people swear that a dog can appreciate a spectacular panoramic view as much as a human can. But when bringing your dog along on a camping or backpacking trip you need to make extra plans specifically for your pooch. Some things to think about:
Specifics about hiking and backpacking
Specifics on camping
- Make sure your dog is vaccinated, and that you have proof of rabies vaccination. Get a health check and certificate from your veterinarian. Ask your veterinarian whether your dog should be vaccinated for Lyme disease, which is transmitted by ticks. Also, be sure to ask about effective flea and tick preventives.
- Don't forget an identification tag with your contact information - use your cell number so you can be reached at all times. If this is not possible, then place the name of the park, campground, or "Contact park ranger" on it.
- Consider having your dog microchipped. Identification tags can fall off collars and get lost.
- Just as you would not expect yourself to complete a long hiking trek without conditioning, you must condition your dog, as well. Start a training schedule as you would your own - slowly with a gradual increase in distance.
- Some parks allow dogs on trails, some don't. By the same token, some allow dogs into their campgrounds and public areas, some do not. Call ahead to your intended destination and find out what the rules are before you make plans to bring your dog.
- Remember a first aid kit for yourself and your dog. Additional items for dogs might include tweezers or pliers for removing thorns or porcupine quills, a dog boot in case a paw is injured, adhesive tape, and a disposable razor for shaving fur from around a wound.
- If you intend to drive into the campground and have short day hikes, you can bring more items with you.
- You can also be less strict about conditioning your dog, although we still recommend a health check beforehand.
- Remember that other campers want to enjoy the peace and quiet of an out-of-the-way campground, so leave a persistent barker home with a friend or pet sitter.
- Pack a lightweight camping crate like the Deluxe Soft Crate if you'd prefer not to share your tent.
- Pack unbreakable toys like a ball, a Frisbee, and your pup's favorite soft toy.
- Bring a thick foam pad or your dog's bed if nights will be chilly.
Three Hard Fast Rules of the Trail
- Keep your dog on the trail at all times.
- Make sure your dog is obedience trained in the basics and understands voice commands.
- Never let your pet eliminate on the trail. Should an accident happen, be prepared to
move the mess off of the trail. The most responsible way to deal with your dog's solid waste is the same way you would deal with yours - bury it.