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Chances are that your dog loves the great outdoors just as much as you do, so why not bring your pet along on your next camping trip? Take your dog’s walk to the next level by introducing your furry friend to new sights, sounds and smells.
Here are some tips to make camping with your pet a fun and safe experience.
Prepare for a pet-friendly trip
- Check that your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. Consider vaccinations for Lyme disease and bordetella – talk to your vet for more information.
- If your dog is not used to travelling in your car or RV, take it for a short test ride and see how it reacts.
- Is your dog in good health? The stress of travelling can be too much for older dogs or dogs with chronic diseases. Talk to your vet if you’re in doubt.
- Does the campground you’re headed to allow pets? If yes, what are the rules regarding pets?
- If the campground requires your dog to be on a leash at all times, is there a nearby off-leash area where you can let your dog roam free? Note that you must keep your dog leashed while in Alberta provincial parks.
On the road
- Make the trip to the campground an enjoyable experience for everyone. Make frequent stops for you dog to get a drink of water, bathroom break and a bit of exercise.
- Bring a travelling crate or a pet seat belt.
- Bring some of your dog’s stuff from home, such as a dog bed, blanket or toys to make the trip more comfortable.
- Have plenty of water on hand to keep your dog hydrated.
What to pack
- Your dog’s health records, your vet’s phone number, medicine and a copy of any prescriptions
- ID tag for your dog
- Flea/tick repellent or collar
- Leash, tie-outs and stake
- Nightlight for your dog’s collar
- Food and water bowl
- Dog bed
- Your dog’s favourite toys
- Extra towel
- Carpet cleaner, floor cleaner and paper towel in case of any accidents
- Your dog’s food and some treats
Safety tips for pet camping
Consider putting together a separate first aid kit for your dog, so you have the right tools at hand to treat hurt paws, small burns and insect bites. Click here for tips to get you started on a dog first aid kit.
- Keep your dog at a safe distance of fires.
- Don’t leave your dog outside unattended.
- Keep an eye on your dog to make sure its leash doesn’t get tangled in picnic tables, chairs, trees, etc.
- Dispose of or stow away all dog food and treats (any food items, really) after mealtime to avoid attracting wildlife.
- Be aware of diseases your dog may contract from wildlife, insects or plants, so you can be attentive to your dog’s health.
Pet etiquette on the campground
- Keep your dog leashed to keep it from wandering into your neighbours’ campsite. If your dog needs a bit more freedom, bring a portable exercise pen.
- Pick up after your dog.
- Be respectful to others and wildlife by keeping your dog close to you while on a walk and don’t let it bark excessively.
Remember that dogs are creatures of habit. Although you’re on vacation, try to stick to your dog’s normal routine. Bring dog food and treats from home and take your dog out for a walk when you normally would. Also, give it time to adjust to its new environment and rest. Even dogs can get exhausted from all the camping excitement!