Last week, we took my boyfriends dog, Zulu, camping with us for the first time. We spent the weekend in a beautiful cabin in Hocking Hills. While we thought we were prepared for everything, I quickly realized we’re NEVER prepared for anything unless we’ve done it before. So here’s a list of everything I WISH I knew before camping with dogs:
1) Shots – Make sure your dog is up to date on their rabies vaccines, flea and tick treatments, etc. Especially if you are going camping in the Spring or Summer! And always, always check their fur when you get home. Ticks can carry tons of diseases, and can make your dog VERY sick, and they do a great job of hiding under fur.
2) Tags – Of course, always have dog tags with your phone number on them. Just in case your pup runs off somehow.
3) Harness – There are a million reasons for your dog to wear a harness. You will have better control of your dog, especially if you have a large dog. It’s also harder for a dog to get out of a harness, than a collar. They won’t choke themselves if they pull too hard. And it’s less likely for your dog to get tangled up in something.
4) Long leash – I wish we had brought a longer leash with us. We brought a six foot leather leash with us, which is great for walking her, because it’s strong and we have good control over her. But throughout the trip when we were having a camp fire, or in the hot tub and wanted to secure her leash to something, she only had about a 4 ft. radius to roam. She seemed content, but I’m sure she would have enjoyed it more if she could have roamed a bit more.
5) Prepare for bath time – Your dog WILL get muddy. You WILL need to give them a bath. Dogs get overwhelmed by all the new smells when camping, and they can’t help but to roll around in them. Take a wet wash cloth to them so they don’t get everything you own dirty. Then give them a proper bath when you get home.
6) Bottled water – Depending on where you’re camping, the tap water might not be safe for dogs. So bring some bottled water, or water jugs with you.
7) Never leave them alone – Your dog will be overstimulated with all the new smells and new surroundings. Don’t let your doggie wander off. They may not know that that skunk doesn’t want to play.
8) Bring a Flashlight – Obviously, you will have to take your dog out at night, and it will be pitch black when you do. Beware of possums, raccoons, skunks, even owls and bats. So, make sure to bring a flashlight with you.
9) Do your research, and practice the “drop it” command – Did you know acorns are dangerous for dogs? I didn’t! Watch out for anything that could be dangerous to your pup. My parents dogs will pick up anything. Cicadas, dead birds, literally whatever they find. Practice the “drop it” command with them a few times before your trip. Have treats on hand to reward them!