With cool weather quickly coming, many people decide to hit the great outdoors. If you are planning on bringing your dog with you, here is what to expect when camping with your dog this fall.
Check Campground and Trail Regulations Before You Arrive
Depending on where you go camping, you might not be allowed to bring your dog. Each campsite has its own rules and regulations about pets. So just make sure you read through your campsite’s regulations regarding pets before bringing any. Some sites might allow pets but require that they be on leash. Other campsites may allow pets to walk freely as long as they’re under supervision. Just remember that not everyone is comfortable with a dog freely walking around. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep your dog leashed at all times. Either way, looking at their regulations beforehand is a good way to make sure there are no surprises once you arrive.
Make Sure You Have What’s Necessary to Stay Warm
You pack your own clothes to stay warm; you should do the same for your dog. While you might not be putting snow pants on your pup, you should make sure they will be comfortable during the day and night. Check the local weather before you leave and be sure to pack what your dog will need to stay comfortable. If it’s going to rain, bring an extra tarp to set up an extra shelter to let your dog stretch out. If it’s going to be very cold, be sure you bring a dog sweater or jacket and even some booties to protect their paws.
You should also consider how hearty your dog is when preparing to stay warm. Large or giant breeds will obviously be better equipped against the cold based purely on their size. Other breeds that come from cold climates may have a coat that is prepared to keep them warm even on the coldest of nights. Short-haired or small dogs are going to have a much harder time regulating their body heat. It can get very chilly if you are not prepared. Bring extra blankets so your dog can snuggle up and keep warm. You might even consider bringing a portable heater if you are worried about the comfort of you and your dog.
Use a Larger Tent so You & Your Dog Have Lots of Room to Rest
While you are camping, your tent will be home base. If bad weather comes in, your tent is where you will be waiting for it to clear. The last thing you are going to want is for your wet dog to trounce all over your gear. For this reason, you should consider bringing a larger tent than what you might otherwise need. The extra room to stretch out will be welcome if you are stuck inside for the evening.
Another consideration should be the arrangement of your tent. Some tents have multiple rooms or multiple doors. While this might seem unnecessary, it can be a nice convenience when you’re stuck in your tent for an extended time.
Bring Plenty of Warm, Enticing Food
One of the most important supplies to pack is food and water. You want to make sure you have enough water for you and your dog to drink. Your food and drink are also great opportunities to warm yourself up from the inside out. Make yourself plenty of hot drinks to keep yourself warm. You might not want to pour your dog a cup of coffee or tea, but you can add a small amount of hot water to your dog’s dry food to help them warm up too. If you brought canned food for your dog, you can heat that up or even offer some of your hot food to keep them warm. Just make sure it’s not too hot for your dog to eat.
Pest Control is a Necessity!
Getting back to nature can be calming. But the one thing that ruins the calm is being attacked by bugs. A good bug spray or other bug deterrents will make your time outdoors much more enjoyable. The same goes for your dog too. Dogs are even more susceptible to bugs because they have more places for bugs to hide. This is why flea and tick prevention are necessary when camping. You should consider using a flea and tick collar or topical ointment to keep your dog safe from these pests.
Be Prepared for Unexpected Weather
When camping with your dog this fall, you obviously need to be prepared for the cold. What about unpredictable weather though? Rain or snow can easily come in to ruin your good time. Not only that, heat can come in and throw a wrench into your plans as well. If you only prepared for cold weather, you might not be ready for unseasonably warm weather.
To prepare for heat, be sure to bring a change of clothes for yourself to keep you cool. You should also be prepared to keep your dog cool. Plenty of water will help.
Lastly, Know Where to Get Help
Even when you prepare for everything you can think of, sometimes things you didn’t think of happen. If your dog becomes ill or injured you need to know where the closest vet or pet hospital is. It’s best to bring your dog’s records with you and just leave them in the glovebox in case you need them. You should also bring the address and phone number for the local vet. A map might be a good idea as well since you might not be able to rely on phone reception.
You should also consider packing a first aid kit of sorts for your dog. The US Forest Service recommends to keep these items for your dog’s first aid kit:
- A bandana for a makeshift muzzle
- Tweezers for removing ticks
- Emergency blanket
- A folding multitool
- Booties to protect their feet
- Information for the nearest vet
Camping with your dog can be a rewarding and fun experience. A little planning beforehand can really make the difference between disappointment and fun times with your canine companion.