Camping with a Pet Dog – Dos & Don'ts

By Rutuja Bhagwat - October 18, 2018

Just like you require a getaway from an urbane lifestyle and the closed squared homes, your dog needs it even more than you do. The best habitat for a dog is out in the open so it's your duty as its parent to take it out amidst nature. Easy treks can be a good option but if you couple these treks with overnight camping then your dog gets the rest he deserves. 

Camping with a pet dog is not as difficult as you think it is. You only need to be alert and let the dog do its duties. So there are going to be times when it barks at stray dogs and cattle and could be hard to handle but at such times it's you as a parent who needs to hold it and let it bark from afar. I have mentioned a couple of safety measures in the Dos and Don'ts below so you needn't worry. I have tried to compile as many pointers as I remembered and I hope you find these useful. 

Also, when you're taking your dog for camping, take along a person whom your dog obeys the most. You know there is always the number one commander followed by numbers two and three. Just so that your dog obeys, please tag along one of the three commanders. 


CAMPING WITH A PET DOG – DOS

1. Pack photocopies of your dog's documents
Carry photocopies of your pet's documents like its adoption/birth certificate (if any) and a health certificate from its vet stating that the dog is healthy to travel and is vaccinated. If your dog is registered to any major organisation, then carry a photocopy as its proof. Carrying these photocopies just ensures you can safeguard your dog if any legal issue arises. Also, you can show it to the police if needed. 

2. Carry a lot of food and water for your dog. Don't forget its treats & chews!
Pack the usual portions of food for your dog. However, it is recommended to carry drier items than the wet ones. If your dog loves its packed dog food, you can carry it. Chicken pieces are a good bet too! Just ensure they don't turn stale. Also, carry separate water for your dog. For instance, if you know your group requires 10 litres of water, pack a few litres more for your dog! And, don't forget to pack its favourite snacks if it disobeys or behaves like a good dog.

3. Carry dog leash
Of course, you would carry a dog leash. The tip here is to carry two types of leashes if possible. We need a longer one just in case we want to tie our dog to a pole for the time being and a shorter one while we're trekking towards the campsite. If you don't have a long leash, just carry two shorter ones and tie them together to make a long leash.

4. Choose a familiar campsite
If it's your first time camping with your pet then choose a campsite you're familiar with, especially if it's a weaker group. If the group is large, you can explore new campsites. But you should at least do a thorough research beforehand. It's better if there's a hut nearby as you can order milk, buttermilk, rice, chicken, etc. from the hut dwellers for your dog!

5. Pack a couple of rag clothes
You already know it by now; if you're with your dog, you're surely going to need rag clothes! 

6. Keep a stick or stones to shoo other dogs away (don't throw stick/stones on the dogs)
You must have a defence tool in case of stray dogs or wild animals approach. A stick is a good option or else you can act as if you're throwing a stone to shoo away animals. Also, pack a meat knife for extreme cases.

7. Ensure the dog's potty and urinal needs are fulfilled before you take it inside the tent
Ahan! Your tent is your home when you're out camping and making it dirty is the last thing you want. Make sure your dog has pooped and peed before you take it in for sleep. Or if it doesn't poop/pee, just stay alert. Hoping that your dog is potty trained and barks whenever it wishes to go out.

8. Hold your dog when stray animals are around (cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep, dogs, etc)
You'll often meet other animals when you're in the mountains or by a lakeshore. And, your dog might start barking as soon as it senses animals. If those animals are near your dog, it is best to hold your dog with its leash. At this time, ensure to grab an object for safety.

9. Pack your dog's blanket
If it's winter or if you know it would get cold, pack your dog's blanket too. It's going to feel as cold as you and it's gonna cuddle next to you to borrow some warmth from your body. 

10. Consult a vet if your dog was recently sick or is still keeping a little unwell
This holds true especially if there's a long trek involved. Dogs tend to eat insects, grass, and just whatever they see while they're in nature. So for precautionary measures, visit a vet and ask his/her opinions on the same.


CAMPING WITH A PET DOG – DON'TS

1. Do not let your dog loose unless you're sure, especially on narrow paths and steep valleys
Most dogs are smart and then there are a few dogs that are street smart. They know how to survive in wild because they've been on such terrains before or this knowledge has been passed to them through genes. However, a few dogs are simply pampered and because of their overweight or inactiveness, they might not have the exact precision. Do not let your dog's leash loose unless you trust its abilities. Dogs are better on such terrains than we humans are but we don't want to take risks. It's advisable to hold its leash on narrow paths with steep valleys initially. Once your dog understands the route, it is okay to leave it. However, always stay alert!

2. Avoid light colour clothes
You don't necessarily need to wear older clothes when taking your dog on a walk but when you're taking it for camping, make sure you wear darker clothes because you would be in a car with your dog and its legs (and if it swims in a mud pool, then its body) are full of mud and they might ruin your lighter clothes. So try avoiding lighter shade and opt for blacks, navy blues, and greys.

3. Do not trek under the afternoon sun; leave early morning
Try to avoid trekking between 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm as the sun's heat is strongest at that time. Your dog's natural instincts are activated when it's on a trek so it's going to take multiple rounds and check if all of you are following. It would check on the first and the last person to ensure its squad is safe. When it does that, it exerts a lot of energy and continuously pants and has a heavy and repetitive breathing pattern. During such times, feed it some water and take multiple breaks under the shades. I recommend you to start for the campsite/home early morning or after the sun sets to avoid these hot hours.

4. Do not take off your dog's collar
Keep your dog's collar on until you reach home because that's how people would recognise it's a pet and you can use it for identification purposes too. If the collar has a name tag then that's even more brilliant. 

So, are you ready to take your dog out camping?

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