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Nine Tips about Camping with a Dog

by - March 16, 2018

Are you a new dog owner and excited to hit the trails and campgrounds? Or maybe you've had a pup for awhile, but haven't had the courage to venture out into the wilderness with them yet? Understandable. Camping with your furry friend can bring along some hounding worries, but if you remember the basics, you're bound to have a pawfect camping trip in the great outdoors! 

1. Plan ahead

          Read up on the campsite and trails to ensure dog-friendliness. You'll be surprised how many national parks do not allow dogs on their trails -_-  Fortunately though, most state parks and national forests are extremely dog friendly! So just make sure to plan a little bit before hitting the road.

Here's a short list of the National Parks that would love to see your furry friend:
  1. Acadia --- Coast of Maine:  if you can make it up here, it's a dog's dream!
  2. Cuyahoga Valley ---  Northern Ohio
  3. Congaree National Park --- South Carolina:  free park to explore with your furry friend, lots of great trails
  4. Grand Canyon --- Arizona:  dogs only allowed above rim of canyon and cannot hike down into the canyon, although a kennel service is offered near the South Rim Trail
  5. Mammoth Cave --- Kentucky:  pets are not allowed in the caves,  but can hike on the above-ground trails available
  6. North Cascades --- Washington State:  dogs allowed on some parts of the Pacific Crest Trail
  7. Shenandoah --- Virginia:  480 miles of dog-friendly trails and campgrounds for your pup! 
  8. Yosemite --- California: unfortunately dogs are only allowed on the Wawona Meadow Loop trail and some campgrounds 


2. Gear up!

          You'll be packing for two, now! Depending on the season, your pup will have different needs, but here are some of the essentials as well as some of the fun things Kiba likes to bring on our trips ♡

Essentials: check cord for campsite (recommend 15" or 20" -- can always shorten), water-resistant leash, designated UL water bottle, collapsible bowl(s), lightweight food, more treats and water than you'll think you'll need, doggie pack, tweezers (for ticks, thorns, etc), first aid kit, health history/updated vaccinations list

Extras: bandana (for style, obvi), puppy sleeping bag and pad if they're spoiled, extra blankets, towels, more treats, harness, GPS tracking collar (especially important if your pup is an escape artist!), whistle

*Also note* camping requires more calories for both you and your furry friend, so make sure to pack more food than normal! Kiba is also an anxious eater and doesn't eat his kibble as regularly when we travel, so I pack fancy powerbar meals (his favorite) and more treats to make sure he's still getting enough energy

3. Keep up the 'leave no trace' mentality for your pooch

          This is especially important for dog food and doo-doo! You won't want to attract any unwelcome creatures, like bears, foxes, wolves, oh my!

4. The journey: mark the map for dog parks along the way!

          Depending how long your journey will be, ensure to take plenty of rest stops and if possible make some stops at dog parks along the way!  Kiba always needs the breaks to stretch his legs, drink water and get a little jog in -- and  *bonus*  it helps him maintain his cool, calm and collected attitude during the car ride

5. Give your pup a tour of the campground

          If your dog is a dog, then they'll want to sniff up the whole campground. It's good to let them know where they can roam and also make sure they know the boundaries of your own campground. When starting a fire, make sure to teach them early on the fire pit is off limits. Kiba loves to search for food remnants near the fire ring, so we had to train him early on to be more careful (here's where the extra treats come in handy!). Alternatively, you can also tie their check cord/leash far enough away so they cannot reach the fire pit/cooking area, but Kiba sometimes feels excluded (re: whines and whimpers) if he can't sit around the fire with me.


6. Keep an eye on your pup at all times

          Over the years, I've learned that Kiba is a fox-magnet. Literally. The first encounter happened when we were staying at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park in Canada late June one year. I had my back turned as I was setting up the tent, still daylight, and turned around to witness a stare-down between Kiba and a red fox about 15 feet away (even though the campsite was full and there were people walking everywhere). The fox ran away when I started walking toward it, but who knows what could have gone down. Maybe they would have been great friends! Anywho, make sure you're looking out for wildlife around your pup because anything can happen

7. Tent for Two

          I've never let Kiba sleep outside of our tent and I'd never advise anyone to risk it. Besides the danger of wildlife, it gets cold at night! I know, I know, huskies are tough and all, but Kiba is domesticated and honestly a bit spoiled. I always bring extra blankets for him to sleep on and he curls up at my feet to help keep me warm too! It's a win-win

8. Rain or shine, fun don't stop

          Always prepare for rain! Make sure your leash is water-resistant/proof. Kiba and I made his leash out of climbing rope, which is the most durable thing around! **Also, always bring extra towels**


9.  Be prepared for the worst case scenario.

          Consider looking into those high-tech GPS tracking collars if your pup is an escape artist. I personally don't have one, but I go to the ends of the earth to make sure Kiba is safely hooked to my hip (literally made a leash that goes around my waist for hiking). Also ensure you have a puppy first aid kit, check where the nearest vet is, bring his ID info, vaccinations list and health history. Lastly, make sure your contact information is attached somewhere to your pup in case the worst happens!

Hope you enjoyed our camping tips and feel free to ask any questions -- we've probably been there :)

Summer '17 | Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, Canada

Kiba loves taking photos | Grand Marais, MN

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