By. Aurora James

Traveling is fun and exciting, but hitting the road with your four-legged companion adds a different kind of fun the two of you are sure to enjoy. Camping offers the perfect opportunity for you and your pet to team up, explore, and take in all the sights and smells. Before you pack up, check out these tips to help you have a safe canine camping experience.

Visit your vet. If you’ve never traveled with your dog, you’ll need to ensure that he’s in tip top shape for the adventure. In addition to a physical exam, your vet will check his vaccination records and advise you on appropriate activities if Fido is either very young or very old. While you’re on your trip, check him once daily for ticks, animal bites, and hidden injuries.

Watch for heatstroke. Statistics are sketchy at best, but PETA claims that heat-related canine deaths happen, and they happen often. When you’re traveling, you might be tempted to leave Spot sitting tight in the car while you stock up on supplies. Keep in mind that temps inside your vehicle will rise rapidly, regardless of outdoor ambiance. Never leave your dog unattended, especially when the weather is very hot or very cold. Signs of heatstroke include pale or red gums, listlessness, syrupy saliva, and rapid panting.

Know potential dangers. Camping is a wonderful year-round activity, but one that, when done with dogs, requires a little extra care in the preparations department. Call your preferred campground to get permission for your dog to join you. Ask about local wildlife and other possible hazards.

Pack a bag for your dog. You wouldn’t walk out the door sans your essentials; don’t skip your pup’s personal effects. Bring along food and water (and the bowls to go with them), comfortable bedding, waste retrieval bags, treats, and a leash. The American Veterinary Association’s reports that a well-stocked pet first aid kit will help you tackle most medical emergencies so grab that, too.

Additional Resources:

Health:

How do I keep my dog safe while camping?

What if my dog sustains an injury on our trip?

How do I check for ticks on my pet?

Heatstroke and my pup: what do I need to know?

Preparation:

How do I locate dog-friendly campsites?

What are the potential camping-related dangers for my dog?

Gear:

What packing checklist should I follow?

What should I put in my dog’s first aid kit?

Is a collar or harness best for my dog during our camping trip?

Now that you have officially contracted the travel bug, it’s time to start planning your next trip. The biggest difference is this time Fido gets to tag along for a camping experience you won’t soon forget.

About the Author

Aurora believes there are no bad dogs. She created DogEtiquette to share her dog training tips and advice to dog owners everywhere.

Nina Thomas

Travel lover and writer

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