One of the best parts of camping is bringing your canine with you. Dogs are not just pets; they are a part of the family and, when hiking down a picturesque road, if you don’t have your best friend on four legs along, you might feel something is missing.
It could be the smile, the wagging tail, whatever it is, you know that when you hit a nature trail, you want to take your dogs along. For that reason, here’s a list of tips and tricks that will make car camping with your dog go smoothly.
Check your car
Having a safe ride is the most important thing for you and your passengers. The first step is to have your car looked at. Make sure the tires are in good condition, and the battery is working well. A car battery typically lasts a few years, so it would be best to spring for a decent battery if you are feeling any doubt.
Bring the necessities
Just as you would prepare for all the things you need to make your time in the car and the campsite comfortable, you should be getting bags and things together for your dog, or dogs, as well. The best way to do this is to take your mind through one day of your dog’s needs.
This is obvious, but there are several ways to approach this. You can grab the big bag of dry food you have sitting on the back porch, or you can plan out your dog’s meals just like you would your own. Sure, you’ll be getting food on the road for the humans on the trip. So it will take much more to plan your dogs to make sure you have enough.
If you have the means and space, bring extra kibble just in case. But remember, you will be in a car, so you can always find a store if you are camping near some developed areas.
While seemingly obvious, water is one of the most important items you will need not only for your pet but for you as well. If you know the campsite well and are positive there is access to fresh water, then don’t worry. But if you have any doubt, be sure to find the least expensive method while remaining environmentally safe.
You could get a liquid water cooler and fill it with tap water. This would be easy to refill at most places.
The water won’t do any good if your dog doesn’t have anything to drink it out of. There are simple ways to solve that problem in a pinch but, since it’s a trip, you could plan and bring your pet’s favorite bowls or get a pair of the collapsible ones to save space in your car.
Of course, any bowl will do, but one for food and another for water is important, so add it to the list.
Does your dog have a favorite toy? If so, it might be a good idea to bring it along. If you have space, bring several. Although your dog might snooze on the sofa all day, sitting in the car for long stretches could be exciting and anxiety-inducing, so having distractions is never a bad idea.
Speaking of anxiety, sometimes dogs get nervous when you put them in the car. Some dogs grow anxious at new things, and it’s important to make sure the ride is as stress-free as possible for your furry friend.
There are several methods, besides toys, that can help your dog relax while riding in the car. CBD supplements, soothing music, and your voice speaking calmly are a few ways to bring your dog’s nerves down. Another great way to calm your dog down if the ride makes them anxious is to pull over at a rest stop and stretch everyone’s legs. A walk does wonders for relaxation.
Whether the plan is to sleep in the car, in a tent, or under the stars, camping nights can get cold, and while the dog is there for snuggling and helping you keep warm, it’s only fair that your furry friend gets some extra layers just like you have. Grab a couple of extra blankets and treat your pet to a nice fleece coat.
Be prepared for the worst
Dogs get lost. People get lost. The best way to prevent any issues with your pet is to take all the necessary precautions to ensure they are safe. Here is a quick checklist of ways to keep your dog safe.
This is a crucial thing not to leave behind if your dog takes medications regularly. Or, maybe your trip will coincide with the monthly heartworm pill you give your pet. Make sure to plan and bring that with you.
Take a good photo
This is a step that is probably already taken care of since most dog owners can’t stop taking pictures of their dogs. But make sure you have a good recent snapshot of your pet in case she or he runs away, and you need to show the park ranger or local authorities.
Microchip your dog
While you might be concerned that this procedure will hurt your dog but in the long run, putting a microchip in your pet is one of the best things you can do. Not only will your dog be easier to find if she ever gets lost it can also help someone who finds her identify you.
Besides the allergies that your dog might be bringing with him, you need to be aware of allergies that can come up on the road. Like poison ivy or dangerous foods, they might find on the ground. Just as it is when you are walking your dog, it is important to be aware of your surroundings when traveling with your pet.
Plan ahead for successful car camping with your dog
Bringing your dog with you on your car camping trip is the same as bringing another human. The extra work and luggage will be well worth it when you see the look on your friend’s face when you get to your destination. Happy and safe travels to you and your pet!