Beforelanning a trip, you need to figure out if your dog can handle “ruffing” it. If Fido is big on barking, he’s best left at home for so that you and other campers can have a peaceful experience. Also, you may think your friendly dog is delightful, but other campers might not welcome him. If your dog tends to wander when left to his own devices, you might want to keep him on leash or attached to a run when not in the tent with you. Next, consider your dog’s physique and capabilities when planning a trip with him, especially one that involves hiking. If he’s a breed that is low to the ground, like a Dachshund, rough terrain is not the best option. Think about the length of his fur and his grooming requirements when deciding whether to take him along. His long, flowing hair may look beautiful with the wind blowing through it, but the time and effort it will take to remove the knots, dirt and insects from it afterwards may not be worth the hassle.
Training is crucial for a camp-ready canine, unless you plan to keep him leashed for the duration of your trip. For advocates of the leash, plan to bring a long rope to securely tie between two trees so your dog can have a “run” while remaining safely in your vicinity. Even for tethered dogs, commands are still important. You want him to drop that porcupine when you tell him to. The basic commands you should teach your pup ahead of your big adventure are “okay” (to release him from the command), “stay,” “come,” “lie down,” and “drop it.” With these under his collar, your doggy should be well behaved enough to give you peace of mind.
Of course, you’ll bring along the usual dog-friendly equipment—bowls for food and water, kibble or canned grub, a collar, a leash, a poop scoop and bags, his favorite sleeping set-up of bed or pillow, a toy, and maybe a crate to ensure his safety if things get really wild. But if your trip includes backpacking, Fido can carry his own weight. Backpacks for canines are designed to strap around a dog’s chest and have pouches on either side to help you cart stuff across the woods. Your pooch should be introduced to the pack and what it will carry over the course of a couple of months. Make the process gradual, with just one can or day’s worth of bagged kibble at first. Build up to about a week’s worth by the time you hit the trail. He will feel important and happy to contribute to the cause.
When packing for a camping trip with your furry friend, take whatever you will need and “doggify” it for your pooch. Maybe you’d like to bring something special for him to enjoy while you’re roasting wienies and marshmallows over the campfire. Perhaps she would appreciate some rubber-soled canine booties for hitting the trail without the consequences of sharp rocks. Extra towels in case of rainy days are a must, as is shampoo to clean up after a romp in the mud. Citronella torches or candles are handy to keep your area mosquito-free, and DIY herbal and safe repellant recipes for dogs (and people) can easily be found on the Internet prior to the trip. Last but not least, consider the tick and flea potential of your destination of choice, and bring along effective repellants as well as a magnifying glass and sharp tweezers to remove any offenders.