Camping Fourt-Legged Style
Ah those lazy, crazy days of summer. Hot days and warm nights. School is out. Work is in down time and you are ready for some vacation time. With the economy questionable at best, you might want to consider keeping the spending down. If doing so means you get to take along the family’s best friend, how can it be wrong?
While hotels are now more open to pet guests, you might want instead to be adventurous and go camping. National, Provincial and State Parks are wonderful places to spend quality time together. However, you need to consider a few points before you decide you, your family and your dog are compatible around a camp fire.
1 Always check to make sure the park or parks you are visiting allow pets. This will save you lots of trouble
2 Make sure the park allows overnight dogs and not just day visitors.
3 Check the guidelines established for those with dogs. Read them carefully and see what they require. Make sure you and all family members know when dogs are to be on leash, where dogs can and cannot go. Look to see if the park has areas that are off-leash. Is there a doggy beach? And, of course, you must be aware of clean up and noise policies.
4 Some parks have rules specific to that particular park. Check to see if your park has these.
5 Once you understand the rules – follow them. They are in place for the safety and enjoyment of all guests and resident wildlife.
Once you have the park selected and have reserved your camp site, you need to look at other variables. Before you even compile a list of what to bring, you may need to go on a trial camping trip. This is applicable for those whose dogs may not have the outdoor doggy bone. You can camp in the back yard or at a local camping spot. This will prevent you having to return far too early when you discover is simply miserable in a tent.
What To Bring
There are always items you need to bring to ensure your dog’s comfort, security and safety. Consider the following items as essential:
· Dog dishes – there are collapsible ones
· Dog food – enough for the time period and a little more for good measure
· Favourite toy or chewie
· A blanket or two for your dog
· A pest repellent – preferably all-natural. Talk to your Vet or Ask someone knowledgeable at your favourite pet store
· Some form of skunk odour removal is also not a bad idea
· A doggy life jacket may be a good idea for some dogs – Let’s face it. Some dogs simply are not made for water sports. Consider bulldogs and pugs
· A doggy life jacket or other flotation device is also handy if you plan on canoeing or boating.
· Do not forget to compile a doggy first aid kit. This should include:
o Cling gauze
o Any type of pet friendly antibiotic and antiseptic ointment or cream
· Clip the nails. Admittedly this is for your own comfort as well as enjoyment. It particularly applies if your dog is going to sleep on your inflated mattress. The last thing you want to do is have it go flat pierced by a sharp claw.
· An alternative to clipping nails short is to place some sort of foam on the bed or not allow him or her to sleep on it (In some case, you better go with the foam).
Make sure your dog has clear ID tags with name and contact number. Make sure they are firmly attached to the collar or harness your dog wears. This will help if he or she becomes lost – even on site.
Do make sure your dog is happy and enjoys camping as much as you do. If the dog is clearly miserable, after one day and a night, consider packing it all in and returning home. Some paws are simply made for soft, comfy dog beds and couches in snug houses, not camping.