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First time camping with your dog? This is what you need.
The mountains are calling, and you must go… with your dog! If you’re getting ready for your first (or hundredth) outdoor, overnight excursion with your pup, Off-Leash K9 is here to help provide our best tips for your best time. Read on to see our two-pronged strategy for camping with your dog: game planning and supplies.
First things first: strategize your trip! Without a strategy and game plan, you could run into uncertain (and possibly unpleasant) situations that are completely avoidable. Don’t risk fun or safety when camping – always plan ahead!
- Check with your vet. Is your dog up-to-date on their shots? Are they healthy enough to hike to the campsite (if necessary)? Just to be sure – take your pup in for a clean bill of health to start your trip off with your best paw forward.
- Scout your location. Always ensure your destination allows pets (include leash requirements in your research!) and is accessible for your dog’s unique needs (older pups might not enjoy a hike to a location). If both of those fit your needs, the next type of scouting is upon arrival: be aware of local plant life that may be toxic to your dog (e.g., blue-green algae).
- Be aware of wildlife. In addition to plant life, always be prepared to handle wildlife interactions on your camping trip. Think about how your dog reacts to the squirrels and rabbits in the backyard or on a walk. Be alert and be prepared to respond to that same energy while you are nestled in the Colorado wild, where you are likely to encounter anything from deer to coyotes and more. Stay alert because your dog definitely will!
- Check the weather. Make sure you’re packing all the right supplies according to the season. Is it going to rain? Maybe even snow? Be sure to pack extra towels and blankets to dry off and keep warm! Is the summer sun going to be in full force? Double the water you thought you needed, because you’ll need more, and always be aware of the signs your dog may be overheating.
The Essentials. When you are camping, whether in an RV or a tent, make sure the following items are on your checklist:
- Food & Water – our tip: if you think you’ve packed enough, throw in a little more.
- Portable Bowls – durable and portable! Click HERE for an affordable and OLK9 favorite.
- First-Aid Kit – actually, anything we’ve recommended in our “Is My Dog Ready for a 14er?” blog…
- Collar, Tags, & a recent photo – in case the unthinkable happens, you want to make sure you and pup are equipped to reunite
- Dog Toys – don’t rely on the outdoors to be 100% stimulating for your dog, Colorado weather is notoriously unpredictable so it’s always good to have a backup if you’re tent-bound due to rain.
- Blankets/Towels/Beds – whether winter or summer, it gets cold at night, especially the higher in altitude you go. Plus the towels double for cleaning after a romp in the lake or mud.
- Poop-Bags/Shovel – clean up after your pet, please!
- Booties and sweaters – one or the other, or both depending on weather and conditions.
- Leads/Ropes – depending on the leash laws at your campsite, you might have to leash your dog, no matter how well-trained they are. For a cost-efficient trick, buy an extra long length of rope (about 100 foot) for a long lead you can tie around a nearby tree.
The “Nice-to-Haves”: Here’s a list of fun extras that you might not need, but would definitely come in handy on your trip.
- Doggie Sleeping Bag/Bed – if your sleeping bag is expensive, you might not want to share it with your four-legged companion and risk a nail snag or dirty paws
- Doggie Backpack – give your dog a job and have them help carry some of their own supplies in their own backpack (check with your vet on your dog’s ability to carry additional weight).
- Doggie Goggles – In extremely sunny and/or snowy situations, protect your pet’s eyes with a pair of UV goggles.
- Grooming Wipes – for the tougher-than-a-towel situations, pick up some grooming wipes to keep your dog clean and groomed (for the outdoors, that is).
- Light up Coats and/or Tags – Make sure you can see where your dog is at all times when the sun goes down with light-up accessories. Plus they look stylish!
- Cooling Vest – for those extra hot summer days, a cooling vest for your dog can be a great way to ensure they don’t overheat.
And there you have it! We think that with our tips, you won’t have to “ruff” it too much on your camping excursion – just enough to make some amazing memories with your pup. Ready for additional off-leash training? Contact us today for pricing and package options.