As we sat down for breakfast during my last camping trip, two chocolate Labs came running up to our picnic table to ask us for a plate. Their owners were leisurely walking behind the dogs, not eager to catch up, yell at or restrain them. Fortunately, everyone in my camping party are dog-friendly people and we didn’t mind the visit. However, there are many people who are either scared, allergic or just do not like dogs. The couple with the beautiful and friendly chocolate Labs were not practicing good camping etiquette.
Before my senior dog lost most of his spunk, we camped together every year. He loved being outdoors—somewhere new with so many smells. Taking our four-legged friends with us while camping is not only a treat for them, but enjoyable for us as well. I just love watching happy and curious dogs in the great outdoors. However, there is a proper way to manage your pet while camping.
If you follow these 10 basic rules for camping with a dog, you will be following good camping etiquette.
- Make sure the campsite or park you are going to allows dogs.
- Always pick up after your pet and dispose of waste appropriately.
- Keep your dogs vaccinations current and ask your vet if he or she should receive a Lyme disease vaccination.
- Give your dog flea control before going.
- Put an identification and current rabies tag on your dog’s collar with your cell phone number on it.
- Keep your dog on a leash and under your control at all times.
- Teach your dog to stay, sit and heel—especially if he or she is aggressive, easily distracted, or loves to bolt after squirrels and other critters.
- Leave an unsocialized dog at home.
- Keep the four-legged family members quiet. Barking disturbs other campers.
- Never leave your dog unattended. Crate Fido if you have to. Never leave unattended pets in a car.
Don’t forget to pack your dog’s favorite toys, soft bedding and dog bowls; make sure he or she has access to plenty of water. Camping with pets is easy and fun as long as you help your four-legged friends behave.
Do you camp with your dogs? What do they love most about camping? Tell us your dog stories in the comment section.