Prepare Your Dog Before You Go Camping

Preparing Before You Take Your Dog CampingHere are some key things you will want to do and have before you take your dog camping. Preparing your dog before you go camping will help you avoid potentially disastrous situations and keep everything running smoothly. Your result will be: A very safe and enjoyable camping trip for everyone.

Pre-Camping Physical

Make a visit to your veterinarian and get him or her to evaluate your dog’s physical/behavioural condition to give you some insight on whether your dog is fit to go camping safely. Factors such as age, ailments, medication, certain conditions and overall health may determine whether or not it would be wise to take him camping. Taking your dog camping/hiking is physically demanding and will likely be an increase of activity for your dog. It is important for your vet to assess your dog’s physical and general heath before you take your dog camping.


While visiting your veterinarian, check to ensure that all your dogs vaccinations/inoculations are up to date, such as rabies and heart worm shots. Whether your camping takes place in a public campsite or in the secluded wilderness, it is important to have your dog treated with all the necessary vaccines. Otherwise, you could pose danger to your dog, other dogs and people that come into contact with him. Let your vet know where you and your dog will be camping or traveling to, as some locations pose additional health risks. They may warrant additional precautions. Ensure that you have an updated rabies tag to put on your dogs collar, as it is always required to be on your dog.

Fleas and Ticks

It is important to apply a flea and tick preventative on your dog. Fleas and ticks can be found anywhere, but are found in abundance in forests/wooded areas. Fleas and ticks pose the most threat to a dog when camping. These parasites spread diseases such as Lyme disease and can make the journey back home with you. Prevent these unwanted visitors by treating your dog for fleas and ticks before you go. There are many flea and tick products available, some popular ones are:

Merial Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control for 45- to 88-Pound Dogs and Puppies, 6 Month
K9 Advantix Flea Control for Dogs Over 55 Pounds, 6 Applications
Advantage Topical Flea Treatment for Dogs 21-55 Lbs (6 Applications)
Bio Spot Spot On for Dogs 16-30 lbs., 6 Month Supply
Merial Frontline Top Spot Flea and Tick Control for Dogs and Puppies, 6 Doses

ID Tag and/or Micro Chip

Ensure your dog has an up-to-date dog license and ID tags. If it he gets lost, someone can get him back to you. Make sure your dog’s ID tags are legible/easy to read and secure.

Your dog’s ID tag should include:

  • The dog’s name
  • Your name
  • Home address and phone number

A temporary dog ID tag is also a smart idea so that if your dog is lost while camping he can be returned promptly to your campsite.

The temporary ID should include:

  • The dog’s name
  • Your name
  • Campsite name, site number and dates you are staying at campground
  • Your mobile number

You can easily create these dog tags at your local Wal-mart, Petsmart or home improvement stores. These dog ID tags are inexpensive and will help prevent you and your dog from being permanently separated.

Microchip for your dog

Another, excellent preventative measure, is to get your dog a microchip. A microchip is no bigger than a grain of rice and is implanted under the skin of your dog’s shoulder. The procedure is very easy, much like getting a shot and gives little to no pain. The benefits of having your dog micro-chipped is that if he gets lost, you can use a hand-held device emitting radio waves to read the microchip’s specific code. The code on the microchip will identify the dog and its owner bringing him home safe and sound. It is not uncommon for dogs to lose their collar along with its identification tags; having a microchip on him will ensure that he is always identified.


Regardless of where you go camping you will need to bring along proof of current immunizations and perhaps registration for your pet. What you will need depends on where you are planning to camp. However, it is always wise to carry your dogs records and registration – you never know when an accident could occur. It’s best to be prepared for anything. You may also want to locate a vet nearest your campsite and have their contact details on hand.

Medication and Copy of Prescriptions

Pack all medications your dog is on, as well as the prescriptions. The prescriptions are used as documentation and you will also be able to pick up the prescribed medication in an emergency.

Notify a Friend and/or a Ranger

This is a good tip for camping with your dog as well as camping in general. Let a friend or a neighbour know where you will be camping, your general travel plans and the date you will return. This way, if something unfortunate happens to you, someone will be able to help. Notify a ranger in the area; let him or her know of your plans and that you are camping with a dog. No one can foresee what will happen when camping. There are many unpredictable factors involved (including weather, wildlife, people etc.). Keep in mind that your mobile will most likely not have reception in the area in which you are camping; so don’t just rely on that. Knowing that people are aware of your schedule if something unfortunate happens will give you reassurance when camping.

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Author: Kaitlyn
(The CampTrip Team)

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