Summer is here!
The smells of sunscreen, citronella and BBQ remind us that it’s time to plan a campout. Bringing everyone on a summer motorhome trip gives you an experience with more excitement and memories.
Make sure you’re not leaving anyone out, even your four-legged friends!
Why not bring your dog?
Planning your next motorhome trip with your pooch is fun for both you and them. Don’t leave Fido at home or a friend’s house when you can take them on an experience they will absolutely love!
Of course, bringing a pup along for the ride requires some extra planning…
If you’re a bit stressed out at the idea of bringing along your dog to the next summer campout, don’t be! Read these tips from seasoned campers and motorhome enthusiasts who know the in’s and out’s of camping with pups.
Make a list of dog-friendly campsites.
This is the best place to start. Do some research on campsites that allow dogs. Some locations allow dogs but they must remain restrained. Others are more flexible as long as your dog is trained to not disturb other campers.
If this is your pet’s first time camping, remember that dogs tend to get excited in the great outdoors. Finding a motorhome or camping site that gives you plenty of space may be ideal.
However, some older dogs may be fine with a little less room. Read the reviews prior to booking. Look for comments of other pet owners who have brought dogs that seem similar to your own.
Refer to our blog on Top Campsites for Dog’s in California to locate a fun canine-friendly location in the Golden State.
Pick a location based on your dog’s energy level/personality.
If your pup has loads of energy and gets incredibly excited when a squirrel is in your 50-mile radius, you may want to consider planning a trip to a more isolated area.
If you happen to have a dog that likes to lounge in the shade or is a bit older with less energy, you can bring them just about anywhere.
But if this is the first time you’re taking Spot on a campout, plan some practice hikes prior to your trip. This will allow you to honestly assess your dog’s outdoor personality.
Bringing along your dog means not only packing for you and your family, but also for your pooch. Make a list of all the essentials, such as dog food, leash, water dish, any medications, etc.
Don’t forget your pet’s identification tags, treats, proof of up-to-date immunizations, plastic bags, drinking water (if your pet has a sensitive stomach), your pet’s bed, a couple of toys, an old towel, pet insect repellent/sunscreen, first-aid kit and fun toys like a frisbee or ball.
The U.S. Forest Service has compiled a list of emergency items to bring along when camping with canines, including:
- Flat-bed tweezers (for splinters) and mineral oil (for ticks or cuts)
- Bandanas (for a makeshift muzzle)
- Needle nose pliers for large thorn or porcupine spike removal
- Name of nearest veterinarian
- First aid book/kit for dogs (like this one)
- Booties in the instance of an injured paw (A toddler sock will work great too!)
- Doggy water bottle or light backpack with water system (Check out this website for cool canine packs.)
Some other items seasoned campers have found useful include:
- Lightweight, collapsible dog carrier. These are breathable as well as easy to pack.
- Clip-on LED light for your dog’s collar. These are great for when it gets dark outside
- Spring tether. This is great for keeping your dog in a reasonable proximity and is easy to attach to a tree or pole.
- Tick repellent is a must! This brand in particular is convenient, odorless, long lasting and not greasy.
When driving in your motorhome or campervan with your pet, it’s easy to forget they need proper restrains like everyone else. Putting a seat belt around your pup, if possible, will keep them safe in the case of fast breaking or an accident.
Some dogs won’t mind lying down in their kennel for the entire duration of the drive.
Don’t forget to allow for bathroom breaks just as you would for small children. Making a few stops just to get out and stretch their legs is a good idea as well. This will also prevent your pup from getting too excited when arriving to your destination.
Check the weather.
Depending on your destination, summer temperatures can get extremely hot during midday. Beware of heat exhaustion!
Remember, most dogs have a thick layer of fur, making it feel much warmer for them. Choose a campground with slightly milder temperatures or more shade to ensure the prevention of heat exhaustion.
Practice your pup’s training skills before taking off.
Whether you plan on taking your dog on long hikes or keeping them close to the campsite, make sure you have some reliable recall commands.
Prior to your trip, practice your “leave it” call. You may run into a snake or other animal and you will want your pup to know when to back off.
Also, be extremely comfortable with telling your dog to come on your command. If you encounter something dangerous, get separated or run into other campers who want to be left alone, you should make sure your dog has mastered these two command.
Be a considerate dog owner.
Be a good example of dog owners who bring their beloved canines along for campouts. For starters, pick up after your pet. The last thing you want is your campsite neighbor to step in your dog’s waste and notify the camp rangers.
Be mindful of your dog’s barking as well. No one wants to be woken up at 3 a.m. by nonstop barking at the wind. Have your dog remain in your site at all times.
If you obey leash laws and are respectful of other campers, you will have a fantastic campout and give canines a good reputation.
Above all, have fun! Owning a campervan or conversion van is a great way to take amazing trips with your beloved pup.
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