Camping can be a liberating solo adventure or a way to reconnect with your family and friends. Whether you venture out into the great outdoors with other people or alone, many dog owners want to bring their furry friend along.
Most frequent campers have a bag packed and ready to go for a spur-of-the-moment trip. Although you probably have a well-used packing list for your own essentials, packing for a dog requires a different focus.
Several essentials can make your pup’s camping experience more enjoyable. Whether you’re bringing your dog along for the company or to hunt, these seven essentials can make camping with your dog a wonderful, stress-free experience.
1. Dog Kennel
Before you can camp, you need to travel to the campsite. If you’re driving, learn how to travel with your hunting dog safely. Experts recommend keeping your dog in a kennel without a collar on while driving.
Your everyday kennel can work well for the occasional trip, but if you plan on getting out every weekend, consider purchasing a new kennel that you can leave in your car.
2. Dog Treats
Your dog will not be happy if you forget this essential item. Treats are great for the trail because you can use them to continue your scent training for dogs course. Being away from populated areas gives you and your dog more space to train, but you should always be aware of potential dangers.
The treats can also come in handy if you encounter another animal or a sharp drop-off and need your dog to come to heel quickly. New animals might spook even the most well-trained dogs, and they may ignore commands. However, a treat could distract your dog enough to remind them of their training.
Make sure to pack a few treats in every bag and pocket, so they are readily accessible.
3. Collapsible Water Bowls
One of the dangers associated with hiking is heat exhaustion, which dehydration exacerbates. Dogs are no different from humans and require regular access to water, even more so during hot summer days. Lethargy, dry nose, or food refusal are signs of dehydration in dogs, leading to vomiting and other dangerous health problems.
Take care of your pup by bringing along a foldable water bowl. Just like camping cooking sets, these foldable bowls are lightweight and take up little space in your pack. Bring an extra bottle of water and fill up your dog’s bowl every time you take a break.
3. Collar Lights
The great outdoors is dark at night, especially if you’re far from civilization. To ensure you can always find your dogs, attach lights to their collars.
Choose a lightweight, waterproof light with a long-lasting bulb. Don’t forget to bring extra batteries. Don’t worry about keeping the light on during the day, but bring it in your pack if you’re planning a long hike.
4. Dog Bed
The best dog bed is dependent on your space availability, price point, and dog breed and size. Many of the best duck hunting dogs are medium-sized but hardy. However, even born-and-bred hunting dogs appreciate a comfortable bed to sleep on.
If you’re a dog lover, you probably have several dog beds at home already. However, a camping dog bed has a few additional requirements.
A dog bed made with waterproof material is essential. Weather is changeable. Having a soaking wet dog is bad enough, but trying to dry off a dog and its bed in a cramped tent might prove impossible. Use Mossy Oak’s Odor Eliminator once you’re home if you’re wondering how to eliminate dog odors.
Keep in mind the portability and washability of the dog bed. If you can, find a bed or a doggie sleeping bag that can go straight in the washing machine.
5. Hands-Free Leash
A hands-free leash means you can keep control of your dog even while setting up camp, finding something in your bag, or making dinner.
Don’t use a clip-on leash. If your dog is startled, a quick jolt from them could dislodge the leash, resulting in a lost dog. Particularly if your dog isn’t used to the woods, keep them close by your side. New scents and sounds can both attract and frighten them, and even obedient dogs might run off.
6. Dog Coats
Even if you’re not the type of owner to dress your pup up in seasonal attire, you might want to consider some coats to help your dog control their temperature and protect them from hunters.
If you’re planning on hiking in high temperatures, consider a cooling vest. You just soak the vest in water and squeeze it out, and it keeps your dog cooler.
If you travel to the mountains in the summer, temperatures might be much lower than at home. Your dog’s summer coat might not be enough to keep them warm. A warmer vest can help protect them from the cold.
If you are hiking during hunting season, consider a bright orange vest for your dog. Orange vests are more visible and prevent your dog from being mistaken as a deer.
7. Dog Toys
Last, don’t forget to bring some entertainment for your dogs. Bring balls to play catch, bones to chew, and mind-enriching toys to keep your dog occupied while you cook or set up camp.
Toys that dispense treats are an excellent option for times when you can’t focus on your dog. Setting up or breaking down a tent can be a tricky operation. Having a dog in the mix can lengthen the process.
Camping with Man’s Best Friend
Camping is a beautiful, relaxing way to reconnect with nature. Bringing along your dog doesn’t have to be stressful. Just prep a dog bag the same way you’d prep your own.
Whatever your reason for your camping trip, have fun and enjoy your adventure with man’s best friend.