At 4-Legger, we love taking our 4-legged furry family members on new adventures. With the summer heat slowly starting to wind down, taking your dog on weekend camping trips is a great way to spend some quality time outdoors with your pup.
Whether you’re an avid backpacker or just an occasional day-camper, our top 10 tips will help you make the most of your camping trip with your best friend.
1. Select a Dog Friendly Destination. Before packing up the car and hitting the open road, verify the destination is "dog friendly". We know from experience, when you pull up at your destination to find a "No Dogs Allowed" sign at the entrance it can be a massive disappointment. Had we called ahead to inquire, it could have saved us many lost hours.
2. Condition Your Dog for the Trip. If your dog is normally a couch potato, going from an occasional trip outside to potty and a walk around the block is a lot different than hiking on trails. Know your dog's limitations and condition them with regular exercise to get them in shape! Likewise, if your dog has a lot of energy, they can run too fast on a trail and get injured. Work with them so they understand slow and steady! We like to put a pack on our dog so they carry some food, water, and their emergency kit supplies! We also put a card in their backpack with our name and emergency phone number (just in case)!
3. Take Care of Those Paws! Walking on trails and rough terrain is not the same as taking a walk on the green grass or the sidewalk. Every night do a paw safety check and apply moisturizer (like 4-Legger's Healing Balm) to keep your dog's paw pads healthy and ready for the next day's adventures!
4. Keep Your Dog On A Leash. If you've ever spent part of your camping trip helping to look for someone's lost dog you know how important it is to keep your dog on a leash. Unless your dog is used to new sights, smells, and sounds - being in the great outdoors can be the perfect recipe for a lost dog. Be cautious if using a long leash especially if it's not retractable. Twenty feet away from you is a lot of room for your dog to get into a dangerous situation, especially on trails and in unfamiliar places.
Keep in mind, your dog is in sensory overload - new sights, smells, sounds and creatures. Getting the scent of a chipmunk and following it nose to the ground for a few minutes can be all it takes for your dog to wind up far away from anything familiar (and you).
You also have greater control over unwanted encounters with wildlife and other campers that can escalate quickly.5. Bring A Biodegradable Dog Shampoo. It never fails - you are out in the middle of nowhere; your dog finds the nastiest and stinkiest thing within 20 miles and proceeds to roll in it. Your dog needs a bath - now!
Did you know that traditional dog shampoos are not safe for wildlife and they aren't biodegradable? The artificial colors, fragrance, antibacterial ingredients (like triclosan and triclocarban or phosphates) don't break down and will cause environmental contamination and harm wildlife.
Biodegradable shampoos like 4-Legger are good for the environment because they are made with ingredients that naturally break down into water, carbon dioxide, and biological matter. 4-Legger's certified organic dog shampoos are safe, non-toxic, phosphate free, sulfate free, and paraben free so you’ll never have to worry about exposing your dog or wildlife to harmful ingredients! Our Unscented Hypoallergenic Organic Pet Shampoo with Aloe was created for the most sensitive dog skin, using sustainable ingredients without the use of artificial fragrances, colors, and preservatives, and all of our shampoo formulations are just as environmentally safe.
6. Pack A First-Aid Kit For Your Dog. While you don't want to think about an accident, having an emergency first-aid kit is essential. Be aware of the typical wildlife as well as venomous creatures that inhabit the area you plan to visit and plan accordingly. Here are some essentials for your dog’s first-aid kit: antiseptic, gauze bandages, vet wrap (non-stick wrap), tick tweezers, scissors, ice packs, and Healing Balm - a great solution to your pup’s chapped nose or damaged paw pads. Our natural healing balm can also be used on canine skin conditions such as hot spots and bug bites, providing your dog with quick and efficient itch and pain relief.
7. Don't Leave Your Dog Alone! It may sound a bit extreme to say "never leave your dog alone" but encounters can occur in the blink of an eye. A moose or a bear will generally avoid humans just as we try to avoid them but a curious dog waiting for you at camp may be defenseless if a predator appears, especially if they are tied out. A porcupine can wreak havoc and put a quill in your trip. Other animals can transmit rabies or spray your dog. Keeping your dog at your side and under control and save a lot of heartache or hassle.
8. Tags are Current. Make sure your dog's tags are up to date with your current phone number and the tag is secure on their collar or harness.
9. Poop! As the book says, everybody poops - including your dog. Either bag it up and haul it out to properly dispose of it or dig a hole and bury it along with your own. Your dog's poop is not "native" to that area and it doesn't belong on a trail.
10. Pest Control. A controversial subject, especially for those of us who use organics and don't use flea and tick treatment. First, figure out the threats in the area you are visiting. This map is a great resource. Then decide what prevention works for you - from using essential oils on your dog's collar to spraying your tent and camp area. Do a tick inspection every night - check the arm pits, in the ears, under the tail, every inch of your dog. You want to get ticks off before they embed and toss them into the fire. Deer ticks can be hard to find so take a strong flashlight with you and make tick check part of the nightly routine. If you do get over-run with fleas wash your dog with 4-Legger Aloe & Lemongrass. Lather your dog up really well and let it sit for a few minutes and the rinse. Lemongrass is a natural flea deterrent and our safe and non-toxic Castile soap base is great for getting rid of those pesky fleas!
When it comes to camping with your dog, there are many important things to consider to ensure a safe and fun trip. When it comes to choosing a safe and natural biodegradable dog shampoo, 4-Legger is proud to provide a variety of safe and organic dog shampoos. Shop our online store today or contact us with your questions!