With longer days and warmer weather many Coloradoans will be planning camping trips. Camping can be a great experience for the whole family but it is important to be sure your weekend away is safe for your canine companions as well. With proper preparation and knowledge your dog can enjoy the vacation as much as you.
Different dogs may be better suited to camping than others. Aggressive, excessively curious, loud, or timid dogs may be better suited to remain at home rather than being in the unpredictable environment outdoors. The important part is to decide beforehand if your dog is a good candidate for a camping trip.
Temperatures and weather conditions in Colorado can change rapidly, especially in the mountains. Be prepared for a chilly night by bringing a blanket for your canine companion and if rain or excessive heat is present it is important to provide shade and shelter so be prepared to share the tent. Bring extra dog food and water. You may be camping near a stream or lake but untreated water can contain parasites and bacteria which could make your dog sick. Bring toys for him to play with and bring his normal leash and a longer leash so he can be secured at your campsite with room to roam. It is very important that your dog wear his collar during the entire trip, having him microchipped at the vet is another level of safety. If you plan to hike over rough terrain or for an extended period of time you should consider booties to protect your dog’s paws and a small saddle pack so he can carry his own water and food. It is also important to bring bags to pick-up your animals waste.
Never take an untrained or unpredictable dog into the wilderness on a camping trip.In Colorado it is not uncommon to come into contact with raccoons, porcupines, skunks, foxes, and occasionally moose, mountain lions, and bears. Having an aggressive dog or a dog that does not listen to your commands could turn a tense situation into a hazardous situation. It is important that your dog is under voice command and knows the following commands; come, stay, leave it or no. If you are camping near other people do not let your dog roam freely. No one wants to deal with a strange dog roaming around their campsite day or night. Finally, do not allow your dog to defecate on the trail, and if it occurs be conscious to remove the waste. In certain wilderness areas it is illegal to not pick up your dogs waste.
It is likely that you will be miles from the nearest vet clinic so it is important to be prepared. Visit your vet before camping to ensure your dog is fully vaccinated and protected from fleas, ticks, mites, and heartworm disease. It is also useful to be prepared with basic first aid supplies including bandaging material and tweezers.
We hope these tips are helpful and that you and your canine companions enjoy a safe and healthy camping season.