Tip & How-To about Dogs

Tips for National Park Camping with your Dog

Before embarking on a camping trip with your favorite furry friend, it's important to make sure you do your research to successfully plan a trip with your dog's safety in mind. While the U.S. National Parks welcomes our four-legged companions, each park across the country has its own set of rules and restrictions. These are just a few tips to help you get organized so you can be better prepared. With adequate and careful planning, a family trip can be all inclusive to your pets and become a regular bonding experience for the whole family.

1. Pick a Location and Familiarize Yourself with the Area and Rules:

While most parks welcome pets, some of them do require your pets to be on a leash that doesn't exceed six feet in length. The last thing you want to do is arrive at your destination and not have the appropriate leash to coincide with the designated leash length so carefully read park guidelines to ensure access. If your visiting a park with a beach, most parks won't allow for your dog to be on any swimming beach. Check each regulation before deciding which park is best for you.

2. Plan a Trip to the Vet:

Make sure your dog is up-to-date on their vaccinations like Lepto, which will protect them from bacteria found in still water, contaminated soil, and animal waste they may be exposed to while they're running around outdoors.Make sure if that if your pet is microchipped, all of the information is correct. Lastly, make sure their animal identification bands is up-to-date, secured and fits properly so that if the worst of the worst happens and you lose your pet and he is found, he can be returned to you safely.

3. Check the Weather Before You Leave and Plan Activities:

Will your destination allow you to roam around comfortably with your dog? Will it rain, or snow, and will your dog be adjusted to enjoy this type of weather while you're away? Nothing can ruin a trip more than a pet that hates rain and the sound of thunder and you're stuck on a camping trip where it's gloomy and wet and you pup is too scared to sleep or enjoy themselves. Weather doesn't affect all dogs the same, so plan accordingly to your pet and their needs so that everyone can enjoy the outdoors. Make a plan to spend time letting them exercise and play their favorite game of fetch or tug-of-war outside of walking around and exploring the trails in the area with you.

4. Packing:

Always bring a copy of your pet's vaccination records because you never know if you'll need them or be asked about them while wandering around the park. Make sure to bring enough food and water to follow your dog's regular eating and dietary habits while you are away. Pack a harness and leash (or two) so that when it's required, you have them on leash and you have control of them and they're kept at a safe distance to you without totally roaming off. Don't forget the waste bags because you'll want to pick up after your dog to prevent unwanted visits from wild animals. Lastly, bring extra blankets, bedding and pillows for your dog so when it's time to wind down after a long day of exploring and walking around, they can relax and get comfortable!

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