A dog’s pleading eyes as you are taking off on a holiday is one of the hardest things that any dog owner has to deal with. The experience is even harder for the dog.
Leaving your precious bundle of hairiness in the kennels or with a dog sitter for a weekend is one thing. However, for extended camping trips or multiple times every month, this may not be fair for both you and your dog – after all, one of the main reasons you got your dog is so that you can have adventures together.
Camping with dogs is an ideal solution for people who like to explore the outdoors without having to leave their pets behind. In this article, we will show you how to find dog-friendly camping grounds. Also, we will show you the tips you can use to make camping with dogs more fun.
Where to Find Dog-Friendly Camping Grounds
The majority of the national parks do allow a visit with a dog. This can include lodging facilities, developed areas, and even a good number of campgrounds and trails.
Before deciding to set up a camping area in a national park with your dog, you need to answer the question: what kind of adventure do you intend to pursue before your head hits the camping sleeping pad? Depending on the national park, rules may vary on whether your 4-legged friend is allowed to join you on the outings.
To give you an example, in the United States, dogs are not allowed on the trails in the Rocky Mountain National Park. However, your furry friend should love the 100 miles of dog-friendly trails available in Acadia’s National Park.
Rules for dogs are usually listed on the national park’s website. If you will be packing dog camping gear, you must access the websites and familiarize yourself with the rules before selecting the park to visit.
As for the backcountry, most of the national parks may not allow dogs. Luckily, developed campgrounds in the front country do welcome dogs, including a selection of campgrounds located in Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone.
Still, exception campgrounds do exist. Hence, always check first. Kulanaokuaiki campground, in the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, for instance, does not allow camping with dogs to protect the endangered nene – the rarest goose in the world.
State and Local Parks
Most of the guidelines for national parks apply to state and local parks. Before setting up your 4-person tent on any state or local park, be sure to check with the agency that manages the land. Also, considering your daytime plans may be important in some of the parks.
If your destination is the water, you have to expect the rules to be stricter. To give you an example, the Virginia State Parks, do prohibit dogs on the public beaches.
If you intend to go camping with kids and your dog in California State Park System, you will need to keep in mind that some specific beaches do allow dogs while others do not. Those that do not allow dogs often cite concerns for wildlife and sanitation.
If you want to camp with your dog, heading to Monterey District may not be a good idea. The beaches in this system are usually dog free. The goal of keeping the system dog-free is to protect the endangered Western Snowy Plover.
As a rule of thumb, dogs are usually allowed anywhere cars are allowed to go. This tells you that most developed campgrounds do allow dogs.
State and local parks do have trails ideal for the canines. Some may even have dog-specific amenities in the parks. For example, Colorado’s Cherry Creek State Park features a 107-acre fenced-in and off-leash canine-friendly area with water access.
The National Forests and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land
The Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service oversees over 440 million acres of public lands combined. Much of this land is dog-friendly – the land offers dog owners an opportunity to have great adventures with their dogs.
Backpacking is generally an amazing way for you and your pet to experience solitude. For some dispersed camping and backcountry areas, the only guideline offered by the BLM or Forest Service is to use common sense.
Using common-sense is easy enough. For example, you can allow the dog to stay off the leash at the base camp if he/she does respond to voice commands and always remains nearby. If you intend to use your camping chairs and camping lantern along a high desert river during the spring season, the telltale rattling sound may mean that it is time to use the leash.
Other areas you may want to car camp, away from the developed campground, do come with rules for the dogs. This is generally the case for sensitive wildlife and high-use areas.
To give you an example, outside Sun Valley, Idaho, in the Sawtooth Wilderness, the Forest Service requests that dogs remain on a leash in the backcountry. The campground requires leashes on the trails from July 1 through Labor Day and prohibits the presence of dogs all together in one drainage of the wilderness.
Basically, what you will need to do before you pack your car camping gear and head to BLM or US Forest Service land is to check with the agencies. The rules governing the campgrounds are largely set by the 2 agencies.
Rules for Camping with Dogs
Car camping rules in most developed campgrounds, from the BLM and the Forest Service land to state and national parks, are basically similar. Below, we have the basic rules.
Your Dog is a Your Constant Companion
You should not plan to leave your dog at the campsite alone after donning your hiking boots and hiking pants, whether tied up or kept inside the car or your waterproof tent. On top of being potentially disruptive to other campers, it could endanger your dog.
Weather can change fast, there is the possibility of wildlife wandering through. Also, a wide range of other unforeseen circumstances could arise while you are away.
At Camp, Keep the Dog on a Leash
In the outdoors, temptations abound for the dog, from the tempting aroma of the neighbor’s steaks to the scurrying squirrels that your dog would like to give a good chase. This is the main reason why campgrounds, nearly universally, require the dogs to stay in leashes not longer than 6 feet. It is also important that you brush on the “leave it” command, just in case you need it.
Use Pick-Up Bags
You must use the leave no trace ethics. With more people appreciating the aspect of spending time outdoors with their dogs, the amount of dog waste is increasing in the woods.
Unfortunately, this can end up hurting the environment. According to Mountain Parks and City of Boulder Open Space, water and soil contamination from parasites and bacteria and the spread of noxious weeds is one of the main reasons you should include pick-up bags in your kit.
Given there is probably wildlife roaming around at night, the rules require that you sleep with the dog, either in the car or your tent. The last thing you would want is your dog encountering a coyote or a skunk.
Sleeping with your dog will keep him/her safe and hopefully, quiet. Choosing an ideal sleeping pad for your dog can make the whole experience warmer and comfier for everyone.
Your kit should feature water, kibble, and a bowl. If you will be hiking or backpacking, consider adding a dog pack to carry everything the dog may need.
Only Bring the Food Out During Meals
Leaving the kibble out will teach other wildlife that the campground is a tasty place to hang out. For nibblers, you should consider using a bowl that closes at the top to save the leftovers in the car between the meals.
Tips to Help You Have a Good Time Camping with Your Dog
1. Visit the Vet Before the Camping Trip
Before you embark on the camping trip, you must take your furry friend for a pre-trip vet visit. The goal of the appointment is to make sure that your dog is healthy enough for the trip.
You can also make sure that the flea and tick medication is up to date. The forests and woods are often prime locations to pick up unwanted parasites. To ensure that this does not happen, consider applying flea and tick preventative.
After arriving at the campsite, it is always a good idea to locate a vet station nearby. While you may not need to use it, it is good to know that you can access a vet, just in case.
2. Carry a Pet First Aid Kit
You can buy one from any pet supply store. Also, if you are on a budget, you can always assemble the first aid kit yourself.
While there may be an overlap with the human camping first aid kit, you must have a pet-specific kit. Also, if possible, get a pet-specific first aid book. This can show you how to deal with emergencies.
3. Give the Dog Enough Water
When you are out hiking or backpacking, your dog may get caught up in all the fun around it and end up forgetting to drink enough water. As a rule of thumb, consider offering your dog a bowl of water every 60 minutes.
Half the time your dog may decline. However, when you and your dog are hiking trails, you have to keep in mind that your dog will need more water than he or she normally need when relaxing at home.
4. ID for Your Dog
You must ensure that your dog can be identified easily in new places. Before heading to your chosen campground, ensure that the dog has an up to date ID tag on his or her collar. On top of your contact details, you must add details of the campground on the ID tag.
5. Protect the Paws
Not just from the snow or the cold weather, also from the hot ground. While you can use some special dog booties, these may end up falling off, especially if your dog is a jumper. If this is the case, the wax may be a more ideal alternative. A good dog wax product can help you ensure that the fur won’t ball up in the snow.
6. Pack Some Dog Toys
There is a chance that your dog may end up getting anxious. After all, he or she has probably never been to the campsite before. To help ease any anxieties and help the dog feel more comfortable in his new home, bring the dog’s favorite toys.
7. Watch the Dog Around the Campfire
Most dogs are smart enough to stay out of the campfire. There is something innate in them that seems to know that fire can be dangerous.
However, dogs can get more rambunctious playing with dog buddies. They may end up getting dangerously close to falling in. Once you use your fire starter to start the campfire, calm your dog down. Also, ensure that you or someone else is always watching your dog.
Globo Surf Overview
If leaving your furry friend behind when heading to a campsite does not sound like a good idea for you, then, camping with dogs could be an ideal solution. For you to have an awesome time exploring the outdoors with your dog, you need to find dog-friendly camping grounds. You wouldn’t want to head to a campsite with your pup and then realize that you can’t stay there because dogs are prohibited.
Following basic rules and regulations can help you keep your dog safe and healthy. While some dog-friendly camping may have written rules, most of the time, common sense will be largely applicable.
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- The Ultimate Guide to Camping with Dogs, Reserveamerica.com