It is camping, hunting, swimming, fishing, hiking, boating, fun in the sun, time of year! And for me, this means that I will be doing all of these summer activities with Cooper!
Some pet owners are afraid of taking their dogs on long trips, especially into the wilderness. They fear that the dog may be eaten by bear or trapped by a cougar hunter (is that a thing?) or, I have even heard, fear that the puppy will be sunburned! For me, though, Cooper is family, and family goes on vacation together. However, I do watch him closely; similarly as I would if we brought a young child on our family camping trips. If a bear were chasing Cooper (heaven forbid), he probably has a stronger chance of outrunning the bear than a small child, or even me!
The way I see it, dog is man’s best friend, and because of that, dogs have been participating in these activities for hundreds of years (well, maybe not the boating), and the wilderness is where my Cooper seems to feel most at home. He smells, licks and rolls in all kinds of dirty things- it’s like a giant playpen for him!
If you do decide to bring your dog camping, hunting, hiking, etc., the key is making sure your dog is well trained so if an emergency does occur, you can be assured that your pup understands, and will listen to, all the commandments. Secondly, make sure you pack enough to accommodate you and your pet. Here are some things to be wary of, and to preventively prepare for:
Food & Water
Well, that makes sense! This seems incredibly obvious, but I can’t tell you how many times I have run out of food for myself on a camping trip. When packing food, it is better to be over-prepared, carrying a little more up to the site, rather than not having enough to eat, being hungry and having to pack everything up and go home.
Remember that your dog will need extra water because it may get warmer throughout the trip, and he may be exerting more energy than normal. Water and hydration are the most important components to adventuring with a healthy pup.
Not packing a first aid kit does not mean that an accident is less likely to happen (my grandpa believed that). Have a first aid kit checklist, and make sure that you have many of these products. Some of the products on this list that are extremely important are: aspirin, vet wrap and bandages.
Some other preventative care products that could be useful are: dog tents, dog life vests and a travel/ hiking bag that attaches to your dog.
Beware of your Dog’s Behavior
Some dog behaviors you may not think are an issue until your dog does them in public, or when it’s unsafe. Some examples of these behaviors are constant barking, aggression with other animals and not listening. In the case of the great outdoors, these sorts of behaviors could get you in trouble. If your dog finds a porcupine and attacks it, this could cause great harm to your dog. If your dog won’t stop barking, you may get kicked out of your site and annoy every one of the friends that came with you. And, if your dog tends to be impulsive, this could result in your dog jumping off the boat and getting fatigued quickly, or getting run over by another boat.
For these behavior issues, I suggest simply not bringing your dog. If you have any doubts that your dog can handle a full camping trip, and will be on his best behavior, I wouldn’t risk the health and safety of your pup and yourself.
Have fun on your next camping, hunting, swimming, fishing, hiking or boating trip! I can’t imagine not having my best buddy and adventure partner with me!