You remember Max — the puppy who just had his first 4th of July? Well summer is marching on and he’s hitting the trails with his pet parents for a family camping trip!
This is the biggest backyard I’ve ever seen! So many trees to sniff, so many critters to chase… and not a fence in sight! There must be more to chew here than in a whole box of chew toys!
Welcome to the Great Outdoors, Max.
Puppies, and all dogs, really love the outdoors. They’re descended from wolves after all — just give them a whiff of something new, a glimpse of something interesting to chew, or a wide open space to explore, and they’re off! Off to whatever a curious dog may find in the forest, for better or worse.
All the things we love about the outdoors — fresh air, open spaces, beautiful scenery, and a break from the hustle and bustle to focus on our families and friends — are things dogs love too. But there are potential hazards to pets right in your campsite.
Fleas and ticks make their home in shady, forested areas, just waiting for a dog or human to pass by and become an unwilling snack. The sun Max’s pet parents like to feel shining on their faces can burn Max as easily as it can burn people who don’t use sunscreen. And if it’s especially warm out, or if Max and his family go for a rigorous hike or two, he could become dehydrated or even get heat stroke.
Who would want to ruin a pup’s outdoor adventure with anything like that?
What Max Needs Today:
A nice assortment of leashes for staying by his pet parent’s side, whether walking, napping, or enjoying the campfire. You’ll want to have a few with you in case one leash breaks or proves unequal to your dog’s excitement over a squirrel.
Up-to-date ID tags and microchips, in case Max goes for a solo hike while his pet parents aren’t looking.
His regular dog food, so he can eat like he usually does and not get an upset stomach from switching foods too quickly.
Pet-friendly sunscreen so Max’s nose or any less-furry parts, like his belly, don’t burn when he’s soaking up the sun.
Flea and tick protection, so Max doesn’t get bitten by these nasty critters. Ticks are especially common in forested areas, and can cause really awful diseases like Lyme disease, which can also spread to humans.
A camping-ready water bowl so Max can guzzle as much water as he needs. His pet parents should bring bottled water for him, or get his water from the same source as theirs while camping, since streams and river water can give pets bacterial infections. Ick!
Touch-up items like eye and ear wipes, just to keep the dust from that roll in the dirt or the random bugs from that dash through the bushes off of Max’s sensitive areas.
A first aid kit, in case of a bump or scrape.
A comfy bed! So he doesn’t claim his pet parent’s sleeping bag in protest.
What Max Won’t Like Much:
Wild animals that fight back! Max shouldn’t be allowed to chase any critters, large or small. First, rodents and other animals can be carriers of disease, and second, Max has his dog food with him — there’s no reason to terrorize the wildlife. And it goes without saying that large animals like foxes, coyotes, or bears can be a great danger to pets, and possibly to people too! Make sure you know who’s out there in your camping area; talk to a park ranger about where to camp, what spaces to avoid, and how to handle food, trash, and waste so you don’t draw animals to you.
Going for a too-long hike in the too-hot sun. Max could work himself into heat stroke trying to keep up with expert hikers. It’s his first time, after all! Pace yourself with your dog, and everyone will enjoy the day.
Plus, take a look at all these other great camping and hiking tips!
Hiking with Dogs: Your guide to what to look up before you go, what to pack, and how to enjoy a hiking day with your dog.
First Aid for Treating a Dog: Cuts and scrapes can happen anywhere, but if they happen far from your vet, you may have to step up and do some first aid on your pup, at least until a professional can take a look.