While I sit here watching it rain and try to snow, I long for our camping days. We are campers. We camp with 3 dogs, 2 horses, and 1 cat. It is a lot to manage but we are seasoned campers at this point. Okay, maybe we are seasoned glampers. We don't really rough it; neither do our pets.
The biggest concern we have when camping is safety - keeping our dogs safe from injury and safe from being lost. I won't bore you with keeping dogs safe around horses but I will share some tips that have helped us or that we learned the hard way over the last several years.
Think Low Tech
If you aren't sure if you will have cell or internet service, assume you won't. Do your homework ahead of time. Where is the nearest vets office and emergency vet location? They may require a rabies certificate in order to see you so have a copy with you.
Don't rely on your AirTags or other tracking devices that require cell service/internet access. We keep AirTags on our dogs and horses, but we also go ultra low tech. These inexpensive keychain tags are easy to use and can be used over and over. We write our campsite on the tag so that if our pet gets lost someone can find us quickly, even without a phone. Your pet's ID tags are great but they often rely on phone service.
Watch Where You Throw That Toy
While not all campgrounds allow your pet to be off leash, some do or you may be camping in an outback type setting. Be mindful where you are tossing that ball. Besides the normal hazards like poison oak/ivy/sumac, consider other hazards such as spiders, snakes, and other creatures that could bite.
More common than that is going to be injuries from sticks, branches, and strains/sprains. Winston takes on a springer spaniel persona when camping. He will hop, leap, jump into nearly anything and he does so at the highest speeds he can reach. For that reason, we scope out our campsite and where we want to play with him. We may elect to only throw the ball in one area in order to maintain a clear path for him.
You are likely going to have to keep your dog tied up. We use cable ties. Since we camp with 3 dogs we know we are going to need a lot of space as we need to be sure those cables can't get tangled up and potentially strangle or injure our furry kids. When we have the option, we take a campsite at the end of a row or where there is a good amount of space behind us. This affords us more space and, if we can get at the end of a row, we can separate our dogs from the campers beside us.
When cabling out our dogs we use wide nylon collars. This helps displace any pressure if our dog attempts to pull on the cable. While we don't want him to pull on the cable, we will address that through supervision and just-in-time correction but our first concern remains health and well-being.
If we can, we also use portable high ties. It helps us prevent tangling cables and provides a bit more run space for our dogs. It isn't always possible and more often than not, we only get to have one setup, but we rotate the dogs and ensure everyone gets some good exercise.
Taking the High Road
We have good boys. They truly are a great bunch but I also am aware that they may not be in love with every dog who wanders in to our camp. We usually introduce our dogs to the neighbors. We present Winston, our pitbull, to everyone so they can see he is both people and dog friendly. He has to overcome a stereotype all the time. By helping put people at ease we are being good ambassadors of the breed and we are giving Winston a chance to show just how fun and affectionate a pibble can be.
On occasion we end up camping by people who will not maintain control over their dogs. In those cases, we will ask the owners, if we know where the dogs are coming from, to not let their dogs wander into our camp. We explain that while our dogs are friendly, we have 3 and that it can create a bit of chaos having dogs running through our campsite while we have 3 cable tie outs.
If we aren't successful, we put our dogs up for awhile. This isn't fair to our dogs but we are mindful that if an issue were to occur, the pibble is guilty and we simply will not put Winston in harm's way.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the cat. The cat typically stays in the trailer. Every evening, he comes out and sits in his 3 tiered cat crate (it is about 4 feet tall) so he can experience the outdoor air. He is used to this now and seems to look forward to his adventures.
Now I feel like camping. A campfire would sound and smell good right now.
We hope you are able to enjoy all of your adventures with your pibbles or any other dog breed you may have.