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Dog’s First Camping Trip

Preparing for your pet’s first trip can be a bit overwhelming. Where to go, what to do, how much to take? Today’s guest post by Audrey Porterman, researcher and writer for doctoralprograms.org, offers some advice on how to keep it simple … which will build your confidence and acclimate your pet to vacationing. 

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When my husband and I decided to get a puppy for our children we knew it meant a lot of extra work, and a definite change in our lifestyle. If we were going to get a dog, we wanted her to be part of the family and be included in as many family activities as possible. We didn’t like the thought of boarding or leaving her alone with someone to check on her twice a day. So, that meant that when Maggie came to live with us, we needed to rethink our family trips and find ways to include her in our plans.

Dog and Boys Camping

You're gonna share that hotdog, right?

Finding Pet Friendly Destinations

For our first family trip with Maggie, we decided to keep it simple. We knew that there were pet friendly hotels in almost every city, but we wanted to have a bit more freedom on our first trip as a family. We decided that camping was a good option for us. We looked up a campsite and made sure that bringing dogs was okay, checked the rules regarding pets, and then started planning and preparing for our trip.

Preparing Dogs For The Trip

Maggie was already used to traveling with us to our Saturday adventures that included hiking and exploring outside. We were comfortable with the way she would act on a walk, and she was fairly calm and patient in the car. If we hadn’t already taken her hiking with us, I would have planned a few excursions with her just so that she could get used to the car and adjust to a new environment. Also, if she’d gotten carsick on a regular basis, we would have visited the vet for some advice on dealing with that.

Packing For A Dog

Since this was our first trip with Maggie, we weren’t sure just how much we should pack for her. We went with the basics: her food and water bowls, the bed she usually sleeps in, and a couple of toys. We put on a fresh flea and tick treatment right before we left, because we knew that her exposure was going to be higher than normal. Finally, I packed a bit more food for her than I normally would, since I didn’t know how hungry she would be each day.

Enjoying the Trip

The camping trip went very smoothly. We stopped a few extra times so that Maggie could get out of the car and stretch her legs. The rest areas were great for this. The kids loved the chance to get out and move around as well. While at camp we made sure that her water bowl stayed full and kept her in the shade, so that she didn’t overheat. We spent some time hiking and some time just hanging out.

The best part was having Maggie sleep with us in the tent, because she helped the kids settle down for the night much more quickly than usual. Taking Maggie with us made the family vacation better, because it included the entire family!

Audrey Porterman is the main researcher and writer for doctoralprograms.org. Her most recent accomplishment includes graduating from Ohio State, with a degree in business management. Her current focus for the site involves psychology doctoral programs and online accounting phd programs.

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
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  • hey! i miss you hope you r good.found carrie,she doesnt remember me .i have pic i would like to post of those days. if she says yes then i will.check in w me on fb anytime k

  • Hi Catherine! That’s a stock photo I pulled from iStock photo, otherwise I’d be happy to share it.

  • Love the photo of the two little boys and dog! Is there any chance I could get a high res version to use on the cover of our Camping Guide? I would certainly put your photo credit on it!

  • Our dogs love to hike and camp with us. Until today we tent camped with them. Both Clara and Otter love the chance to be outside all day and to actually sleep with us in the tent. However… rainy nights were a problem because they would get against the side of the tent and that makes the tent leak. So today…. we bought a small camper. We are incredibly excited to take them on their next camping adventure!

  • We go camping with our pups often. Given how nutty my dogs are, our trips are not the most relaxing I could imagine–but I wouldn’t trade them!

  • Kim Thomas says:

    I’ve never traveled with the dogs, but I can only imagine it would be so much fun to do so! I feel deprived! LOL

  • I love taking my dog camping and after all the fun we’ve had with her, I couldn’t imagine the great outdoors without her. As challenging as it can be to find pet friendly activities, it’s always better having her along.

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