Camping With Your Dog

Camping With Your Dog

Enjoying the great outdoors and camping is one of BC’s best outdoor activities. Out here, we have the privilege of living in the close proximities to so many trails, Provincial parks and shoreline. Most likely, wherever you are in BC you are withing an hour’s drive to great camping sites and trails. Most of us want to enjoy our camping trips with our dogs. Let’s face it, they love being outside and we want them with us all the time. Some things to consider when camping with your dog are the following. If you cannot say yes to all these below, then you may want to reconsider your trip.

  • Is my pet fit and healthy, and up for travelling?
  • Does the campground allow pets?
  • Will my dog be comfortable or will camping cause anxiety?

Keeping your dog safe from wildlife.

The biggest hazard with dogs and camping is the potential for wildlife encounters. Pets are generally wildlife attractants therefore its important to have them leashed or have a very strong recall to get them under control.

Consider teaching your dog the emergency call back. It’s basically a “come here now, I mean it!” call. Dogs in the outback need to understand that this recall is a must. If you cannot recall your dog, then makes sure your dog is always leashed.

Check with the park authorities if you are at a provincial/national park and ask about recent wildlife sightings. If you are camping in Spring know that wildlife is most active around this time, they are either waking up from a long hibernation and/or looking for mates. Bear bells are great tools to announce that you and your dog are approaching and allowing wildlife to flee.

Pet Restrictions on Trails and Beaches

It’s always best to check ahead of time whether dogs are allowed on certain trails. For example, Alice Lake allows dogs within the campgrounds, but dogs are not allowed in the public beaches or picnic areas. The dogs are allowed in the surrounding trails but limited in other public spaces. The Sea to Sky Gondola allows dogs up top but they are not allowed to upload. You will have to trek up with your dog and then purchase a download ticket to come down. Once up top there is a dog friendly area to leash up your dog.

Our recommendation is to investigate these things ahead of time. Also, as part of your research, review the rules and make sure you know the leash laws for the campground—most pet-friendly campgrounds require your dog or cat always stay on a 6-foot leash.

The Raw Diet and Camping

A common question is “how do I keep with my dog’s raw diet while camping?” If it is at all possible to bring a cooler packed with ice or one that can be plugged in this may be a convenient way to store raw food. But if you are going into the back country for a long trip and where there are no electrical hook ups you may want to change your dog’s usual raw blend to a comparable food. Also using ice and cooler may not get the safest way to keep your dog’s food from the heat of the summer.

A safe, lighter and more convenient way to keep on a raw diet while camping is to feed your dog dehydrated, air dried or freeze dried raw food. These types of food retain the same qualities of raw food but have undergone a slightly different manufacturing process. Not only are these foods completely balanced, but you also don’t have to pack a lot because they are very calorie dense. This means you don’t have to feed your dog as much and it won’t take up space in your gear. Similar to the raw diet they are usually grain free and have very little added to them.

Great options are a Canadian dehydrated raw brand call Smack. We like it because it is made with only highly nutritious organic and non- GMO ingredients. A 50-pound dog needs only 1 1/4 cup to 2 cups a day. And if you are doing lots of activities you can easily add water to this food to ensure your dog is staying completed hydrated through your camping trip. If you are leaning towards a freeze-dried food then Acana Freeze-Dried or Open Farm Freeze-Dried are great options. Both are minimally processed in a convenient freeze-dried raw format with at least 85% protein, organs and bones. Air Dried foods, such as Ziwi Peak are gently dried to protect the nutrients and integrity of the food. All these alternatives (air dried, dehydrated, and freeze-dried) contain more nutrients than fresh food, because the freezing process helps to preserve them better. They are also a lot denser in calories and generally have a higher percentage of protein and fat compared to kibble because the drying process removes water and concentrate the protein and fat. Which ever you go with you cannot really choose wrong it just depends on your preference.

Key Rules to Remember while camping with your dog.

  • Don’t leave your pet unattended at your campground
  • Ensure your pet is secured when traveling
  • Don’t leave your pet in a parked car in warm weather
  • Keep them leashed on trails and in campgrounds
  • Clean up after your pet
  • Respect other dogs in the campground

Don’t Forget to Pack the Essentials!

  • Water bowl (preferably no spill) and water
  • Collapsible water bowl for long hikes
  • Food enough for the trip plus one extra day’s worth
  • Treats for the trails and bones for campfire gatherings
  • An extra long leash for camp or a tie out/ collapsible fence area
  • Poo Bags – don’t be that guy!
  • Medication
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Collar / Harness / Leash (biothane is best – non stinky and waterproof)
  • Their bed / blanket
  • ID Tags
  • Bear Bell
  • Emergency Vet Care Contact Information
  • If you are going to wash your dog while on vacation, make sure you use earth friendly biodegradable shampoo.

Happy Camping.