6 Musts Before Hiking & Camping With Pups
Hiking & Camping with Your Pup - The Do's and Don'ts
So, you’ve decided to go camping? What else would make your camping experience complete that enjoying nature with that adorable little fur kid?
Prepare Ahead of Time
Are you going for a lengthy, extended road trip? Plan your rest stops prior to leaving. Pack food and water. Store a toy or two for the pup to play with. Make sure you are prepared!
By far, the vast majority of camping/travel complications arise because dog owners haven’t properly prepared for potential outcomes. Listed below is a small checklist any potential traveler should consider before venturing off with their beloved pup!
Never leave your pet alone in a hot car with the windows shut! Countless animals have perished for this very reason.
- Contact your vet
- Plan your route
- Get a weather report
- Plan pet-friendly accommodations
- Pack a bag for your dog/ prepare dog supplies
- Update your dog’s ID and paperwork
The Importance of Vaccinations
It is very important to make sure your dog is current on his vaccinations prior to leaving, and update your paperwork (required for airline travel).
- Canine parvovirus
- Canine hepatitis
- Rabies (Legally mandated for both dogs & cats, varies upon state)
Most pet owners have heard of this deadly disease, but very few actually know what it does. The rabies virus attacks the central nervous system of both humans and animals, leading to a 100% fatality rate; even with treatment the human survival rate isn’t good.
To put this into perspective, the very first documented unvaccinated rabies victim was bitten by a bat (bats being the largest carriers in the US), and didn’t experience symptoms at first. However, doctors actually needed to place the 15 year old in a medically induced coma, a radical procedure rarely attempted even today, to prevent her death and slow the spread of the deadly virus while they worked. Though she was lucky enough to survive, Jeanna Giese was forced to endure strenuous physical therapy and still to this day, many years later, cannot walk and talk normally.
The virus is so feared, unvaccinated domestic pets are not even considered for treatment. Rather, veterinarians are legally mandated to immediately remove the animal’s head and have it sent to a laboratory for brain material testing.
How this pertains to camping?
Bats are the biggest carriers of the rabies virus in the United States, although any animal (etc. squirrels, raccoons) can carry it. Being as how campers are usually spending their nights outdoors, this can pose a larger issue. Remember, you may take great care of your own pet, but you can never be completely sure of other pets.
Cats & Rabies
Ironically, cats aren’t mandated for Rabies vaccinations in every (many US states regulate this, not all) US state. However- consider this- both cats and bats hunt nocturnally. That being said, cats are far more likely to actively try to capture and kill said bat than any dogs are; bats would be more play for most dogs than the prey they would seem to every house cat.
Keep in Mind
You may know your own pup is healthy, socialized well, and non aggressive, but you never know about other people’s dogs. This can become a problem when visiting dog parks, rest stops with dog runs, or campgrounds. Make sure your little guy is safe!
Campground Rules & Regulations
Just like public dog parks, all established public campgrounds throughout the United States maintain a rigid set of rules pertaining to campground pets. Below is a set of standardized regulations recorded from the department of natural resources!
- Proof of a valid rabies inoculation must be provided before any dog is allowed in a campground.
- Rabies certificate or tag dated for current year are acceptable forms of proof.
- Dogs and other pets are not permitted at the beach, in picnic areas, or in any building.
- Pets must be confined or leashed to restrict them to the campsite of the owner.
- Dogs cannot be left unattended. Barking or vicious dogs must be removed from the campground.
- Dogs may be walked on a leash - no longer than 6 feet, provided they are under control at all times.
- Dogs are not permitted on the Lake George Islands.
- Dog owners must properly dispose of the animal's excrement
Swimming with Your Dog
What camping trip is complete without a visit to the lake?
You’ll notice Newfoundlands, heavily used today for emergency water rescue, at the top of the list below with three types of retrievers following, two Labradors coming in second and third. Though the Labrador Retriever (known as the Lesser Newfoundland, or St. John’s Water Dog in the late 1600’s) is America’s most popular breed today, he was bred alongside his Newfoundland cousin in of Canada’s quickly flourishing fishing communities, specifically conceived to work tirelessly among frigid waters of the area. These two breeds are the pinnacle of dog swimming; you’ll scarcely find a breed better suited for the water anywhere!
The lists below are by no means fully complete, but the top recommendations have been considered!
Top Canine Swimmers
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retriever
- Irish/English Setter
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Portuguese Water Dog
Keep in mind, however, where as some breeds may love the water, other breeds should be wary around water, or their owners should. Many a dog has drown because their owner neglected to properly research their individual requirements.
Many of the dogs listed below present short, stubby legs and barrel chested torsos, some with flat faces/noses to match. Some of them also are known for breathing difficulties. Breeds like the Pug or English Bulldog, for example, absolutely should not venture out into waters deeper than their body height; these two (and many others) have a terrible time attempting to swim and many have drowned.
Because they have been known to experience breathing difficulties, these two are advised against airline travel as well.
Dog Breeds Not Recommended for Water/Swimming
- Basset Hounds
- French Bulldogs
- Bull Terrier
- Chow Chow
To Sum It All Up
Dogs love experiencing the many scents and sounds of the great outdoors, but they are not mentally capable of the knowledge and experience regarding possible dangers humans are. Make sure the both of you are well prepared for your upcoming adventures!