What to Pack for your Dog
Just like you, your dog likes the comforts of home at the campground. Bring Fido's kennel or dog bed, a leash, and his food and water bowls. Bring his favorite dog toys for chewing around camp or chasing at the lake shore. Consider bringing a runner or stakes and cables, so your dog can be outside and free to roam around the campsite without wandering into the neighbor’s campsite. Bring treats for rewarding good behavior and any medications they may need. A nightlight for your dog’s collar is also a good idea, so you can see your dog at night.
Other essential items include a leash and collar or harness, a carrier or other means to confine your dog when necessary, bags to pick up your dog’s waste, a first aid kit and any medications your dog takes regularly.
Water: Set aside a collapsible or light plastic water bowl and water bottle for your dog right now. Carry a separate bottle of water for the dog, in addition to any you take for yourself. Dogs are unable to sweat, so rely on drinking water in order to cool down. During hikes, give your dog access to water any time you yourself take a break.
If you’re someone who loves camping, being able to share that experience with your dog might provide even more satisfaction. But before you take your pet with you, you should do some preparation.
While some dog owners choose to leave their dogs at home or board them in a kennel, dogs really love the outdoors and would love to be included in your next camping escape. Fido is, after all, a member of the family, isn’t he? But, there are a few things you’ll need to do first.
Have an appropriate collar or harness with an identification tag. Use a cell phone number where you can be reached at all times, not a home phone number, on the tag. Microchipping your dog will provide an additional measure of protection in the event that your dog becomes lost. Register the microchip – or make sure the information is up to date if your dog already has a chip — so that you can be contacted when your dog is located. Try our check list for dog camping.
State Parks: that are pet friendly
I have listed the parks in the Suwannee Valley Ares that are pet friendly below, there are only two.
Manatee Springs State Park
Suwannee River State Park
State Parks have their own dog regulations
Owners of pets, Florida Law requires vaccinated against rabies, must provide proof of rabies vaccination when registering to camp. All pets must be confined, leashed, or otherwise under the physical control of a person at all times. Leashes may not exceed six feet in length. Pets must be well behaved at all times. Pets must be confined in the owner’s camping unit during designated quiet hours. Unconfined pets may not be left unattended for more than 30 minutes and must be leashed. Pet owners shall pick up after their pets and properly dispose of all pet droppings in trash receptacles.
Pets which are noisy, vicious, dangerous, disturbing or intimidating to other persons, and pets which damage park resources are considered to be nuisances and will not be permitted to remain in the park.
Private Campgrounds that are pet friendly:
Some campgrounds have limits on the number of dogs per campsite or the size of the dog allowed. If you love your pooch and want to bring him along on your next camping trip, you can easily plan to go to a dog friendly destination, but it's best to know the campground’s pet policy before you arrive. Private campgrounds that allow pets are marked in red on my “Private Parks” page
Check Your Dog’s Vaccinations and Maintain Health Some parks or private campgrounds require up-to-date rabies vaccinations for all pets. And even if it isn’t required, most dog owners want to keep up on their pet’s vaccinations current regardless. So heading out on a camping trip is just a good reminder of maintaining pet health.
Make sure you refill any prescriptions or medications including vitamins and training treats before you head out on your camping trip. Finding a veterinarian on the road can be a hassle and may be more expensive. Also, if your destination is in an area that has fleas or ticks, make sure to get the appropriate prescriptions from your vet before you go. If you can prevent tick and flea infestation everyone will be happier. A healthy dog is a happy dog.
Your dog probably loves camping and the great outdoors as much as you do. If you plan to take your best friend on your next camping trip, make sure you plan ahead so everyone has a good time. Consider these tips and advice for camping with your dogs, so that you and your pooch are prepared for dog camping success.
The most important piece of training you need is a reliable recall. Does your dog come when you call? Even if there's other dogs around? Even if there's distractions? Work on him at a dog park to make him reliable and train him to come both when called, and to a dog whistle; the latter carries much further.
"Leave it" or some other command to stop what they're doing and drop what's in their mouth is also really important. On Saturday, a large snake crossed the trail right in front of us. Wiley went to go grab it, but stopped the second I shouted at him.
Teaching your dog to stay in a car until he's invited to come out is also going to be handy. You don't want him leaping out of the car and running around on the side of a busy road. On a long trip, it's nice to be able to access your luggage, sit on the tailgate and change your shoes or any such open-door activity without having to worry about your dog's safety.
The more commands your dog knows the better, but the most important thing is to use positive reinforcement, encouraging your dog to trust you and demonstrating your trust in him. It's a complex relationship that's about more than a dog doing what he's told. He needs to feel like keeping up with you and staying by your side is a fun thing for him to do.
Getting too cold or too hot is the fastest, easiest way for a human to die and the same thing goes for dogs. Spend less time worrying about rattlesnakes and grizzly bears and more time worrying about hyperthermia.
In the Summer
Plan hikes around water. If your dog has a readily accessible source of water to drink and splash around in, he won't overheat. Don't be tempted to shave your dog (although some very long haired dogs will benefit from a trim), hair acts like a radiator, helping them shed heat, in addition to protecting them from sunburn and scrapes from thorns and rocks. Keep an eye out for signs of overheating — coughing, laying down in the shade instead of keeping up, excessive panting, lethargy — and give your dog a break and water the second you see any of that occurring.
In the Winter
Don't think that your dog is immune to the cold just because he's wearing a fur coat. A spoiled housedog will adapt to moderate temperatures just like you do. If it's cold, keep them warm with a dog coat and look for signs of freezing — limping, shivering, walking hunched over — and get them to a warm place immediately. Snow, ice and the chemicals put down on roads and sidewalks to melt it all hurt a dog's paws. Booties are a great idea if you're going outside in cold weather. You can also help by keeping their paw fur trimmed (a hair trimmer works fine) or using a balm. Vaseline works too.
Also think about hydration and nutrition during the winter. Not all dogs know how to eat snow or want to. Like you, your dog will need more calories and more fat to stay warm when it's cold. A bouillon cube in warm water will get a dog to drink and warm them up before bed. They also need to get off the ground and under something warm just like you do.
Any time you're outside during twilight or full dark, you'll want to know where your dog is and allow other people to see him too. A flashing red light that hangs on his collar is the best way to do that. This $6 Nite Ize light has lived on Wiley's collar for the last 6 months or so. It still has its original batteries and works just fine. It's survived multiple trips, submersion in water and all the abuse you can imagine.
Backpacks for your Pet
On long hikes and multi-day trips, the weight of water and food and other supplies for your dog can really add up, so putting that on your pouches back might save yours. Dogs can safely carry up to 25 percent of their own body weight. I bought a cheap Outward Hound pack on Amazon for $30, like thr one below. I strapped it on my dog for his usual evening hike and carrying it became second nature.
With any pack, put most of the weight (the water) low and forward, over the dog's shoulders. Don't put anything in there that can't get banged around, shaken up and soaked in water. Packs with secure harnesses and carry handles are great for helping the dog through or over obstacles, but be sure to get a proper weight bearing harness and learn how to use it if you're going to be hoisting the dog anywhere on a rope.