Taking your dog on a camping trip often sounds fun. After all, who doesn’t want to show their dog all the interesting sights and sounds this world has to offer?
However, taking your dog camping is absolutely not for every person or canine. Sometimes, the cons simply outweigh the pros.
Before taking your canine on any camping trip, we highly recommend that you take the time to consider both the pros and cons of the situation. After all, you don’t want to hastily take your dog on a trip only to find out that it absolutely wasn’t for you.
Pros of Camping with Your Dog
Of course, there are several benefits to taking your dog camping.
When you take your dog camping, you will always have a friend there when you need them. While human friends can provide companionship as well, they aren’t always as into camping as we are – or as available as our canines.
On the other hand, our dogs are always ready and willing to go camping with us. Plus, they can’t exactly say no either.
Therefore, if you’re looking for companionship, you can’t really beat a dog.
No Pet Sitter Needed
When you go camping without your dog, you’ll likely need to hire a pet sitter or board your dog. This can cost quite a bit of money. However, if you take your dog with you, you won’t have to worry about these extra costs.
Therefore, bringing your dog camping with you may save you a bit of money. Plus, you won’t have to worry about finding and going through the hiring process with a pet sitter. That’s one less thing for you to worry about.
However, if you have to purchase a bunch of extra equipment or pay extra at the campground for your pet, you may not actually save that much money. Therefore, we recommend doing your research before assuming that you’ll save money by taking your dog with you.
Sometimes, your dog may provide you with an extra level of safety. Many predators will be fearful of dogs, which will keep them away from your campsite. Similarly, scavengers like raccoons will often steer clear of dogs as well.
Plus, having an extra set of eyes and ears is always nice.
With that said, you shouldn’t rely on your dog too much for safety. Most dogs are not cut out to be guard dogs. Plus, your dog should not have the extra weight of guarding your campsite put on their shoulders.
While your dog may alert you to dangers while camping, you shouldn’t count on it.
The majority of dogs in the United States are obese. In many cases, these dogs do not get enough exercise. Therefore, taking your dog camping is a solid way to ensure that they are meeting all of their exercise needs.
Of course, you shouldn’t push your dog too hard during these camping trips, especially if they aren’t used to regular exercise. Overexercising your canine can lead to serious problems down the line. In some breeds, it may lead to exercise-induced exhaustion, for instance.
Cons of Camping with Your Dog
With all that said, there are also several reasons why you may not want to take your dog camping.
One More Thing to Worry About
When you take your dog camping, it adds something else to your list that you have to worry about. If you’re going camping for a vacation, then you may get less relaxation time if you’re worried about your dog.
Of course, your situation will dictate how much worrying you end up doing. If your dog is well-trained and has gone camping before, you probably have a system in place. However, if this is your first time taking your dog camping, you’ll likely be doing a lot of worrying and figuring things out – which isn’t what everyone wants to do on their vacation.
When you take your dog camping, you’ll likely need quite a bit of gear. Your usual leash probably isn’t going to cut it, for instance. Plus, you’ll likely want to purchase a harness for your dog since pulling on your dog’s leash all day isn’t exactly recommended.
Furthermore, there are lots of other optional options you may need to purchase. Many people invest in playpens for their dogs, which allows them to spend some time off-leash in a safe environment.
You should also think about where your dog is going to sleep. Portable food and water dishes are often required as well. While these don’t cost a lot of money, the cost can add up quickly.
Dogs that go hiking or camping are also going to need some extra training. Of course, these dogs should not be reactive or aggressive and already have some basic manners and obedience commands. They should walk nicely on a leash, for instance, even when there are lots of interesting things to see and smell.
On top of these basic commands, your dog should also have a reliable recall preferably. You never know when your dog is going to get away from you while out in the woods. Therefore, it is essential that you can trust your dog to come back when called.
A reliable recall is a very difficult command for your dog to master, but it will make your life much easier while camping. Even if your dog does reliable come back, though, we don’t recommend allowing them to wander around off-leash. It is best not to push matters, especially when the consequence is potentially losing your dog forever.
Similarly, you will also need to familiarize your dog with the gear they’ll see while camping, such as the tent. If you expect your dog to sleep in the tent, you should consider getting into the tent long before your camping trip. After all, you don’t want them to be fearful of the tent while you’re trying to get them to sleep in it!
In many cases, it is also in your best interest to have a few practice runs before the big day. You should take your dog hiking at least a little bit, especially if they’ve never gone before. You can use this opportunity to try out your new gear as well and ensure that it works properly.
Sometimes, you may even want to consider sleeping in the tent one night with your dog to acclimate them to the experience.
All of this training can be challenging and time-consuming. However, without it, your camping trip likely won’t go as smoothly as you’d otherwise planned.
Taking your dog camping can be an exciting, fun time if everything works out. However, that doesn’t mean you should rush to take your dog camping in the first place. Sometimes, the situation or dog just isn’t suitable for camping together.
There are pros and cons to taking your dog or leaving them at home. Generally, what decision you make will largely be affected by their level of training. If your dog is already well-trained, then taking them camping will be easy. Otherwise, you have a lot of work to do beforehand, and you may very well decide that it isn’t worth it.
Plus, you have to consider the possibility of purchasing tons of gear, as well as your dog’s experience level on the trail.