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Sep 1, 2022

6 min. read

There are few excursions more dog-friendly than a camping trip. But once the tent is pitched, what’s your pet to do?

Here’s how to put canine fun front and centre on your next outdoor trip.

Before you go

Confirm your campground allows pets and if tags, a pet licence or proof of vaccinations are required on-site.

If you haven’t taken your dog camping before, consider a trial run to familiarize your pet with being inside your tent or recreational vehicle (RV).

Pack their bed, blanket, toys and treats as well as any medication they’ll need for the duration of the trip, plus an extra few days.

Ensure your dog is protected against ticks, fleas and other parasites. Bring a pet-friendly mosquito repellent and de-skunking shampoo too.

Know where the closest animal hospital is and keep the phone number handy in case of an emergency.

Hike and explore

New sights, smells and textures make for a walk to remember. Take them on a walk to explore their new surroundings.

But like us, dogs can suffer from heat stroke and exhaustion, so avoid strenuous activity in extreme heat.

Rest in the shade often and have a collapsible bowl and fresh water for them. Don’t allow your pet to drink water from the trail, which can contain harmful bacteria.

If you have a larger dog, outfit them with a dog pack, which allows them to carry their own dish, water, food and first aid kit. Distribute the weight so it’s well balanced and comfortable for them to walk. It shouldn’t hang low enough to rub against their legs.

Allow free time

Let your pet wander while you supervise. Abide by the campground’s on-leash areas and keep them under control.

Consider a tether attached to a stake or large tree to offer your dog some room to roam.

A portable pen is another option for smaller dogs.

Make sure they don’t eat anything they find. Some plants and fungi that grow in northern Ontario are poisonous to pets.

Enjoy a meal outside

There’s nothing like cooking alfresco, and while it may be tempting to offer your four-legged friend a bite of your dinner, don’t. Avoid feeding them new foods while away from home as it may cause them an upset stomach.

Feed your pet his normal diet and take care with your leftovers, storing food scraps in an airtight container so they can’t get at them.

Hit the beach

If a lake or beachside retreat is on the itinerary, put a personal flotation device(PFD) on your dog, whether they’re a good swimmer or not.

The PFD’s bright colours will enable you to spot them better in the water.

Sensory games

Your dog will love all the new smells—good, bad and questionable—in the great outdoors.

Play a game with your pet by hiding treats in small cardboard boxes placed around your campsite. As they get better at finding them, close the box lids.

However you choose to spend your trip, pet-friendly campgrounds are full of opportunities for you and your dog to bond and experience new things together.

Keep your pets safe

Before you head out on your camping trip, have peace of mind with pet insurance from CAA’s partner, Pets Plus Us. The proper coverage may help with the cost of veterinary care and medical expenses for your dog or cat, including medications, emergency care and even surgery. CAA Members enjoy exclusive discounts on pet insurance policies. To get a quote today, visit caasco.com/insurance/pet.

Image credit: ArtistGNDphotography/iStock

Terms and Conditions

The information herein is summarized. All Pet Insurance plans have limitations and exclusions. Specific products, features, rates, and discounts may vary by province, eligibility, and are subject to change. For the terms and conditions, click here.

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