For many dog lovers, no trip is complete without the companionship of your four-legged best friends, including adventures in the great outdoors.

One of the most popular things to do during the spring and summer months is to head out camping. Dogs can make wonderful hiking and camping buddies. This will get you started on knowing whether or not your dog is willing and ready for a camping trip, and how to prepare for and stay safe together while away.

Will your dog enjoy camping?
First, consider if your dog is a good candidate for camping. Ask yourself the following:
Is your dog easily stressed or excitable?
Is your dog difficult to handle when excited?
Does your dog get nervous around new people?
Does your dog tend to wander, or have escape tendencies?

If you answered yes to any of these, you might want to consider if your dog will really enjoy a camping trip. Being outdoors is highly stimulating and for a dog that is used to being indoors, it can be sensory overload and even frightening. However, it might be that your dog could enjoy camping but needs a little practice in getting ready.
Take time to get your dog used to being tied up or in a crate while you’re nearby, to simulate what it will be like when you’re in a campsite. Your dog might not be used to this, and will need practice in learning that everything is fine and dandy even if he is restrained as you move about.

Getting ready for the trip
Make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations, including rabies and distemper, and is up to date on heart worm medication.
Apply flea and tick medication on your dog. These pests pass a variety of diseases along to dogs, including Lyme disease.
If your dog is not already microchipped, consider getting this done before your trip. If your dog breaks away from the campsite and loses its tags, a microchip can help ensure he still gets home to you when found.
Packing list for your dog
Strong, fitted collar with ID tags to wear at all times
Sturdy 6-foot leash for walking
10-20 foot lead for being tied out
Harness for hiking or being tied out
Crate, if your dog is used to being crated
Stake for tying out your dog if there is nothing else around to use
Food and water dishes
Poop bags and, if needed, a smell-proof poop bag container
Brush and tick key for removing seeds, leaves and other debris or pests that get caught in fur
First aid kit. You can find pre-packed kits for sale online.