Happy Campers: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy the Great Outdoors With Your Dog

Keep Track of Your Pup: Camping is a great opportunity for your dog to explore and get some exercise — but it’s also an opportunity for him to get lost. Make sure that your dog is wearing an ID tag with at least two contact numbers — yours and one for a friend or relative who's not camping with you, in case your cell reception is spotty in the woods. You can also invest in a pet GPS tracking system that can ping your dog’s location on your smartphone. Finally, look into reflective safety gear, so you can see your pet — even at night.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate: “Similar to humans, water is the most important thing you need for your dog when you’re hiking or camping,” Hogarth says. “Dogs tend to overheat fast, which can cause them to lay down and get lazy.” Dr. Jones adds that it can also lead to heatstroke, so make sure that you pack a collapsible water bowl and bring plenty of water for everyone on the trip. “Dogs need more water and shade than you would expect,” Dr. Jones says.

Great Outdoors Doggie Gear

Fifty years ago, no one had even heard of a doggie backpack, much less a canine sleeping bag. But the camping industry has heeded the needs of its customers, producing plenty of gear to make camping more comfortable for your pup.

Although the following items aren’t necessities, if you plan to take multiple trips to the mountains, they might be worth the investment.

Footwear: You probably don’t want to hike barefoot — and chances are that your dog might not like it either. Booties can protect his sensitive paw pads from thorns, briars and other hazards on the ground.

Hands-Free Leash: If you're camping where strict leash laws are in place, consider a leash that wraps around your waist, so you can walk unencumbered.

Doggie Duvet: Don’t want to lug around a sleeping bag for your pup? Check out Molly Mutt’s outdoor, water-resistant duvet covers. “They roll up compactly,” Fadal says. “And you can stuff them with clothes to create a comfy bed for your dog.”

Cooling Accessories: If lots of hiking is on the agenda, water may not be enough to keep your dog cool and comfortable. You can consider a cooling mat system, like the K-9 Koolee, or a Kool collar, which you can pack with ice cubes or freezable gel packs.

Canine Backpack: Let Fido carry his own food and water with a satchel like the Ruffwear Approach Dog Pack.

In the Event of an Emergency . . .

No matter how prepared you are, accidents can always happen. If something bad should befall your pooch while you’re on the trail, keep a calm head, and then follow this advice from Dr. Jones: “Treat your animal as a human being — clear the airway first, and control the bleeding second. After you’ve gotten your pet settled, call for help immediately.”

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