Who likes the outdoors and camping? For starters, I do. I love to be outside and find different campgrounds to try out each year. What could make spending time out of doors even better, you ask? Bringing your dog along for the ride of course. Lux (my dog) and I love to relax around a campsite and take in all that nature has to offer us. Have you thought about bringing your dog camping but just don’t know where to begin? Well, you are in luck, because in this article Lux and I are going to share our experiences and give you a great place to start.

The first step is to find a campground to visit that allows your fur baby to stay with you. There is a great resource I found online recently that lists them all out for you. The website is called BringFido.com. This site even has the campgrounds webpage attached to a link so you can see what the place is like and book your spot. Some of the places that Lux and I have visited lately are Menomonee Park, Pike Lake State Park, and Kohler-Andrae State Park. All of them were relatively close by and had wonderful places to walk with your dog. A few of the places we are planning to visit soon include Governor Dodge, and Devils Lake State Park.

Something to check out when you are researching a campground is where your dog is allowed to go. Some places will only allow the dogs to be in the actual camping area and others have dedicated trails to walk or certain areas the dogs can swim in. Make sure you are abiding by the rules of the park as many of the state-run parks may issue you a fine or seize the dog and treat them as a stray. The main rule to follow is to have your dog on a leash no longer than 8 feet at all times to maintain control of your dog. Pet waste must be disposed of properly and you should be sticking to the designated pet use areas. The full list of rules is listed in-depth on the Wisconsin department of natural resources page. Another good thing is to make sure your dog is fully vaccinated and licensed in your county.

So, you have picked out a campground and reserved your site; all you have to do now is pack. Here is a checklist that I use for Lux.

 Heartworm & Flea/tick prevention

 Tie out stake

 8 Ft. Line

 Leash for walks

 Poop Bags

 Food/ Water Bowls

 Dog Food

 Medications

 Dirt-resistant mat

 First aid kit

 Treats or Chew bone

 Dog Towel

Let’s go over the items on this list quickly. Why would it be important for my dog to be on heartworm and flea/tick prevention? Especially in the summer, there are a lot of insects which can carry many diseases with them. Mosquitos are the culprit that carry heartworms and will spread them to your dog if they take a blood meal. Fleas and ticks are all over the forest floor and vegetation and can spread diseases. Fleas can spread tapeworms, and ticks can spread diseases such as Lyme, anaplasma, or ehrlichia.

A tie-out stake (the corkscrew things you put in the ground) and 8 ft line is great to set up and leave at the campsite. A regular 6ft leash and poop bags are great for walking about the parks. Make sure you are picking up after your dog when they go number two- both to be a kind neighbor and to all the other campers in the park. Some parks do allow your dog to be off-leash while they are swimming but that means you must be able to have them under verbal control. A ranger may step in if they believe you do not have sufficient control over your dog’s behavior. Also, after a refreshing swim, you will want a towel to dry your dog off a bit. A wet dog smell in a tent would be awful.

Lux would be upset with me if I forgot to bring his food along with us. Giving your doggo people food as a small treat while you are camping is fine but changing up their food quickly, and especially to a higher fat content, can upset our dog’s tummy. No one wants to deal with dog diarrhea in the middle of the night. Also, if you have an older dog like Lux, they likely have a few arthritis medications like carprofen to make them feel more comfortable. Laying around on the hard ground can definitely make those arthritis symptoms worse. That is why I also like to bring a dog bed along for Lux to make sure he is extra comfy.

Last, but not least, would be to have a first aid kit handy. Lux and I like to do a lot of hiking on the trails and I like to be ready for any cut or scrape he or I might get. There are companies that make pre-packed first aid kits for dogs but here is a list of the objects I have in mine.

  • Roll gauze
  • Vet wrap
  • Quick Clot or Bleed clot
  • pet Alcohol pads
  • Scissors
  • Saline for eyes
  • Hemostat
  • Tweezers (ticks)
  • Olive or Baby oil (ticks)

Camping with your dog can be a lot of fun especially if you are well prepared. Lux loves to sneak a marshmallow or two while we make smores around the fire and then walk those calories off the next day by going for a long walk in the woods. We would love to hear your camping stories and the places you enjoy going to the most. So go out this summer and enjoy the outdoors and a cozy campfire.