By Dana Botz, Minnesota Girl Camper Guide
The following is a semi-serious accounting of camping with a dog.
Everyone seems to have questions about how to go camping with a dog, but it’s actually quite easy when you realize that your dog is in charge and your job is to serve him. My husband and I used to travel frequently, but then COVID hit and we were in a lockdown. I did exactly what everyone recommended that you shouldn’t do: I bought a puppy. Enter Duke, a cream sable Pomeranian.
How The Problem Started
We spent every waking (and sleeping) hour with Duke during the COVID pandemic. I even took him to Las Vegas with me! He did well on the plane if he could sit on my lap. However, the airline rules required him to be in his kennel under the seat, which was not ideal for him nor me. The little guy cried because we were physically separated, and I worried that his crying would disturb the other passengers. Airplane travel came to an end. Then, we tried boarding him while we traveled. Twice he returned home with canine infectious tracheobronchitis (kennel cough), and the last time he came home dropping big patches of fur and weight loss. So, we did what any good dog parents would do. We bought him a Coachmen Beyond RV and decided to go camping with our dog. Actually, he lets us take him camping.
Let’s Go Camping
He loves his new RV and he loves camping! I think he would drive the camper if he could, but he either rides in his bed between the two front seats or on my lap. At night, he sleeps in bed with us. This might not work for all families, but it’s what he allows, and we are grateful to be able to sleep on the bed with him (joking?). He, also, allows us to prepare him food, while he supervises. Duke likes to go sightseeing and he spent his third birthday in Laurel, Mississippi where he visited the Scotsman Woodshop (https://www.laurelmercantile.com/collections/scotsman-woodshop) and he went to his favorite restaurant for breakfast—The Cracker Barrel (eggs and bacon for him, a mimosa for me). Camping with a dog is enjoyable for all of us–especially for Duke. He gets lots of treats and attention, long walks, and long naps. It’s a dogs life!
In all seriousness, it’s nice to travel with a dog, especially when I am camping by myself. He alerts me when anyone is in the vicinity, and he is very protective of his family and his camper. Duke is excellent company, and he makes me laugh every single day with his antics. He gets us out of the RV to take him on frequent long walks, which gives us the opportunity to meet new people as everyone loves a goofy little dog.
Lastly, it is important to plan ahead when camping with a dog. We bring extra food and treats. Plan for the extra time required for toileting breaks. It helps to look for dog parks on your planned trip. We use the BringFido app (https://www.bringfido.com/) to find dog parks, pet-friendly restaurants, pet sitters, doggie daycare, veterinarians, pet-friendly stores, tours, etc. Don’t forget to bring a copy of your dog’s immunizations.