Camping was traditionally a summer-centric activity in BC, but it has become common for residents to take to the woods deep into the autumn season. Some do so for peace and quite (as summer crowds have gone home) while others in certain regions (BC Interior) have had no choice, with wildfire restrictions limiting access to campgrounds through July and August. Whatever the case may be, you’ve got camping on the mind for the weeks ahead, and you plan on bringing one particular companion along for added comfort and warmth – your dog! Camping with your dog is a highly rewarding experience, and as one of BC’s top pet insurance providers we’re sharing helpful tips from our partner Pets Plus Us, to getting the most of the experience.
Four Enjoyable and Safe Activities to Enjoy With Your Dog When Camping in the Wilderness of Beautiful British Columbia
Take a Hike!
Access to hiking trails is one of the biggest draws of campgrounds throughout BC, and many of them are equally accommodating to those on four paws. It’s important to identify these ahead of time, or you could be forced to turn around and retreat. View this guide to dog friendly hiking trails in BC. And just like with people (you) pack an adequate supply of water (with a bowl) and treats to ensure that they stay hydrated, fed, and energetic throughout. If you have a smaller dog that can’t handle thick brush and notable gradients, you may consider a dog carrier backpack. You may shun such a thing in the city, but in the wild they do you and your precious pup a big favor.
BC campgrounds also boast access to amazing waterways (rivers, creeks, and lakes) that allow you to grab a kayak, canoe, or stand up board (SUP) and paddle. This is also a great shared activity to do with your dog! If they are not accustomed to the water, create a comfortable space for them (using their favorite blanket, etc.) in your kayak or canoe. This will help keep them from panicking and attempting to jump out and swim to shore. Be sure to buy them an appropriately sized personal floatation device (PFD) beforehand, and put it on them before paddling, no matter how great of a swimmer they may be. Remember to wear one too!
Cycling / Mountain Biking
Our province’s campgrounds also connect to cycling and mountain biking trails for those of all skill levels. Large dogs can run along side of you, while smaller dogs can be placed within a carrier backpack or even in a front basket. Choose pathways and trails that are less bumpy and have low gradient. Some of the same dog friendly hiking trails referenced in item #1 above accommodate biking as well.
Hanging Out by the Campfire
It’s not all about energy expending activities. Some of the best memories of camping are made on-site and around the fire. While you cozy up with s’mores, hot cocoa, and a good book, let your dog relax and roam safely around the premises. That said, do not let them off-leash. They may be well-trained and extremely obedient at home and at the local park, but when in a new environment the slightest rustle in the woods can have them rushing off to chase local wildlife. They can easily get lost, and may run into a furry adversary that is much more lethal than them. Instead, attach their leash to a spiral dog leash anchor that gives them plenty of freedom to explore, while limiting how far they can go.
Extra Tip: Inspect for Ticks and More
Anytime you and your dog venture into the BC wild, you should perform an inspection for ticks in addition to cuts and scrapes that they may have sustained. This inspection should occur immediately after each activity (hiking, biking, and paddling) and again before you cozy up together in the tent at night. Bring along some fine-point tweezers to pull ticks from their fur, along with any slivers and sharp thistles. Better yet, buy a tick removal kit for dogs from your local pet retailer. In addition, pack along a first aid kit that considers their needs, and take note of these poison prevention tips for good measure.
Lastly (and importantly), make sure your dog has access to the best possible medical care and treatment for injuries they may sustain while camping. View more on Pets Plus Us coverage which is available in BC via Park Insurance.
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