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Rocky View Publishing reporter finds it a breeze to camp with beloved pooches

By: Christina Waldner

  |  Posted: Thursday, Aug 07, 2014 10:28 am

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Anyone who knows me, knows I’m gaga about my dogs. So it should come as no surprise that my favourite way to vacation in the summer is to head out camping, small pooches in tow.

Now, I should probably admit that what my husband and I do could be more accurately described as “glamping;” we have a 30-foot trailer with a couch, electric awning, air conditioning, and 29-inch Smart TV. It’s not exactly roughing it.

However, I’ve done my time in a tent, sleeping on an air mattress that inevitably loses all its air. I like my trailer. And as it turns out, so do my dogs.

I’m no expert, but I have learned through experience there are some important things to consider when camping with dogs to make sure you all have a good time and you don’t get yourself thrown out of the campground.

First, get them used to the trailer/tent/tent trailer, whatever it is you’re using. For us, this meant taking them on short trips not too far from home the first few times we went camping. We bring a few of their toys so it feels like they haven’t completely gone to a different universe and there are some familiar scents.

The five year old quickly figured out the couch was a comfy place to lounge while the eight year old prefers looking out the screen door. I think he’s watching for squirrels. He’s very fond of squirrels.

Bring bottled water. You never know if the water in the campground is going to upset their stomachs and there’s nothing worse than being awoken in the middle of the night to the sound of a dog throwing up on your sleeping bag. Trust me. It’s happened.

Figure out the best way to have them outside with you. For us, this means bringing an x-pen; one of those metal kennels that folds down for easy storage and packing. Ours is big enough for both of them. It keeps them from getting their leashes tangled around trees, bushes or the legs of a lawn chair, (because that has ended badly in the past…)

We’ve also seen people rig up an ingenious system where they string a rope between two trees and attach their dog’s leash to that so they can run back and forth between the trees. The x-pen just works better for our couch potatoes.

We also invested in an RV rug. It’s a wondrous thing. Impervious to mould, we can leave it outside even when it’s raining, put the x-pen on top of it and puppy paws won’t get horribly muddy or dirty. When we were looking for our latest trailer, we also made sure it had an outdoor shower. Great for rinsing off paws that have done a little exploring.

Many campgrounds have rules about dogs, and you may have to pay extra to bring them with you. Most of the rules we’ve encountered have been about excessive barking, picking up after your dog and where you can walk them in the campground. We’ve never stayed at a campground where we were able to leave the dogs in the trailer while we went off somewhere else.

All in all, camping with our dogs is enjoyable. We get to unwind, they get a lot of extra walks; it’s win/win.

We’re about to head out to Chain Lakes Provincial Park for a week, and I can’t wait to spend the time with Stuart and Aberdeen and my husband, relaxing on the RV rug, under the electric awning….

It’s “ruff” but somebody has to do it.


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