By Mat Coulton, Guest Blogger

If you’re planning a family vacation that includes outdoor adventuring this summer, be sure to take into account your four-legged family members. A happy pup will make for a better trip for everyone – so before you tie down the kayak and top off the cooler, add these dog-friendly items to your camping gear.

Doggy-safe toys

It’s tempting to imagine that the family dog will spend the entire vacation romping off-leash in a wild environment practically tailor-made for dogs. However, there are plenty of things you don’t want your furry friend getting into, and the best way to make sure she stays safe is to provide plenty of puppy-approved toys to keep her occupied on the trip.

Pack some favorite safe chew toys to deter your pup from gnawing on sticks, which present a splinter hazard. Antler chews, Kongs, Nylabones or Flossy Chews can help keep your dog happy and occupied by the campfire.

Flea and tick prevention

Bug protection is a given when packing for your camping trip, since no one likes dealing with pesky mosquito bites. While you have pest prevention on your mind, take care to protect your dog as well. Flea and tick prevention is critical in many parts of the country, especially since ticks can be carriers of diseases such as Lyme’s Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other dangerous illnesses.

Safe and effective flea, mosquito and tick control for your dog will keep him safe and make sure he’s not dragging ticks from the woods into camp or your sleeping quarters. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best parasite-prevention strategy for your pets, and be sure to check your dog for ticks after hiking or exploring an area where ticks might be present.

Comforts of home

Although your dog may love the extra exercise and fun that comes with exploring hiking trails and going for a swim in the lake, it’s easy to get overstimulated — and dogs need more sleep than humans, requiring an average of 12-14 hours of sleep per day. Make sure you pack some of the comforts of home so that your pup can relax back at camp and save up some energy for tomorrow’s activities.

If your dog is crate trained, a foldable travel crate will give her a place to chill out while you’re at camp. Be sure to pack extra towels and blankets so that you can keep the bedding in her kennel clean and dry, even if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

First aid

Chances are you already have some first aid gear tucked away with your camping equipment. This year, when you check your supplies, make sure to add a few dog-friendly items to be prepared in the event of an emergency. Here are some supplies to add to your first aid kit:

  • Styptic Powder: Your dog may not be used to the rough terrain of the hiking trails. A common injury on the trail is popped toenails, which can bleed profusely. This powder will help you stop the bleeding fast!
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Make sure to have some of this liquid in your kit. It can be used in small doses to safely induce vomiting in the event that your pet gets into wild mushrooms or other potential toxins that can be found outdoors.
  • Vet Tape: This special tape is great for people and canines. It is a non-sticky tape that grips when wound with tension, allowing you to quickly stabilize an injury or cover a wound until you can get to the vet for expert care.
  • Muzzle: Although it may be hard to imagine, having a muzzle in your first aid kit may be a life saver. Injured dogs can become very frightened and lash out from pain, even with those trusted family members trying to help them. A nylon muzzle may come in handy to make sure you can get your companion the help he needs in an emergency.

Pet policies and safety

One final box to check before setting off on your summer vacation: do some research to plan around your dog’s needs. If you are planning on staying at a national park, have you called ahead to find out more about the pet policies? What activities will your dog be able to join in on? Will she have to stay home during the fishing expedition?

Be sure you have a plan for safe containment in case there are other dogs or environmental factors she reacts to, and always take temperature safety precautions for your pet to prevent hyperthermia and dehydration. Take a little time to make sure your itinerary includes a good balance of activity and rest for your companion so everyone can enjoy the time in nature!

Learn more about summer safety tips for pets, including travel-friendly pet apps, in our Resource Library.


Mat Coulton has worked with dogs for just under a decade and is the founder of Wiley Pup, a doggy lover’s website that provides great tips and advice for pet parents everywhere. He can be best contacted on his email