Summer is quickly approaching and before you know it, people will be out in droves to enjoy the great outdoors. Camping is a beloved pastime for families and more people embrace dogs being part of the family – they are naturally tagging along on summer camping trips.

Before you load your dog and hit the road toward the woods, make sure you’re well-prepared for everything he’ll need out in the wilderness.

1.       Water jug and bowls
This is obviously and probably already number one on your packing list. But it’s worth reiterating that your dog will need something to drink, plus something to eat/drink out of. There’s a variety of travel jugs out there to house water for your furry friend, as well as durable and collapsible bowls that save on room and are lightweight. This is particularly helpful if you’re doing rugged camping that requires some hiking.

2.       Crate
While this may not be needed for every dog, a lightweight, foldable crate can be a true gift when camping with an inexperienced dog, or in a potentially dangerous/crowded location. Anything can happen and sometimes dogs just need a safe, secure place they can be placed. Some tent-like crates offer added peace of mind while protecting your dog from the elements.

3.       Dog boots
Depending on where you’re camping, the terrain could wreak havoc on your pup’s paws. Stocking a pair of latex boots can keep your dog comfortable on jagged rocks, through a water crossing, and across hot pavement. It’s recommended to pack them no matter the circumstances should you need them – even in emergency situations where your dog cuts his paw. Having boots for him on hand can help prevent infection and keep the wound from getting dirty.

4.       Cooling mat
Whether your dog is a seasoned camper or a rookie, the heat can take a toll. When you don’t have access to cooling methods like air conditioning, you need to consider how you’ll help your pet beat the heat. Self-cooling mats are a wonderful, transportable option that requires no prep. The gel in these mats cools on contact and is an efficient way for your pooch to get comfortable.

For those with breeds that have heavy coats or smushed faces, this is especially important to bring along. It’s also a great way for dogs with arthritis to recover from all the activity of camping.

5.       Bug spray
Bugs are probably the worst part of camping. Mosquitos, ticks, spiders, and bees can become a problem if you’re not prepared. So, just like you bring bug spray for yourself – grab some for your dog. For the minimal cost, it’s worth it to know your dog is protected from potentially harmful diseases transmitted by ticks and mosquitos. Take it one step further by ensuring your dog is up to date on his flea and tick medicine before heading out to the camping grounds.

No matter where you travel with your dog this summer, be prepared and travel safely!