Camping can be a great experience and adventure for you and your Pyr. Keep in mind, though, that not all dogs make great camping companions. Consider the age and temperament of your dog, their level of protectiveness, how reactive they might be to other dogs and how vocal and stressed they can become around other dogs or people. Seasoned Pyr travelers suggest keeping travel days short as dogs can get grumpy on drives longer than four hours. And when you arrive, think location, location, location! Choose spots in less heavily tracked camping areas so foot traffic and other dogs don’t set your Pyr alarm off barking, especially in the middle of the night.
Plan ahead and be sure your dog is allowed in the area you plan to visit. In New York State, the following rules apply to dogs in state campgrounds. Check the state or the campground you plan to visit for their regulations and for breed or weight restrictions.
• Proof of a valid rabies inoculation must be provided before any dog is allowed in a campground. (Keeping a paper copy with you at all times is preferable to a stranger reaching for your dog's collar.)
• A rabies certificate or tag dated for the current year are acceptable forms of proof.
• Dogs and other pets are not permitted at the beach, in picnic areas, or in any building.
• Pets must be confined or leashed to restrict them to the campsite of the owner.
• Dogs cannot be left unattended. Barking or vicious dogs must be removed from the campground.
• Dogs may be walked on a leash no longer than 6 feet, provided they are under control at all times.
• Dog owners must properly dispose of their animal’s excrement.
Bring plenty of doggy bags, as waste management is a major reason non-dog owners may be offended by your pet’s presence. Plan any activities with your dog in mind, and have a backup plan if weather, injuries or other external factors cause your plans to fall through. Never leave your dog unattended. It goes without saying that even when you’re with your dog at a campsite, always keep them on a leash, or tethered and supervised. Some campgrounds allow you to use X-pens, which will keep smaller dogs and children from running up to your dog or cutting through your campsite. Most campgrounds won’t let you leave your dog, even in a trailer, when you leave so you need a plan for sightseeing and shopping. Certain collars, leads or harnesses can be appropriate at different times, so pack a variety to suit the situation. Be sure your dog’s ID tags are UTD and readable with your cell (not home) phone number in case your dog gets lost.
When you are out and about, be sure your dog has access to clean water at all times and avoid letting them drink from streams. Giardia is a serious parasitic disease your dog can get by drinking water which has been contaminated by feces. If you’re hiking, bring lots of water for your dog and pack a travel water bowl, too. Dogs overheat much more quickly than we do, so you will need to anticipate their needs, especially on warmer days. Access to shade is important for dogs as well. If you’re planning to hike, reading maps and understanding the elevations you may encounter is key. Scaling some rock faces can be challenge for bigger dogs, who may need to be lifted to the next level.
Campers should always check with the office/management about what wildlife may frequent the campsite. You never know who might be around! In Wyoming (near Grand Teton National Park), moose are common in the area. But surprises do happen. Walking around early in the morning, a couple out with their Pyr accidentally startled a mama with her two calves. Luckily, she was used to being near people and didn't get too upset. They were probably more surprised than she was and quickly steered their dog in a different direction!
Always pack enough of your dog’s food for the entire trip, plus some extra for emergencies. And don’t forget extra doggy treats, although like any food they should never be left in a tent since the treats could attract other critters. Make sure your dog’s antiparasitic treatments are fully up to date. In areas where there are lots of ticks, you may want to research and upgrade your parasitic treatment. Many places in the East are inundated with ticks, especially in the Spring and Fall. A regular checking of your dog’s coat and skin is important, especially around the ears and head where ticks tend to lodge.Be prepared and bring along a doggy first aid kit, as you may not have immediate access to a vet. You may want to scope out where the closest emergency clinic is, too. Just in case. Helpful items to bring along with you can include:
• A slip lead
• A tick remover
• An emergency blanket
• A soft muzzle to make transport easier, in case you need to move the dog when injured
• Bandages or vet wrap
• Scissors and self-adhesive tape
• An antiseptic, such as hydrogen peroxide
• An antihistamine like Benadryl
• Antibiotic spray or wipes
• Any medication your dog requires
Trying to make your pet as comfortable as possible may include packing his or her doggy bed. A travel harness or crate for traveling are other considerations, and you may even want to bring along a cooling vest or mat when it’s warmer out. Camping is a great way to get away and spent time with your dog. A little planning and research can go a long way into making your trip safe and enjoyable for you and your pooch.