Getting out in nature with your Pitbull can be one of the most enjoyable experiences you can have. Going for hikes, playing in a nearby creek, or just relaxing and enjoying a warm summer evening together. Getting away for a weekend or longer can require some extra planning however.
Are Pitbulls good camping dogs? As a general rule Pitbulls can be great dogs for camping when they are well trained and you are adequately prepared for the trip. Pitbulls that enjoy the outdoors will love camping when a trip is thoroughly planned with their safety, comfort, and behavior in mind.
Like any trip, planning is crucial to having a safe and enjoyable experience. There are several things you must keep in mind when planning to take your Pitbull camping. In this post I will cover some of the most important tips you need to make sure you and your Pitbull have a good camping trip.
How Can I Take My Pitbull Camping?
There are several things you must have ready before leaving with your Pitbull on a camping trip. Proper training, supplies, and knowledge of your destination. Research the area where you will be camping. Wildlife, vegetation, and the local laws that may prohibit your Pitbull need to be researched first.
Training & Recall
Before you even consider taking your Pitbull camping you must first ensure they have good training. Recall skills will be among some of the most important. You will be in a wilderness area most likely and your Pitbull’s ability to “come” when called is important for everyone’s safety.
There are a lot of amazing smells, wildlife, and potential other people and pets in your camping area. Your Pitbull should have excellent recall skills with all of these distractions present.
Research Your Destination
Learning the local laws and policies of the area you plan to camp is crucial. This research should definitely be done well ahead of book your camping spot and hitting the road. Some campgrounds prohibit dogs, and unfortunately some specific breeds of dogs, namely Pitbull types.
Certain states, counties, provinces, and municipalities may also have restrictions on certain breeds of dogs. Breed specific legislation is in place in many different parts of many countries. Look up the local laws, policies, rules and regulations before planning to camp with your Pitbull.
Finding A Good Spot
Getting the perfect camping spot should be made with your Pitbull in mind. Making sure that they have adequate access to shade, places to rest, and enough room to safely walk around the campsite are important.
Pitbulls are sensitive to the heat and the cold and it is your job to ensure they can be comfortable. In situations where the days are hot and the evenings are cool, you need to pack the proper supplies to ensure they can cool off and stay warm throughout the different times of day.
Things like extra blankets, cooling mats, umbrellas to create shady spots to relax, and a comfortable dog bed are all things to consider packing.
Prepare For The Weather
Mother nature can be wonderful. That’s why many of us enjoy camping so much. We also know that she can get pretty nasty very quickly. Preparing for the weather to keep your Pitbull dry, comfortable, cool or warm needs to be a part of your camping preparation.
Rain gear, extra towels, adequate shelter, and access to areas to warm up or cool down should be thought out beforehand. Bring a rain jacket for your Pitbull to use on those wet days. Pack extra towels to dry them off. Keep extra blankets handy for those chilly nights, and keep them out of the sun and in a cool spot for those blazing hot days.
Keep A First Aid Kit
Accidents can happen at any time, especially while out camping. Keeping a dog first aid kit available is important. Scraps and cuts are common injuries for Pitbulls camping and exploring the wilderness, but you also have to consider other potential hazards.
Certain types of plants and animals can give your dog an allergic reaction. Hot coals spitting out from a campfire can cause burns. Debris from dirt, dust, and vegetation can cause eye irritations or injuries. Having an adequate first aid kit can keep you prepared for anything and everything.
Arca has a terrific travel first aid kit available that has everything you need. From the basic bandage materials, to a pet thermometer, tick remover, and emergency collar. Lightweight, and easy to pack for your camping trip.
Beware Of Wildlife
Wildlife big and small are a reality when camping. Keeping your campsite safe from unwanted visitors is basic camping safety. Keeping food secure and out of reach from the local wildlife is one precaution that will be needed.
Many Pitbulls have a fairly high prey drive, and little critters like squirrels, skunks, and raccoons can send your dog off into the woods. This is where strong recall training becomes very important. Injuries to your dog or wildlife can happen very quickly when your Pitbull gives chase.
Research the local wildlife in your camping area and take the necessary precautions. Avoiding interactions with wildlife is a top priority.
Keep Your Pitbull Secure & Safe
There will be times during your camping trip when you can’t watch your Pitbull. During these times it is very important that you have a way to secure your Pitbull in the camping site. I recommend you never leave your Pitbull unattended alone at your campsite. The chances of them escaping the site or being stolen are too high to risk.
Many campgrounds have leash requirements when it comes to dogs. Keeping a tether and long leash on your Pitbull when you are at your campsite is the best way to ensure they have room to move, but are secure and safe within your sight.
Bring your Pitbull inside at night when camping. Whether you’re sleeping in a tent, trailer, or RV, never leave your Pitbull outside unattended. There are numerous things that could go wrong in this situation. From escaping the campsite, to dog theft, to being attacked by other wildlife. Keep your Pitbull inside with you.
It is a good idea to have a current picture of your Pitbull before you head off camping. In the unfortunate event of your Pitbull escaping you will need help finding them. A picture can help others keep a lookout.
Bring A Life Jacket
When camping anywhere near a body of water it is important that water safety is top of mind. Bring a life jacket for your Pitbull to keep them safe from accidents around water. Whether they like to swim, or just hang out around the shore, always have a life jacket on your Pitbull when near water.
Keep Them Clean
It is no secret that camping can be a little dirty. Out in the wilderness you are surrounded by all kinds of dirt, dust, debris, allergens, and bugs. Keep your Pitbull clean and tidy by packing some basic grooming supplies. Especially some hypoallergenic pet wipes.
Cleaning the dirt, grime, and dust off your Pitbull is important while camping. They will collect a lot more filth than usual and this can lead to skin problems, eye problems, ear problems, and general mess inside your tent or trailer.
Bring a good dog brush, some pet wipes, and a bottle of shampoo with you on your camping trip. A good daily wipe down and brushing can make camping with your Pitbull a little more enjoyable for everyone.
My go-to wipes have always been the Earth Rated Dog Wipes. They are hypoallergenic, environmentally friendly, and overall an amazing dog wipe. I use these all the time on my Staffy and Pocket Bully. They are a great product at a fantastic price point on Amazon.
Avoid Poisonous Plants
Do some research about the area you plan to camp with your Pitbull. Knowing the local environment and the many natural wild plants can help prevent all sorts of problems. Certain vegetation can spell disaster for your dog. Toxic ingestion, skin irritation and respiratory issues can arise if your Pitbull gets into the wrong plant.
Know what to look for and keep your Pitbull away from these plants while camping. You can also pick up a handy guide book to carry with you on the fly to identify common problem plants. These are some of the more common poisonous wild plants for Pitbulls.
- Skunk Cabbage
- Death Camas
- Autumn Crocus
- Lily of the Valley
- Wild Mushrooms
- Velvet Grass
- Corn Cockle
- Black Walnut
- Common Tansy
- Poison Hemlock
- Water Hemlock
If you think your Pitbull has come into contact with any of these plants contact your Vet or a local 24 hour emergency clinic immediately. Take pictures of the plant your suspect your Pitbull has eaten or come into contact with.
I would highly recommend getting the book “Poisonous to Pets: Plants Poisonous to Dogs and Cats” to keep with you while camping. This is a great resource with large photographs and descriptions of various toxic plants, reactions, and threat levels.
Keep Your Pitbull Visible
Going camping is all about escaping those city lights and sitting out under the stars. This means keeping your Pitbull visible, especially at night, a top priority. There are a variety of excellent LED collars, harnesses and leashes available that you can put on your Pitbull to keep them seen in the dark.
Keeping your Pitbull visible is not only important for their safety, but yours as well. Walking around the campfire at night and tripping over your unseen Pitbull can spell certain disaster.
The Blazin’ Safety LED Dog Collar & Leash are fantastic products you can grab off Amazon for a good price. These LED lights are visible up to 350 yards, durable, and have 3 settings for strob, blink, and constant.
Pitbulls can make some of the best camping companions. The zest for life and energy of a Pitbull is perfect for the avid camper. Plan ahead to ensure you have the best and safest time imaginable.
Run through this post as a checklist before your next camping trip. Aside from the usual toys, bowls, food, and kongs, make sure you are packing all of your Pitbulls camping gear. Hope for the best, but always plan for the worst.
When you have adequately researched your camping location and planned to keep your Pitbull safe, comfortable and happy, camping with your Pitbull can be an amazing experience. Stay safe, and have fun!