Doubts About Camping with Dogs

DEAR PAW4PETS: We’re planning a multi-family, end-of-summer camping trip and would like to bring our two dogs, Reilly and Quark. Our worry is that there will be several kids of various ages on the trip. Will our dogs be able to coexist with so many strange people?
– Bill and Stacy, Boulder, Colo.family-camping-dog-1_B&W

DEAR BILL AND STACY: Bringing pets along on a camping trip can be a lot of fun, and the dogs could have a blast, but if it’s your first such trip, those are good questions to ask. How well socialized are your dogs? Are they accustomed to interacting with other dogs and with new people? Have they spent much time around children? If you’re not sure, it’s time to take them to the dog park or on a scheduled play date with other dogs to begin socializing them. You also need to ask questions of your fellow campers. How do they feel about the dogs coming along? Are any of them, or any of their kids, afraid of dogs? Finally, you need to find out about the campsite. Does it have regulations concerning pets, such as requiring them to be on a leash in certain areas? Does it allow them at all? (Some don’t, for various reasons.) If you have doubts about your dogs’ ability to handle lots of attention from a group of new humans, it may be best to leave them with a caretaker during this particular camping trip. Plan a camping trip just for yourselves and your dogs in the near future, to get them and you accustomed to the unique experience of camping together.