“What do Chipmunks Smell Like?” and other important questions to ask when traveling with a dog

Daisy loves an adventure. She is always up for a ride, as long as she has a vantage point out the windshield and the vehicle is moving, preferably over 45 mph. Any sort of stopping, even if you only abiding by the law, clearly indicates to her the ride is coming to an end. She loves getting out at a new destination and smelling for squirrels or chipmunks.

We absolutely love traveling with Daisy, as we are not our full quartet if she is not barking in the backseat or digging her heals in to smell all the smells. Even though she is a great traveler, there are several important questions we always ask ourselves before any adventure.

Where can we stay?

The first thing we consider when making our plans is finding dog-friendly campgrounds. Some campgrounds are open to dogs, others charge a little extra per day, others have designated pet-friendly sites, and others simply do not allow dogs. Doing our research in the planning stages is crucial to budget and also plan our route. Where possible, we try to select sites that allow us to set up camp where we are shielded from main roads or where we are a little more secluded. Daisy is a great traveler, but she is also a terrier and loves to let us know when things are going on in the neighborhood. We are very cognizant of her barking and take as many precautions as possible to keep her settled down and comfortable.

How do we set up a dog-friendly camp?

Anywhere that Daisy goes, she likes to claim a spot. Usually her spot is slightly elevated and has a good vantage point of our surroundings. The first time she visited the camper, she claimed her spot on the back of the couch. This spot is currently out of reach of Little Bird, which is a win for everyone. When we are outside, we have a leash that is secured to the picnic table (typically) that allows her to move around a little while still being safely at our site. She often lays on the bed we brought for her or will make her way into a camp chair around the fire. (Yes, our dog is 100% spoiled.)

We know that there will be times when we are unable to take Daisy with us to various places, and so planning for how to contain her when we have to leave her at the camper was also a big thing we had to consider. In our townhouse, she had a gated area near our laundry room where she had a bed and water and could move around (not that she ever did). We considered several options for the camper but were mostly concerned with how she would react to whatever solution we came up with. We ultimately decided on just leaving her in the main living area of the camper. We can close off the doors to the two bedroom areas, and she has access to her water and the places she likes to lay. When we do leave, we close the blinds to minimize what she sees outside, which hopefully minimizes her barking and getting excited while we are away. We are blessed with an air conditioner that helps us know she is being kept cool, even when the temperatures outside are hot.

Where can we hike?

Much like camping with a dog, hiking with a dog requires a little research and planning. While dogs are permitted on the majority of trails, we have encountered several trails where they are not allowed (some National Parks, for example). We typically limit our hikes with Daisy to about 3 miles. If we go longer than that, we have a backpack dog carrier so we can “give her a ride” when she gets tired or hot. However, when we accidentally hiked 5 miles a couple of weeks ago, she absolutely crushed it and completely surprised us by walking the whole way. We fully acknowledge that she is tiny and is doing a lot more work to walk than we are. Having a backpack carrier for her is much more convenient and comfortable for everyone than simply carrying her, though we have done that too (hence why we bought the carrier!).

Other things we always have with us when we hike with Daisy are a good leash, her harness, lots of water and a collapsible water dish, treats, and dog bags to clean up after her. 

How do we keep her safe?

Keeping Daisy safe is our primary goal in our travels and hikes. First and foremost, we stay up-to-date on her flea and tick medication and thoroughly check her for ticks continually. When we are in the car, she always wears a harness and is “buckled” in. She is still able to move around, but her movement is limited and she is secured in the truck if anything were to happen. We keep collapsible water bowls in the truck and have water stationed both in and outside the camper.

We absolutely love traveling with Daisy and look forward to taking her on as many adventures as we can. I am always in awe of her ability to sniff out chipmunks and squirrels. Maybe some day she can tell us what they smell like.

Daisy sleeping in her spot
Daisy enjoying a campfire

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