Going camping is a great way to bond with your dog while enjoying some exercise, fresh air, and the great outdoors. Allowing your pup to experience natural environments can be a playful and exciting experience for you both.

Before you go camping, it’s necessary to consider your dog’s personality type and if they are well-trained. While many dogs like to chase small animals and wander, it’s important that you keep a watchful eye on your dog and that you’re well-prepared with the right materials in case of emergencies.

It’s also essential that you research your camping destination before starting your journey. There are usually many rules for dogs in state parks and other natural habitats; many parks allow dogs on campsites, but some trails can be restricted or it’s required that you leash your dog.

If you’re preparing to go camping with your dog this summer, we offer six tips for you to keep your dog safe and happy on your next camping trip:

1. Check your Dog’s Vaccines

Before going camping, double-check that your dog’s rabies vaccines are updated. While exploring the outdoors, they may encounter wild animals in the woods. It’s also crucial that your pet takes preventative medication which guards against ticks, fleas, and heartworms that they could pick up in the wild. Check in with your vet before your excursion!

2. Bring Necessary Supplies and Tools

It’s always important to be prepared. Pack a sufficient first aid kit for your journey. You should include antiseptic wipes, tweezers, rubbing alcohol, gauze, and bandages for both you and your dog. Since you’ll be far away from stores, you’ll also need to stock up on water for you and the whole family–including your precious pup! Keeping everyone hydrated ensures that you won’t get lightheaded or sick from heat exhaustion. Plus, your dog may be less likely to drink from dirty puddles or contaminated water sources if you have fresh, clean water with you. Remember to prepare a camping list and think about the types of activities you’ll indulge in with your dog. For example, if you plan on participating in watersports, it’s a good idea to bring a doggie life jacket for their safety! Plus, don’t forget dog food so your pup is well-nourished for any exercises you both may enjoy.

3. Frequently Check for Ticks

Ticks are bountiful during camping season. They tend to land on dogs easily in the woods so it’s important to frequently check for these pests. Check your dog’s armpits, groin, and folds of their skin for ticks. Oftentimes, ticks also hide behind or around the ears. After a long day of hiking or playing in the woods, be sure to comb your dog’s fur to remove any dirt and debris. This could help remove any unwanted pests from your dog’s body.

4. Be Mindful of Plants

Try to keep a close eye on what your dog chews on during your trip. Often, dogs like to gnaw on wild plants and leaves. But many plants could be choking hazards. Also, be wary of mushrooms which can be potentially poisonous to you and your canine friend. It’s a good idea to bring a dog bone that your pup can chew on instead.

5. Leash Your Pup

Many state parks require that you leash your dog during walks on trails and other camping areas. This helps you protect them from plants and wildlife. But remember to pack a leash with an appropriate length! Long leashes afford your dog the ability to explore in liberating ways, even as you keep a watchful eye on them.

Purchase a bright-colored jacket or vest for your dog, too. Loud bell collars also come in handy. It helps you identify your dog in case they become loose, but it also lets strangers and other animals know that your dog is around, helping to keep them safe.

6. Sleep in the Same Tent

You don’t want to lose your pup in the middle of the night! The wilderness can be dark and scary, especially when you aren’t intimately familiar with the area. Make sure to share a tent with your dog. Bigger, wild animals–like bears and mountain lions–often roam close to camping areas. Keep your pet safe by cuddling up with them. You might even consider bringing a doggie travel bed for your canine pal so that they’re nice and comfortable. If it’s cold out, pack a blanket.

Exploring the world with your dog can build lasting memories for years to come. Taking precautions to help your dog enjoy the experience will help you both bond more easily. Have fun camping with your dog!