The summer may have ended, but camping season is still in full swing, especially for those who love to soak up stunning sunrises and sunsets in an autumnal setting. For Ryan Carter, though, equally important to packing a tent and a sleeping bag is bringing along his two dogs, Cooper and Bailey.
To encourage others to bring their dogs into the Great Outdoors and share their experiences, Ryan started the Instagram page Camping With Dogs, on which he shares photos from his some 75,000 followers showing dogs on hiking trails and campsites across the country. “I like to feature photos that have objects in them that have an emotional tie to the essence of camping and hiking,” he explains. “I want people to look at the images and think back to a memory, like waking up at 5 a.m. to see the sun coming in while you’re still cuddled up in your sleeping bag with your two dogs.”
See some of our favorite photos here:
Carter has also launched a website on which he sells his Camping With Dogs tee shirts, bumper stickers, beer cozies, and more. He also produced a limited-edition line of “Camping With Your Dog Day” (September 5) items, which sold out quickly.
In the future, Carter hopes to develop an app that allows users to view how pet-friendly trails and campsites are in areas all over the United States. Also, he would eventually like to arrange events for pet-owning hiking/camping enthusiasts to meet up and go on expeditions together.
For people who are skeptical of camping with their dog, Carter offers some advice.
Know the terrain: Be familiar with your surrounding and with what your dog is comfortable with. Research the trail ahead of time to know of any potential hazards in the area, like dangerous cliffs, snakes and other wildlife, poisonous plants and more.
Train your dog: Basic obedience is needed to ensure a pleasant and safe experience for you, your dog, and other campers.
Follow leash laws: The rules are there for a reason—for the safety of you and your dog, keep him on a leash if it’s posted.
Vaccinate: This will protect not only your dog, but also the ecosystem of the park you’re visiting.
Gear up: A lot of companies make outdoor gear for dogs, including water bowls, cooling vests, and more.
Hydrate: Your dog needs to refuel and hydrate as often as you do. Anytime you stop to take a sip of water, offer some to your dog, too.