Wed. Nov 29th, 2023
Sitka sleeping in the tent.

This post was brought to you by our guest blogger Sitka the Border Collie, with the help of her human Laura Myers, Strategic Market Development Specialist at Ontario Parks.

Hello! My name is Sitka and I am a dog.

My humans love camping! From the moment they brought me home when I was eight weeks old, they said, “I can’t wait to see all the camping adventures we’ll have, little one.”

Sitka looks pretty for a photo on her first walk.Me at nine weeks on my first walk.

When I was 10 months old, my humans packed up the car and we went on my first camping trip! We went to my mom’s favorite park: Neys Provincial Park.

As we drove down the park road, my mother rolled down the windows so I could smell the fresh park air. It smelled great!

Sitka with his head out of the car window.

Our trip was filled with hiking, swimming, campfires, hammocks, sunset watching, and beach exploration. Wow, that was fun! Since my first trip, I have traveled to many Ontario parks!

Every time I go camping, my humans make sure I’m comfortable, safe, and having fun. I’m here to tell all you dog parents how to make your pup’s camping trip the best it can be!

Sitka looks out the back of the vehicle and rests his head on the pillow.My humans gave me the entire back seat to myself, but I chose to sleep here.

This is not my house!

I wasn’t sure what camping was all about, especially this tent thing. My parents gave me lots of treats every time I visited, so it was a magical place in my mind.

Sitka sleeping in the tent.Me “failing” in Neys Provincial Park

When it was time to sleep, we all went up to the tent. Turns out this is where my bed is. This wasn’t where I used to sleep! It didn’t look, smell, feel or… taste the same!

I quickly learned not to eat the tent or anything in it, after my humans seemed very upset after I chewed their foam sleeping mat to pieces while they were sleeping… Sorry!

My parents brought lots of blankets so I would be comfortable. They told me it was time to sleep, so I finally decided to lay my head down and rest. After all, he was “lost” after walking all day.

Laura and Sitka look at Pic Island from the lookout.Enjoying the view of the Pic Island Overlook with my mom in Neys Provincial Park

My grandmother recently bought me a Coleman dog sleeping bag. It’s great, keeps me warm and comfortable on hard terrain!

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Did you say WALK?

Sitka drinking from a bowl of water.My water bowl fits in the bottom of my mom’s water bottle!

One of the best things about camping is taking long walks. I can smell everything, see squirrels and birds, and release some energy.

My humans pack me snacks, water, and tell me I’m a great hiker. For all you dog parents out there, choose a trail that is right for your pup. Don’t overexert them, especially in hot weather. Water and lots of snacks are appreciated.

My humans keep me on a leash almost all the time in provincial parks, unless it’s a special dog area. They told me it is for my safety and the health of the ecosystem.

When I’m on a leash, I won’t come face to face with a bear, eat poisonous mushrooms in the woods, run through a sensitive wetland, or disturb other wildlife or campers.

Let’s be honest, I’d probably chase the squirrels if they let me… They look like they’re having a great time running up and down the trees!

Sitka and one of its humans walking along a boardwalk.Walking with my dad on the Whiskey Jack Trail, Quetico Provincial Park

dog paddle

What do I love more than hiking? Swim! There’s nothing better than cooling off in Lake Superior on a hot summer day.

Doggy paddling at sunset at Rossport Campground, Rainbow Falls Provincial Park
Photo taken through the fence with a sign that says "off-leash pet area" with Sitka in the background.Play in the off-leash pet area at White Lake Provincial Park

I love doggy paddling until the sun goes down. Many of the provincial parks I have camped in have a dog beach. Four-legged friends like us can swim here.

My parents bring me some quick-dry towels so I can dry off before going into the tent for the night. They also bought me a waterproof leash because my normal leash gets wet and smelly!

Read this website for a list of pet-friendly beaches and exercise areas! When you arrive at the park, be sure to ask a park staff member where the pet exercise area or beach is located.

Walking around the camp

When we’re not hiking, swimming, or exploring, we hang out at our campsite.

Sitka eating from his food bowl.Me having dinner at Agawa Bay Campground in Lake Superior Provincial Park

After exploring the park, I’m often ready for a nap, so I just lie down and relax. While I’m at camp, my humans keep me on a leash and tie it to the picnic table so I’m safe and never too far away.

My parents usually prepare delicious meals that smell much better than my kibble! When my parents eat, so do I! I have a light lunch plate that is ideal for when I am hiking in the countryside. My parents make sure I have plenty of food since we spend a lot of time walking and swimming.

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They also make sure I don’t make a mess and keep my food in the car. It is so that it does not attract wildlife. They take great care to make sure we don’t have bear visits.

I also learned that this is Ontario Parks, not Ontario Barks! I got a little excited when other campers with dogs passed by our campsite, but my parents told me I had to say hello quietly, so I decided that wagging my tail was the best way to say “hello!”

Sitka resting his head in a hammockHang out in a hammock at our campground in Neys Provincial Park

Poop. For some reason, my humans talk a lot about poop.

If you’re anything like my humans, you can talk a lot about your dog’s poop! They even carry it in little bags, as if it were a little gift. I’m not sure I understand it, but I heard them talking about how dog poop can be dangerous to wildlife and the ecosystem.

My parents have also talked about how it’s not pleasant to step in poop, smell it, or even see it lying on the side of the trail. I think that’s why they pick it up and throw it in the trash as soon as possible.

I recommend attaching a poop bag holder to your pup’s leash to avoid forgetting to bring the ever-essential poop bags.

Image of Sitka looking at the camera.Just a nice picture of me because I don’t want to talk about poop anymore.

Perfect picture

Alright humans, I’m sure you’ll want to take pictures of your pup’s camping adventure! When my mom says, “Say cheese for the camera!”, I know I’m actually going to get cheese. *Drool*. This means I have to strike a pose and look cute!

Sitka posing for a photo.Posing in front of the sunset at Dog Beach in Agawa Bay, Lake Superior Provincial Park

Be sure to bring your pup’s favorite treats to reward them when they pose for some perfect photos! Good gift for pets!

A good time wagging the tail

Sitka and all the camping gear you carry.

Sitka licking the face of one of his humans.My humans are “cooler” than yours! Just kidding, all humans are cool.

I have grown to love camping and get excited when my parents start packing for a camping trip.

I know I’m about to go on another great adventure with my two favorite people!

With a little planning, the right equipment, and plenty of exercise, your pup will have a fantastic camping trip too!

Where are you taking your pup for his next camping trip?

I look forward to meeting you and your dogs while camping in Ontario parks!

Good for now!

Wow love,

Sitka the border collie

Are you thinking about taking a backcountry canoe trip with your dog? Check out this dog blog too!