Pets & Animals

#CampingWithDogs on Instagram shows the joy of bonding with dogs in nature

If you have a dog, then you know time spent bonding with your pup is precious. Whether you’re playing fetch out in the yard, or enjoying a long walk, these are the moments your dog absolutely relishes. And chances are you do, too.

So, why not take it up a notch and plan an entire camping getaway with your canine BFF? You surely wouldn’t be alone.

Ryan Carter, a 30 year-old entrepreneur in Nashville, Tennessee, founded Camping With Dogs, a lifestyle brand devoted to outdoorsy types and their loyal hounds.

Courtesy of Ryan Carter
Ryan Carter and his dog Cooper

The idea is centered around the Instagram account, @CampingWithDogs, which Carter launched “to build a community for outdoorsy dog owners by sharing picture stories with the hashtag #campingwithdogs,” Carter told TODAY.com.

Interest in the account has soared over the past year — so much so that Carter has built a business around it, with t-shirts, stickers, bandanas and other apparel for sale.

Last November, the hashtag only had 125 tags. Ten months later, it's been tagged 45,000 times, while the account @CampingWithDogs has amassed nearly 110,000 followers.

“Dog owners and outdoor enthusiasts are equally passionate on their own,” said Carter. “Combine them together and you have a community of highly passionate, like-minded people that love dogs and spending time with them in the outdoors.”

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Some of the pictures, which feature people and their dogs out in the wilderness, bring on a major case of cute overload.

High five! It's the weekend! #campingwithdogs @sam__davis

A photo posted by Camping With Dogs® (@campingwithdogs) on

This is everything. A sleeping burrito! #campingwithdogs @loki_the_wolfdog

A photo posted by Camping With Dogs® (@campingwithdogs) on

Others show more of the majestic grandeur of the great outdoors.

Not a bad view at all! #campingwithdogs @aussie_and_a_mutt

A photo posted by Camping With Dogs® (@campingwithdogs) on

Hiking in Italy? Yes, please. #campingwithdogs @fragmentshot_

A photo posted by Camping With Dogs® (@campingwithdogs) on

All the pics remind us how well suited most dogs are to some quality camping time with their human family.

Give your dog a high five if you went camping together this weekend! #campingwithdogs @cindilougrant

A photo posted by Camping With Dogs® (@campingwithdogs) on

Of course, there are factors to be taken into consideration before you embark on an outdoor adventure with your pup.

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Carter provided TODAY.com with some helpful tips.

  • Vaccines: “Make sure you dog is current on all vaccinations. Dogs can introduce new diseases into an eco-system that could potentially have negative effects.”
  • Know your dog’s limitations: “This isn’t just about the dog but about the confidence you have in your dog to perform well on a leash and follow voice/hand signals.”
  • Know the area: “Prepare yourself by studying the area before you go camp and hike. Knowing the leash and trail rules prior to going on your trip is so important. Most people just assume and that’s not a good bet to make. There are also wildlife issues, and water access limitations to take into consideration.”

It’s also important to start small and “bring extra water, especially in the warm season,” says Lars Reber, who shares his pics under the handle @captain_shark.

Jessie Williams (@jadubya) and Kelly Lund (@shark_toof) are what Carter calls “the power couple of Camping With Dogs.”

They have two large dogs that they take on all kinds of outdoor adventures, including skiing and long boarding, but they advise dog owners to start small.

“Don't be intimidated by taking your dog camping,” said Williams. “Socialize your dog to minimize bad encounters with other hikers/dogs. Be prepared to possibly have them sleep in the car as some dogs may not be fond of the tent.”

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Isaac Lane Koval (@isaaclkoval), another of Camping With Dogs' star photographers, also takes his Border Collie-Australian Shepard mix Rose on some pretty serious adventures.

“Start on a short trail where you can gage your dogs' abilities. Certain breeds are built more for longer hikes and agile climbing,” Koval told TODAY.

“Know your dog's temperament towards other dogs, people, and how they handle dangerous terrain before you decide to let your dog off-leash on a trail, [and] frequently check their feet for cuts and fur for ticks.”

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