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17 Best Dogs For Camping

Best Dogs For Camping: Alaskan Malamute calmly gazing near a campfire

17 Best Dogs For Camping: Dive into our detailed guide to discover how to make camping with your canine fun, safe, and unforgettable!

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What Are The Best Dog Breeds to Take Camping?

The joy of camping with dogs

Camping is not just an escape to nature; it’s an opportunity to bond and make unforgettable memories. The experience of camping becomes even more delightful with the right companion, and who can be a better partner than your furry friend?

Taking your dog on a camping adventure ensures both fun and camaraderie. Whether it’s a lakeside weekend or a mountainous trek, choosing the best dogs for camping enhances the joy of being outdoors.

Choosing the right breed

Not all dogs are created equal when it comes to the rugged world of camping. While some breeds love the open trails and splashing in streams, others may prefer the comfort of home. Therefore, selecting the right breed is paramount for a successful camping trip.

If you want to explore the great outdoors, it’s essential to understand the needs and temperaments of different breeds. The best dogs for camping are those that match your camping style, from energy levels to physical characteristics. And by understanding the traits of various breeds, you can find the perfect camping buddy that will thrive in an outdoor environment.

Summary of the Top 17 Best Dog Breeds For Camping

Some dogs are natural-born campers, while others need a little encouragement. Nevertheless, the following 17 breeds are considered some of the best dogs to take camping:

Labrador Retriever: Full of energy and great with families.
Border Collie: Highly intelligent, perfect for active campers.
Australian Shepherd: Agile and obedient, excellent for adventurous hikes.
Golden Retriever: Gentle and loving, a great choice for relaxed trips.
German Shorthaired Pointer: Athletic and keen, ideal for tracking and trails.
Beagle: Curious and friendly, good for family camping.
Alaskan Malamute: A rugged breed for those seeking thrill and challenge.
Siberian Husky: Built for endurance and loves the wild.
Bernese Mountain Dog: Strong and calm, suited for mountainous terrains.
Miniature Schnauzer: Energetic and watchful, great for small group trips.
Dachshund: Small but adventurous, perfect for less strenuous outings.
Shetland Sheepdog: Intelligent and alert, good for keeping watch at camp.
Boxer: Playful and loyal, loves outdoor play and activities.
English Springer Spaniel: Friendly and obedient, great for water-related camping.
Weimaraner: Graceful and energetic, suited for extended outdoor stays.
Rhodesian Ridgeback: Brave and sturdy, ideal for camping in wild areas.
Vizsla: Affectionate and lively, makes an excellent companion on the trails.

Whether you’re an experienced camper or a newcomer seeking the tranquility of nature, finding the best dogs for camping can greatly enrich your experience. From the joyous romps in open fields to the calm evenings by the campfire, your four-legged companion will surely add a new dimension to your outdoor escapades.

With the right breed, preparation, and care, camping with dogs becomes not just a journey into nature but a celebration of the bond between you and your loyal companion.

Read on for our detailed guide into the above Top 17 Best Dog Breeds to take on your next camping trip.

Best Dogs For Camping: Siberian Husky peacefully sleeping next to a Labrador Retriever

Understanding Your Camping Needs

Types of Camping Trips


The thrill of a weekend away with your furry friend is an enticing prospect for many outdoor enthusiasts. But what are the best dogs for camping on these short excursions?

Weekenders typically involve two or three days in a nearby location, perhaps a local national park or a woodland area. Since the trips are short, you might have a higher tolerance for a more adventurous or energetic dog.

These trips are perfect for exploring new environments and bonding with your canine friend, without the commitment of a lengthy stay. Carefully considering the breed’s traits and your camping style will ensure a successful weekend adventure.

Extended Trips:

Unlike weekenders, extended camping trips require more planning and a different approach in choosing the best dogs for camping. These trips might last for weeks or even months, taking you far from home, perhaps even to remote wilderness areas.

The needs are different here: you need a dog that’s adaptable, has the stamina to handle long hikes, and has a temperament that meshes well with extended periods in the outdoors. Such journeys offer a profound bonding experience but demand a compatible canine companion, so thoughtful selection is crucial.


What to Look for in a Camping Dog

Energy Levels:

Your dog’s energy level must align with the type of camping trip you’re planning. Active breeds like Border Collies and Labradors might be suitable for demanding hikes and constant outdoor activities, making them some of the best dogs for camping in vigorous settings.

On the other hand, more relaxed breeds such as Basset Hounds might be perfect for leisurely camping trips where extensive hiking isn’t on the agenda.

Considering energy levels is not just about matching your dog’s liveliness to the trip; it’s also about understanding their needs and ensuring they can be met during the adventure.

An energetic dog will require space to run and play; if your camping site doesn’t provide this, your trip could become stressful for both of you.


A dog’s temperament is another vital aspect to consider when looking for the best dogs for camping. Some dogs are more independent and may enjoy exploring the surrounding nature, while others might be more attached and prefer to stay close to your side.

Socialization skills are equally crucial. You’ll likely encounter other campers and possibly other dogs. A dog that’s friendly and well-socialized will make these interactions enjoyable rather than stressful. Aggressive or overly timid dogs might find the experience overwhelming, which could ruin the camping experience.

Dogs with a calm and balanced temperament, capable of adapting to new situations, are typically the best choices for camping. They should be able to handle unexpected noises, unfamiliar people, and the unpredictability that comes with being in the wild.

Size and Strength:

The size and strength of your dog should also align with your camping style and the type of trip you’re planning. Large, strong breeds like Alaskan Malamutes or Bernese Mountain Dogs might be suited for rugged terrains and can even assist by carrying some of the gear.

On the flip side, smaller breeds like the Dachshund or Miniature Schnauzer can be the best dogs for camping when the trip requires easy travel or if you have limited space.

However, size isn’t the only thing to consider. A dog’s physical health and agility are also paramount. Long hikes or arduous activities may not be suitable for very young puppies, older dogs, or breeds prone to specific health issues.

Ensuring that your dog’s size and strength are compatible with the activities planned will guarantee a more enjoyable trip for both of you.

The excitement of camping with your dog is an experience like no other. Understanding your specific needs and aligning them with your dog’s characteristics is the key to finding the best dogs for camping, whether it’s a weekend getaway or an extended wilderness adventure.

Whether it’s the energy levels, temperament, size, or strength, the right match will make your trip a memorable one. By putting thought into these aspects, you’re ensuring a seamless experience that you and your canine friend will cherish.

Best Dogs For Camping: Beagle sitting by a campfire

Top 17 Best Dog Breeds for Camping

Energetic Breeds for Active Campers

1. Labrador Retriever:

Known as one of the best dogs for camping, the Labrador Retriever thrives in active environments. If you love hiking, trekking, or engaging in water sports, this breed will be your perfect companion. They’re not only full of energy but also incredibly friendly and good with families. Training them is relatively easy, and their love for exploring makes them ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.

2. Border Collie:

Border Collies are brilliant and agile, making them suited for active campers. Their intelligence ensures that they can adapt to various outdoor activities. Furthermore, they’re often used in agility courses, so navigating rough terrains is second nature to them. If you want a dog that can keep up with your active camping lifestyle, a Border Collie is an excellent choice.

3. Australian Shepherd:

Australian Shepherds are beautiful dogs with energy to match. They are highly trainable and love to work, making them one of the best dogs for camping. If you love mountain biking or trail running, this breed will be right alongside you. Their coat requires regular grooming, especially if you are in a wooded area, but their affectionate nature and love for adventure make them a great addition to any camping trip.


Medium Energy Breeds for Casual Camping

4. Golden Retriever:

Golden Retrievers are perfect for those looking for a more laid-back camping experience. Gentle, loving, and incredibly loyal, they enjoy nature but don’t require constant activity. This makes them one of the best dogs for camping, especially for those who like to relax and take in the scenery. Their friendly disposition also means they’re great around children and other pets.

5. German Shorthaired Pointer:

If you want a versatile dog that fits well with different camping activities, the German Shorthaired Pointer could be the right choice. This breed enjoys physical activities but can also chill by your side at the campfire. They’re good hunters, so if you’re into bird watching or small game hunting, they can be a real asset. However, they do need some engagement and can become bored if left alone for too long.

6. Beagle:

Beagles are known for their curious nature and are good dogs for casual camping trips. They love to explore and follow scents, making them fun companions on woodland trails. Although they’re not as energetic as some breeds, they do enjoy outdoor activities and can be great companions for a relaxed weekend in nature. Just make sure to keep an eye on them, as their curiosity might lead them on a solo adventure.


Hardy Breeds for Rugged Camping

7. Alaskan Malamute:

For those seeking a real outdoor challenge, the Alaskan Malamute stands out as one of the best dogs for camping in rugged conditions. They’re strong and built to endure harsh weather, making them perfect for winter camping or mountainous terrains. They require plenty of exercise, and their thick coat needs regular grooming, but their majestic presence and ability to pull heavy loads make them unique camping companions.

8. Siberian Husky:

Similar to the Malamute, the Siberian Husky is built for endurance. They’re accustomed to cold climates and are fantastic for long hikes in the mountains. A Husky’s striking appearance and loving nature have made them popular, but they do require experienced handling. Training them can be challenging, so make sure you’re ready for the responsibility. Nevertheless, they can be one of the best dogs for camping in rugged environments.

9. Bernese Mountain Dog:

As the name suggests, the Bernese Mountain Dog thrives in mountainous terrains. They’re strong, calm, and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle. Their thick coat protects them from cold weather, and their gentle temperament makes them great for family camping. Though not as energetic as other breeds, they enjoy long walks and are excellent for those looking for a companion in more challenging terrains.


Small Breeds for Easy Travel

10. Miniature Schnauzer:

If you’re looking for a small breed that loves to travel, the Miniature Schnauzer might be the best choice. They’re energetic, watchful, and adapt well to various environments. This breed loves being with their family and can enjoy camping just as much as larger breeds. Their small size makes them easy to travel with, and they’re good with children, making them a family-friendly option.

11. Dachshund:

Small but adventurous, the Dachshund is perfect for those who want a compact companion on camping trips. They enjoy exploring and are more rugged than their size suggests. However, due to their elongated bodies, they can be prone to back issues, so be mindful of strenuous activities. Nevertheless, their curious nature and ability to fit in small spaces make them one of the best dogs for camping.

12. Shetland Sheepdog:

Shetland Sheepdogs are intelligent, alert, and loving. They may be small, but they’re very capable and enjoy outdoor activities. They’re great for keeping watch at the campsite and love being part of the family activities. Training them is usually a pleasure, and they adapt well to various camping experiences.


Adaptable Breeds for Various Camping Types

13. Boxer:

Boxers are playful, loyal, and love outdoor play. Whether you’re on a lake or hiking a trail, they will be right there with you. They do need plenty of exercises and can become bored if not engaged, but their playful nature and adaptability make them suitable for various camping types.

14. English Springer Spaniel:

Friendly and obedient, English Springer Spaniels are great for water-related camping. They love to swim and can spend hours playing in the water. They are also good hunters and can be used for retrieving. Their affectionate nature and ease of training make them a versatile option for many campers.

15. Weimaraner:

The graceful Weimaraner is known for its energy and hunting abilities. They’re suited for extended outdoor stays and can be a great partner on hunting trips. Training them requires some skill, but their loyalty and love for adventure make them one of the best dogs for camping.

16. Rhodesian Ridgeback:

Brave and sturdy, Rhodesian Ridgebacks are ideal for camping in wild areas. They were originally bred to hunt lions, so they’re not easily intimidated. They need a strong leader, but their courage and loyalty make them excellent camping companions.

17. Vizsla:

Vizslas are affectionate, lively, and excel in various outdoor activities. Whether you’re hiking, biking, or just relaxing, they can be excellent companions. Their short coat requires minimal grooming, and they usually get along well with other dogs and children. This makes them adaptable and one of the best dogs for camping in different settings.

Best Dogs For Camping: Australian Shepherd sitting calmly by a tent

Tips and Tricks for Camping with Dogs

Safety Precautions

Ensuring your dog’s safety is paramount when considering taking your dogs out camping. A well-prepared trip includes:

  • Identification: Always have your dog wear a collar with a proper ID tag, and consider a microchip as an additional safety measure.
  • Vaccination and Medications: Ensure all vaccinations are up to date, and don’t forget flea and tick prevention. Consult your vet about the specific area you’ll be camping in to be aware of any particular risks.
  • Leashing: Even if your dog is well-behaved, unexpected wildlife or other dogs can create unexpected situations. Having a leash ready keeps your pet safe.
  • First-Aid Kit: Include a dog-specific first-aid kit with essential items like tweezers for tick removal, bandages, and any specific medications your dog may need.
  • Water and Food Safety: Ensure that your dog has access to clean water and is not drinking from standing bodies of water that could contain harmful organisms.
  • Climate Considerations: Whether it’s hot or cold, knowing how to protect your dog in different weather conditions is vital.

Fun Activities with Your Dog

Camping with your dog isn’t just about safety; it’s also about having fun! Here’s how to make the most of your trip with your dogs when camping:

  • Hiking: Most dogs love to hike. Choose trails that are suitable for your dog’s fitness level, and remember to take breaks and provide plenty of water.
  • Swimming: If your dog loves water, find a dog-friendly beach or lake. Remember to rinse off salt or fresh water afterward to keep their coat healthy.
  • Playing Fetch: Bringing along a favorite ball or frisbee can create hours of entertainment.
  • Exploring Together: Let your dog sniff and explore the new environment under your watchful eye.
  • Cuddle Time by the Fire: After a day filled with activities, nothing beats relaxing by the campfire with your loyal friend.

Camping Gear for Dogs

Having the right gear can make a significant difference in your camping experience, especially when considering camping with your beloved pooch:

  • Leash and Harness: Consider a sturdy and comfortable leash and harness that can handle outdoor conditions.
  • Portable Water and Food Bowls: Collapsible dishes are easy to pack and ensure your dog has access to food and water during hikes.
  • Dog Sleeping Bag or Blanket: A warm and dry place for your dog to sleep will keep them comfortable during the night.
  • Doggy Backpack: If you have a strong and healthy dog, they might enjoy carrying their supplies in a specially designed doggy backpack.
  • Dog Shoes: In rough terrain or extreme weather, dog shoes can protect your dog’s paws.

Behavioral Training for Camping

Even the best dogs for camping need preparation in terms of behavior:

  • Recall Training: Your dog should come back to you when called. This is essential for their safety in an unknown environment.
  • Socialization Skills: Before camping, ensure that your dog is comfortable around other people and animals. If they’re not used to these interactions, it might be wise to work on this before your trip.
  • Leash Behavior: Even off-leash, dogs must behave well on a leash for those moments when it’s necessary.
  • Adaptation Training: Camping can be a new experience. Exposing your dog to some of the sights, sounds, and smells in a controlled environment beforehand can help ease them into the experience.
  • Command Obedience: Basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “heel“, “go to bed” and “leave it” can be crucial in controlling your dog’s behavior during your camping adventure. If you’re new to dog training, have a read of our Dog Training Tips for Beginners article.

The above tips, combined with careful planning, will ensure that you and your dog have a safe, enjoyable, and memorable camping experience. Selecting the best dogs for camping involves considering not only the breed’s characteristics but also how well they are prepared for the adventure.

Best Dogs For Camping: English Springer Spaniel loving camping

Conclusion: Best Dogs For Camping

In your pursuit to find the best dogs for camping, understanding the unique traits, energy levels, and needs of different breeds is essential. From energetic breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Border Collies, and Australian Shepherds for active campers, to medium energy breeds like Golden Retrievers and Beagles for more relaxed trips, there are various options available.

Similarly, for those seeking adventure in rugged terrain, hardy breeds like Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies prove to be excellent companions. And if you’re looking for small breeds that are perfect for easy travel, consider the Miniature Schnauzer, Dachshund, or Shetland Sheepdog.

Lastly, for those seeking adaptable breeds for various camping types, the Boxer, English Springer Spaniel, Weimaraner, Rhodesian Ridgeback, and Vizsla may be your ideal picks.

Remember, the best dogs for camping are not just about breed; it’s about the connection, training, and compatibility you share with your canine friend. By considering these factors, you’ll ensure a fulfilling and joyous outdoor experience.

Safe and Fun Camping Experiences with Your Canine Companion

Embracing the outdoors with your dog is a remarkable experience. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or an extended expedition, knowing your dog’s needs and preparing accordingly makes the trip enjoyable for both of you.

Safety must always be a priority. Equipping yourself with the right gear and knowledge about your dog’s health, along with the environmental factors, will lead to a safe and successful trip.

But beyond safety, remember to have fun! Engage in activities that both you and your dog love. Be it hiking, swimming, or just exploring the surroundings, these shared experiences deepen your bond.

Lastly, stay open to learning from each other. Every camping trip offers new insights into your dog’s behavior and your relationship. Embrace these lessons, and you’ll find that the title of “best dogs for camping” can apply to many breeds, depending on your personal needs and preferences.

Your canine companion is more than a pet; they’re a partner in adventure. Together, you can explore the world and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Dachshund asleep on a sleeping bag

FAQ: Best Dogs For Camping

What dogs are best for camping?

Choosing the best dogs for camping depends on the nature of the trip and your personal preferences. Breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Border Collies, and Australian Shepherds are great for active camping, while smaller breeds like Dachshunds may be suitable for less strenuous outings. Always consider the dog’s energy level, temperament, and size.

What are the best dogs for camping with families?

For family camping trips, breeds known for their gentle nature and good temperament are ideal. Golden Retrievers, Beagles, and Labrador Retrievers are among the best dogs for camping with families, thanks to their friendly and sociable nature.

How do I prepare my dog for their first camping trip?

Preparation is key for a successful camping trip. Start with short hikes or outdoor outings to acclimatize your dog. Pack essential items like food, water, and first-aid supplies. Training your dog to respond to basic commands will also ensure better control and safety during the trip.

Can small breeds enjoy camping as much as larger breeds?

Absolutely! Small breeds can enjoy camping as much as their larger counterparts. The key is to choose activities and trails that suit their size and energy level. Small but adventurous breeds like Miniature Schnauzers and Dachshunds can be great camping companions.

What should I do if my dog gets injured while camping?

Safety is a priority, especially when you have the best dogs for camping along. If your dog gets injured, immediately administer first aid if needed and seek professional medical help if the injury is serious. Always have a canine first-aid kit and know the location of the nearest vet.

How do I keep my dog safe from wildlife while camping?

Keeping your dog on a leash and supervising them at all times helps to prevent unwanted encounters with wildlife. Proper training and understanding of the local fauna will enable you to take the right precautions.

What are the essential items to pack for my dog on a camping trip?

Essentials include food, water, a leash, a first-aid kit, and waste bags. Depending on the weather and location, you may also need a dog jacket, booties, or a specific sleeping arrangement.

How can I keep my dog entertained during a camping trip?

Interactive toys, hiking, swimming, and exploring together are great ways to keep your dog entertained. Engaging in activities that both you and your dog enjoy fosters bonding and ensures a fun experience.

Are there any breeds that are not recommended for camping?

Certain breeds with specific health issues, low energy levels, or a temperament not suited for outdoor activities may not be the best dogs for camping. It’s essential to evaluate individual dogs rather than just the breed.

How can I ensure my dog respects the environment and other campers?

Training and controlling your dog, keeping them on a leash, and following campsite rules and regulations ensure that both the environment and other campers are respected.

What are the best trails or camping sites for dogs?

Search for dog-friendly trails or camping sites that cater to your dog’s size and energy levels. Local guides, apps, or outdoor adventure communities can be helpful in finding the best places for camping with dogs.

Do dogs sleep well in tents? Are dogs OK in tents?

Most dogs adapt well to sleeping in tents. Make sure you have a comfortable space for them, possibly including a dog-specific sleeping pad or blanket.

Where should a dog sleep overnight? Where should my dog sleep while camping?

Your dog should sleep in a safe and comfortable space. If camping, having them sleep inside the tent with you is often the best option.

How can I calm my dog down in a tent?

Familiarize your dog with the tent before the trip, bring comfort items like a favorite blanket, and keep to a routine to help your dog feel calm and secure.

Do dogs like to go camping?

Most dogs love outdoor activities, including camping. It provides an opportunity for exploration, exercise, and bonding with their human companions.

Is it OK for a dog to sleep outside at night?

Depending on the weather and safety conditions, some dogs may be comfortable sleeping outside. However, it’s generally safer to have them inside the tent with you, especially when camping in an unfamiliar environment.

Do dogs get cold in tents?

Dogs might need a sleeping bag or warm blanket, especially in cold weather. Be mindful of the temperature and your dog’s breed, as some are more susceptible to cold.

How do you stay in a tent with a dog?

Staying in a tent with a dog requires planning and preparation. Ensure you have appropriate sleeping arrangements and follow good camping practices like keeping food secured and maintaining cleanliness.

Do dogs do well in RVs?

Absolutely! Many dogs adapt well to the contained space of an RV. However, much like introducing them to a new home, it’s important to acclimate them gradually. Familiarize them with the space by bringing their favorite toys or bed. Keep consistent feeding and walking routines. Remember, RVs can get hot, so always ensure proper ventilation and never leave your dog unattended for long periods.

Are Australian Shepherds good camping dogs?

Yes, Australian Shepherds are excellent camping companions. They are energetic, intelligent, and have a natural affinity for the outdoors. Their herding instincts make them alert and responsive, ideal for various outdoor activities. When camping, they can keep up with hikes and even help round up the group. Always ensure they’re trained and responsive to your commands for a smooth camping experience.

What is the best dog for the jungle?

When considering a dog for jungle terrain, you’d want one that’s resilient, alert, and adaptive. Breeds like the Rhodesian Ridgeback, originally bred to hunt lions in the African savanna, or the Basenji, known to be silent hunters in central Africa, come to mind. These breeds have a history of navigating challenging terrains, but it’s essential to ensure they are well-protected from jungle-specific hazards, like insects or dense underbrush.

Do camping dog breeds have more health issues?

Not necessarily. While active breeds may be predisposed to certain muscular or joint issues due to their activity levels, this doesn’t mean they have more health issues. The key is preventive care: regular check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper exercise. Breeds commonly associated with camping, like Labrador Retrievers or Border Collies, can lead long, healthy lives with proper care and attention.

Best hiking and camping dog breeds?

Several breeds excel in hiking and camping. Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Border Collies are renowned for their energy and adaptability. For rugged terrains, consider breeds like the Siberian Husky, Bernese Mountain Dog, or the Alaskan Malamute. Always match the breed’s energy and physical capabilities to the type of camping or hiking you plan to do.

Is hiking healthy for dogs?

Definitely! Hiking provides dogs with both physical exercise and mental stimulation. It’s an opportunity for them to explore new scents, sights, and sounds. However, always ensure the hiking trail’s difficulty matches your dog’s fitness level. Provide ample water, rest, and be cautious of extreme temperatures or terrains that could harm their paws.

Is the Australian Cattle Dog breed good for camping and hiking?

Yes, the Australian Cattle Dog is an exceptional breed for camping and hiking. Bred for herding cattle across long distances, they possess stamina, intelligence, and agility. Their loyalty and protective nature also make them reliable companions in the outdoors. Always engage them with activities or tasks to keep their active minds satisfied.

What dog breeds can you take for a run whilst cycling?

When cycling, you’d want a dog with endurance and speed. Breeds like the Weimaraner, Vizsla, and Greyhound are well-suited for longer runs. However, always train your dog to run beside your bike safely, start with shorter distances, and build up gradually, ensuring they’re comfortable and safe.

Do camping dogs like hiking?

Most dogs, especially those bred for activity and endurance, love hiking. It allows them to explore, exercise, and spend quality time with their owners. Breeds often associated with camping, such as the Labrador Retriever or the Border Collie, typically enjoy these adventures. It’s crucial, however, to introduce your dog to hiking gradually and ensure their safety.

Are poodles good for hiking?

Poodles, especially the Standard variety, can be great hiking companions. They’re intelligent, agile, and have a decent level of stamina. Their curly coat also provides some protection against brambles and ticks. Ensure their fur doesn’t become matted and provide them with the right training and socialization, and they can be enthusiastic hikers.

About the Author

Roger Bann

Roger Bann

Roger Bann, an accredited dog trainer with 35 years under his belt, is the proud owner of a dynamic canine trio: a spirited Shih Tzu, a loyal Golden Retriever, and an energetic Border Collie. When not adventuring on family camping holidays with his furry entourage, he's spoiling his Ragdoll cat at petessentials.guide.

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