Everything You Need to Know Before Camping with Your Dog

July 03, 2020

camping with your dog

Once the warm weather hits, many of us can’t wait to get out into the great outdoors. Who better to do it with than our dogs! When you get the itch for more than just a hike or day trip, why not take on a camping trip with Fido?

Camping is a great way to explore longer hikes and mountains, find cost-effective lodging, unplug, and get away from it all. But before you pack up the car and head for the local campground, let’s talk tips for camping with your dog. We want to make sure your camping adventure is fun, safe, and stress-free for all parties.

Camping with your dog is totally doable and fun, so read on and get ready––adventure is out there!

Plan out where to go camping with your dog

The first order of business is deciding where you want to camp. It’s important to choose a campground or campsite that’s dog friendly. In addition to the campground allowing dogs, you’ll want to make sure surrounding parks, trails, lakes, and forests allow dogs, too.

More than just allowing dogs, look into other regulations such as leash requirements, swimming rules, and any other specifics that may impact your ability to do the outdoor adventuring you’re hoping to do on your trip.  

Beyond being dog-friendly and understanding the regulations, think about what kind of camping you want to do with your dog and what will best fit their personality.

  • Some campgrounds can get quite crowded with tightly packed sites, will your dog do well with this?
  • There are also hike-in campsites and backpacking trips. Is your dog physically ready for that kind of camping?
  • RV, van, or truck camping is another option. How might your dog handle this?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to choosing where to camp with your dog. Most important is to make sure they will be welcome, can join in on all the fun, and will do well with the type of camping you’re hoping to do.

Bring the right (dog) gear for your campsite

Once you know what kind of camping you’ll be doing, it’s important to pack some special gear and items to keep your dog comfortable, safe, and contained while at the campsite.

Here’s a list of what to pack:

  • Dedicated water and water bowl. Collapsible travel bowls are a great choice because you can easily bring them along on any hikes or adventures
  • Measured out food and food bowl
  • Dedicated dog towels. They’re bound to get into some sort of trouble or mess
  • Towels or thick blankets to line the bottom of your tent. This way your dog’s paws won’t rip the tent’s base
  • Opt for a large tent if you can. You’ll appreciate the extra space when a dog joins in on the fun
  • Bring a stake and line for use at your campsite. Even dogs that are very good off-leash can benefit from being on a line (especially at a busy campground) to avoid any issues. You can also tie your dog to a tree, or create a little run by tying a rope between two trees and allowing your dog’s leash to slide along the rope
  • Dog bed, pad, or crate. If you have space, this can be a nice addition to the tent or campsite. It will really help your dog know their “spot” in your home away from home. The first time we camped with our Husky (before we even had our other dogs or kids!) she would not settle for the entire first night, and we had to cut our trip short. I think a dog bed or crate would have really helped!
  • Harness and leash. In fact, most campgrounds have leash requirements, so it’s a must for walking around the campground, too
  • Light-up collar. This isn’t a necessity but can make it easier to see your dog and keep them safe at night in the woods. Especially if you are at a hike-in site or on a backpacking trip
  • Chew toys. Having a couple of your dog’s favorite toys with you will keep your dog calm and happy at the campsite

Related Reading: Traveling with Your Large Breed Dog

Safety tips for camping with your dog

Before you head out camping, it’s important to learn as much as you can about dog first aid. This way, if a situation arises while you’re out in the woods, you’ll be prepared to handle it.

In addition to knowing first aid, a dog first aid kit is a must for your pack. It’s a good idea to keep it on you at all times, not just in the car or at the campsite.

Here are a few other safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t leave your dog alone at the campsite, even for the shortest duration
  • Don’t leave your dog unattended in your car for any amount of time (regardless of the temperature factor)
  • Pay special attention to your dog’s temperature and help them get and stay cool
  • Bring along a brush, nail clippers and tweezers (if these items aren’t already in your first aid kit) to deal with any mishaps
  • Keep your dog hydrated and give them plenty of rests and breaks
  • Make sure they are up to date on their flea and tick prevention
  • Keep a collar with ID on your dog at all times, add your campsite or campground information to their collar

Other tips for camping with your dog before you go

  • Research your activities ahead of time. Look for fun, dog-friendly spots to go to on your trip. Hikes, swimming holes, beaches, and parks are all great options
  • If you plan on doing water activities, a dog life vest can help keep your dog safe and extend their time spent in the water without getting too exhausted
  • Be mindful of campsite etiquette. Pick up after your dog, leave them at home if they are prone to barking, keep them leashed at all times, and make sure they’re on a line at the campsite
  • Keep an eye on the forecast. While it’s not impossible to camp with your dog in the rain, if it’s one of your first times, nice weather will make it a lot more pleasant

Most importantly––have fun!

Getting out into the wilderness is a wonderful way to bond with your dog. With the advice and tips in this article, you’re ready to take on your next camping trip with your dog like a pro. The key is to be well-prepared going into it and go with the flow once you’re there.

Do you have an additional tip or a great story about camping with your dog? We’d love to hear it! Drop a comment below.



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