As the saying goes, a dog is a man’s best friend, and what better way to strengthen that bond than by sharing a camping adventure together? Camping with your dog provides an opportunity for quality time, outdoor recreation, and the chance to explore new places alongside your loyal companion. We always take our adventure pup Drax with us camping but it took a couple trips to figure it out. In this blog post, we’ll equip you with the knowledge and resources you need to make your dog-friendly camping trip safe, comfortable, and full of wagging tails.
If you are interested in learning how to camp with your dog successfully you may also want to check our similar guides on hiking with your dog and the Ultimate family camping guide for beginners. Both of these guides include additional information that you might find helpful.
- Camping with your dog can be a rewarding and memorable experience.
- Proper preparation and consideration of your dog’s needs are crucial.
- Research and choose a dog-friendly campsite to ensure a hassle-free trip.
- Prepare your dog by reinforcing basic training commands and checking their health.
- Travel safely with your dog by using appropriate car safety measures and managing food and water intake.
The Benefits of Camping with Your Dog
The biggest benefit of camping with your dog is the great bond it creates between you and your furry friend. There just isn’t anything like enjoying the outdoors with your dog. You will get to see a whole different side of them as they explore new sights, sounds, and smells. All of these new experiences provide important stimulation for your furry friend that they can’t get back home.
There are probably some safety benefits for you as well. It’s hard to prove but your dog’s sharp senses and loud bark should make your campsite safer from both critters and strangers. Whether or not that is true their presence will make you feel safer and that alone will make the camping trip better.
Ensuring Your Dogs Safety
Safety is always an important topic and camping with your dog brings a few unique safety concerns. They aren’t anything you can’t handle but a little prevention and preparedness goes a long way.
Plan a Vet visit in advance
Before you hit the campground it is a good idea to schedule a vet visit. Your vet will be able to tell you if there is anything you need to know before taking your dog camping. At the least you will want to make sure that your dog is up to date on their vaccinations. You will also want to talk to your vet about getting them treated with flea and tick prevention to keep all the creepy crawlies off of them. Finally, if your dog isn’t microchipped it is a good idea to get this done just in case they get lost while camping.
Bring a dog first aid kit
We have guides on putting together first aid kits for people but there are some things in the pet first aid kit that you probably don’t have. If you are planning on going camping a lot and want to save money by buying the items in bulk you may want to put together your own dog first aid kit. Otherwise picking up a dog first aid kit is very affordable and worth having on hand in case you need it. In addition we recommend getting a carry sling for your dog. We didn’t have one when we needed it but we do now. Hopefully we never need to carry another dog down a mountain but if we do we are prepared.
Operation Good Boy Tactical Pet First Aid Kit - Essential Supplies for Canine Mishaps
Dog Carry Sling, Emergency Backpack Pet Legs Support & Rehabilitation Dog Lift Harness
There isn’t really very much to say here that isn’t common sense but I would feel bad if I left this section out. For the most part being aware that many people go camping to get away and relax will go a long way. If you are respectful of the people around you, keep your dog on a leash, and minimize barking you are unlikely to have any problems with your fellow campers. There are a couple things that bear mentioning though.
Leave No Trace for Dog Owners
The leave no trace philosophy is all about minimizing our impact on the environment. We have written a short guide to the Leave No Trace principles but it is worth bringing them up here. As a dog owner it is your responsibility to clean up after your dog and that includes picking up their poop. Many campsites will have special trash cans for waste but there isn’t any than it is ok to either carry it out or bury it. To bury it dig a “cat hole”, same as you would for human waste, which is at least 6 inches deep and at least 200 feet away from water.
Never Leave Your Dog unattended
This isn’t always obvious for many campers who aren’t used to bringing a dog along but you should never let your dog out of your sight. Not only are there hundreds of ways for your pet to get themselves into trouble, but being left alone in a strange place can cause them a lot of stress. To avoid these problems it is important to never leave your dog unattended.
Follow Campsite Rules
Many campers choose campsites based on the rules because that’s the kind of experience they are looking for. By knowing and following the pet rules you are showing respect for them. In turn they will be more forgiving and you will avoid a lot of friction and maybe even avoid an expensive ticket should a rule get broken accidently.
Choosing a Dog-Friendly Campsite
Camping with your dog can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it’s important to choose the right campsite to ensure the safety and comfort of your furry friend. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a dog-friendly campsite:
- Research campsite regulations: Before making a reservation, thoroughly research the campsite’s rules and regulations regarding dogs. Some campsites may have specific leash requirements or restrictions on certain breeds. Make sure you understand and comply with these regulations to avoid any issues during your stay.
- Identify dog-friendly camping grounds: Not all campsites allow dogs, so it’s crucial to find a camping ground that is truly dog-friendly. Look for campgrounds that explicitly welcome dogs and offer amenities such as designated dog walking areas or access to nearby trails where you can explore with your four-legged companion.
- Consider the environment: Assess the campground’s environment to ensure it is suitable for your dog. Look for sites with ample shade, water sources, and a safe and secure area for your dog to relax and play. Avoid campsites with potential hazards such as toxic plants or dangerous wildlife.
Remember to always adhere to campsite regulations and be respectful of other campers. By selecting a dog-friendly campsite, you can ensure a pleasant and enjoyable camping experience for both you and your beloved canine companion.
Online Resources To Find Dog-Friendly Campsites
Finding campsites that allow pets isn’t difficult but it is worth checking the campsite’s website in advance. Some campsites either don’t allow dogs or charge an additional fee for them. Typically the fee is very low but it’s something you will want to be aware of. If you want to find a campsite that is dog friendly the three websites below are all good options.
Essential Gear for Camping with Dogs
Food, Water, and Treats
This probably goes without saying but you will need to be able to feed and water your dog while camping. Just bring whatever their normal diet is but keep in mind that they may need more than normal. Just like people, your dog shouldn’t drink from natural water sources. The same parasites that make us sick will make your dog sick too. For that reason we always bring a few gallons of drinking water for the dog even if the campsite has water. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
While it isn’t necessary to buy special food and water dishes for your dog I do want to bring up food storage. As you probably know, if left out human food will attract critters, so will your dogs food. In some areas a water bowl will also attract critters. For example, in New Mexico water bowls have a nasty habit of attracting scorpions and spiders. So for that reason it is important to always pick up after your dog and don’t leave food and water out when you aren’t around. Take the same precautions as you do with human food.
There are two different types of tie-out cables and we recommend bringing both. If you are lucky enough to have two posts or trees to set up a runner between your dog will love the freedom. However, many times you won’t have anyplace to set that up. In those situations you will need a heavy-duty dog stake to tie up your dog. Both are affordable and easy to pack so keeping both with you will save you some frustration.
NEECONG 30FT Dog Tie Out Cable Heavy Duty Dog Stake for Yard Beach Lawn Outside with Double Spiral Blade Strongest Dog Anchor Holds Dogs Over 120lbs
Dog Tie Out Cable for Camping - 50ft/70ft/100ft Portable Reflective Overhead Trolley System for Dogs up to 300lbs
Kennel and/or Sleeping Bed
If your dog is kennel trained it is a good idea to bring their kennel until you are both more comfortable camping. Having a familiar place to sleep will help your dog relax and sleep better. Many dogs who haven’t camped before will find the unfamiliar sounds stressful so anything you can do to help them the better for both of you. If your dog isn’t going to sleep in a kennel bring something for them to sleep on. A dog bed, mat, or sleeping bag will work as long as it gets them off the cold hard ground. We have never evaluated any of the camping specific dog beds, mostly because our dogs just aren’t that fancy lol.
If your dog is small and will stay in one of these pens they are really nice. We actually purchased one for our youngest son when he was a toddler and were pleasantly surprised that it worked for our dog as well. Just make sure that your dog isn’t going to jump out before turning your back on them. The good thing about the one we recommend is they have multiple sizes so you can get exactly what you need.
FXW Rollick Dog Playpen Designed for Camping, Yard, 40" Height for Large/Medium/Small Dogs, 16 PanelsThe FXW Dog Playpen is designed to bring a win-win solution to you and your lovely dog. Different from a narrow enclosure cage or kennel, the FXW dog pen provides a spacious semi-open activity area specifically for your dog.
GPS Dog Collar
We take our dog’s safety really seriously and that is why we strongly recommend investing in a top notch GPS collar. If you can afford to get the best we highly recommend the Halo 3 collar. It’s the most accurate collar available and works great almost everywhere. We have a more detailed article that lays out our top 4 GPS collars that you might want to check out.
Halo 3 GPS Dog Collar Most Accurate GPS fence - Coverage everywhere, worldwide. Your dog is safe everywhere, so you can go anywhere. Shop the Halo wireless fence now.
Glow-in-the-dark Collar or Vest
As you can imagine being able to see where your dog is at night can be very important. Putting a reflective and glowing harness on them is an easy way to ensure that you and everyone else will know where they are. It can be disorienting getting used to how dark a campsite can get and being able to always know where your dog is will relieve a lot of stress. Also, if they do get off leash or get lost this will make finding them at night much easier.
Flashseen LED Dog Harness, Lighted Up USB Rechargeable Pet Harness, Illuminated Reflective Glowing Dog Vest Adjustable Soft Padded No-Pull Suit for Small, Medium, Large Dogs
Activities to Keep Your Dog Happy
This is an area where every dog is different and you already know yours best. Take a moment to think about the toys, activities, etc that your dog loves and bring them with you. Much like children, dogs need to be entertained and by bringing their favorite things you can make their camping trip much better. The best thing for a dog is to end the day tired and happy, ready to fall asleep. Here are some examples, adjust according to your dog’s preferences.
- Hiking with Your Dog: Lace up your boots and hit the trails with your canine companion by your side. Whether it’s a leisurely walk or a challenging hike, spending time in nature will bring you closer to your dog and provide ample opportunities for exercise and exploration.
- Playing in Water: If your campsite is near a lake, river, or beach, make sure to take advantage of the water and let your dog cool off. Whether it’s swimming, splashing around, or simply enjoying the sounds of nature by the water, playing in water is a refreshing and enjoyable activity for both of you.
- Bringing Toys for Your Dog: Pack a few of your dog’s favorite toys to keep them entertained during downtime at the campsite. Toss a Frisbee, play fetch with a ball, or engage in a game of tug-of-war to keep your dog active and mentally stimulated.
- Going on Bike Rides with Your Dog: If you enjoy cycling and your dog is well trained, consider incorporating your dog into your biking adventures. Attach a specially-designed dog bike leash to your bike, and your pup can run alongside you, enjoying the fresh air and the thrill of a ride.
Engaging in these activities not only keeps your dog physically active but also strengthens the bond between you and your furry companion. Remember to always prioritize your dog’s safety and monitor their energy levels and behavior throughout the activities.
You are very likely to discover that your dog has a natural ability to find mud puddles everywhere. For that reason there are two things we recommend you take camping to help keep them clean. Both of these are optional but they provide a nice quality of life improvement. The first thing is a portable dog shower. It might sound silly but the one we recommend screws onto a 2-litre bottle and works great for giving your dog a quick rinse. The second item is a paw cleaner. You just add a bit of water, slip it on the dogs foot, and give it a couple quick twists. It’s a perfect way to get their feet clean after a hike.
Going camping with your dog is a lot of fun and doesn’t require a huge investment. By following the things be covered in this guide you should be able to have a very successful camping trip. If you have any additional tips or other comments we would love to hear from you on our socials. If you enjoyed this guide we would greatly appreciate it if you shared it on your socials. Thank you so much and have a great day!
Q: Are all campsites dog-friendly?
A: No, not all campsites allow dogs. It's important to do some research online to find a dog-friendly camping ground before making a reservation.
Q: What should I pack for my dog when camping?
A: You should pack food, water, a leash, collar with identification, bedding, and any necessary medications or supplies for your dog.
Q: How can I ensure my dog's safety during travel?
A: Use car safety measures such as seat belts or crates, provide frequent exercise and potty breaks, and manage their food and water intake.
Q: How can I create a comfortable camping area for my dog?
A: Choose a secure campsite away from potential hazards, control your dog's movements with a leash or tie-out, and ensure they have a comfortable space to rest.
Q: What activities can I do with my dog while camping?
A: You can go hiking together, play in the water, bring toys for entertainment, or even go on bike rides where your dog can run alongside you.
Q: What safety precautions should I take for emergencies?
A: Bring a first aid kit specifically designed for dogs, know who to contact for help, and have an emergency evacuation plan in place.
Q: Any tips for a successful camping trip with my dog?
A: Plan ahead, upgrade your gear for your dog's comfort, never leave your dog unattended, be mindful of their triggers and behaviors, and choose pet-friendly trails and campsites.
By Summer and Bill
Summer and Bill are the dynamic duo behind Adventureite.com, a blog dedicated to inspiring others to explore the great outdoors. With a combined lifetime of experience traveling and adventuring across America, they have a wealth of knowledge to share. From hiking to camping, kayaking to travel, Summer and Bill are passionate about helping others discover the beauty of the natural world.