What dog wouldn’t want to spend time in the great outdoors, exploring interesting scents while accompanying its beloved owner on an exciting adventure? For most pups, a camping trip is a dream come true. But camping with your furry best friend should never be undertaken lightly.
Here are 57 of the best tips for camping with a dog whether it’s at the beach, desert, lake or woods and in a tent, RV or cabin:
- Transform a large plastic box with a seal tight lid into a Canine Camping Container. The size depends on the size of your dog.
- Pack a comfortable canine backpack.
- Pack some paw protection – ointment, dog socks or boots.
- Don’t forget the stake and tie-out to let your dog roam safe distances.
- Keep your dog dry with a quick-drying microfiber dog towel.
- Grooming wipes are great for a quick clean for dogs that like to dig.
- Your dog’s brush may be needed for some post-hike grooming time if your dog’s coat tends to get matted.
- Spill-proof water and food bowls are great for hiking with excitable dogs.
- A collapsible bowl for holding water (when needed) on your hikes is very convenient.
- Don’t leave home without the bear spray if you are hiking in the woods.
- Take dry sacks, especially if it’s raining. These could substitute for a Canine Camping Container.
- Bring a life vest for your dog when camping near water.
- Pack the best dog poop bags for the environment that are certified as biodegradable.
- For potty runs in the dark, a night collar light complements your headlamp or flashlight.
- Set up the perfect campsite with your dog where they have ‘zones’ for eating, rest, play and sleep. Here are plenty of comfy bed options to choose from.
- Consider portable dog home options that will your dog cool in hot weather, warm in cold weather with great space to chill, play, rest and sleep.
- Put together a canine first aid kit for those emergencies.
- Combined with a life vest, a floating leash is an additional precaution when camping near water. It’s a good idea if you will be in the surf or your dog is not a strong swimmer.
- When hiking in National and State Parks, a standard dog leash cannot be longer than 6 feet.
- Buy dry and wet dog food and treats that your dog has eaten before. Camping is not a good time to experiment with new food in such a new and unfamiliar environment for your dog.
- Bear and raccoon-proof resealable containers for dry food and treats
- Bring along a dustpan and brush for camping for sweeping out leaves, dirt, sand and other debris your dog can collect in their camping dog homes.
- Dogs can get sunburnt too. Don’t forget to bring the sunscreen for your dog.
- Build stamina for those long hikes with your dog on a gradual basis.
- Ensure your dog has obedience basics especially responding to “Come” so they come back to you when called.
- Take your dog for a checkup with your vet before you depart for your camping trip.
- A lot of things can go wrong if you don’t plan ahead and prepare for the camping trip with your dog. You need to check if your final destination is pet-friendly plus swat up on their rules and regulations around bringing dogs to camp.
- Source a map of the campground and area
- Research the address and phone of the closest vet
- Ensure your dog tries their backpack on before you go and they are used to wearing it.
- Ensure your dog has taken their new dog shoes and life vests for a test drive several times. It’s really important your dog has adapted to these new things at home before they are thrown into the wild with so much stimulation.
- If your Canine Camping Container has been in storage since your last trip, there are 2 important checks to be made: have items in the doggie first aid kit have expired? Are there any smells or nasty mold on items in the container?
- Check your dog’s ID tag is legible to increase the chance of them being returned to you should they get lost.
- Pack enough water.
- Pack enough dry and wet food and treats too!
- Place all dog food in containers that are bear and critter-proof (think raccoons).
- Bring a resealable bag for keeping the daily dog treats fresh and tasty.
- Pack your dog’s Vaccination Certificate and keep it handy.
- Put all your dog’s current medication inside a sealed lunchbox.
- Unfamiliar places in the wilderness could put your dog on edge. If your dog is anxious or skittish bring their bedding, toys and other favorite things they have at home with you camping rather than buy these items new. These familiar things would make them feel more comfortable in a new and strange camping environment.
- As you enter your campground, check for relevant notices like high water notices, recent coyote sightings.
- If you need to let park authorities know how long your stay will be, do it when you reach your campground, otherwise, you may forget.
- Apply sunscreen to your dog before each outing.
- Before you leave camp for the day, pack enough dog treats for the day and place inside a resealable bag. Keep them handy in the pocket of your pants on an outside pocket on your backpack. Wet or dry food and bowls for food and water on-the-go should be kept inside your backpack.
- Always check your dog has their dog ID intact before you head off for a day trip.
- Add paw protection prior to each outing – apply paw ointment or put on your dog’s socks or hiking shoes/boots.
- Another pre-trip tip – pack your dog’s backpack with poop bags, some water and towel.
- Avoid your dog contracting the lepto virus – don’t let your dogs swim in pools of stagnant water.
- Keep your dog leashed when hiking. You can’t afford them running off and getting lost.
- Look out for signs of heat exhaustion when hiking, Takes lots of breaks in the shade. Offer water and snacks until you’re ready for lunch.
- After each outing, it’s really important to check over the body of your dog. You are looking for fleas and ticks.
- Another post-outing tip – check your dog’s paws. Remove any sharp objects like thorns in the paw. Clean up any blood. Apply some soothing paw ointment to prevent further cracking in the pads.
- Brush your dog daily to avoid angles caused by burs, thorns, sticks, leaves and other debris.
- In camp, don’t let your dog wander, especially if they are a barker.
- Don’t place your dog’s water bowl in the sun at your campsite.
- Camping with your RV? If you leave your dog inside, keep the air con (summer) and consider a pet cam.
- Clean up after your dog on a daily basis.
Plopping an unprepared canine and owner in a new setting — whether a busy campground or in the middle of some pristine backcountry — could be a recipe for disaster. That’s why you should check out our 35 tips, which will ensure that you’ll be able to enjoy a successful and fun-filled camping trip with your canine.
Step 1 – Go Shopping
If this is your first time going camping trip with your canine, there are a lot of items on your shopping list that you only need to buy once.
Here is your complete shopping list of items that you need to buy before you head off camping.
Large plastic storage box
First tip – keep all your canine camping items in one place. I recommend a large plastic storage box with a sealable lid.
The size of the box depends on the size of your dog. A standard size would be like a box that you would put things into to move house.
Label it with your dog’s name.
Make sure the box is sealed tight. Preferably, don’t store the container in sunlight. Keep it stored in the same location in your garage or basement. That way when you are ready to pack, most of the hard work is already done for you, saving you lots of time.
Depending on how big your dog is and how many dogs you are taking camping, your canine camping container could easily grow into a couple of containers. if you have a couple of containers, make sure they stack.
Fit your canine with a backpack. If you’ll be hiking out into the backcountry, let your canine carry some of the items it will need in its own backpack.
Approximately how much can your pup carry comfortably? Experts suggest that your canine should be able to tote about 10 to 12 percent of its body weight.
When you buy your dog a backpack, make sure it is the right size and fits comfortably. If you are buying a backpack online, make sure you can return it if the pack does not fit properly.
If your pup is a city slicker, its paws may not be used to rough terrain you find when hiking.
There are 3 ways you can protect your dog’s paws:
- Paw ointment. Good for short hikes.
- Dog socks.
- Dog hiking boots.
Paw ointment is good for hikes on established trails that are generally flat. The drawback is it rubs off.
Socks are more breathable in very hot weather but they only offer moderate protection for the paws.
Dog boots offer the most protection. They will be more suitable if:
- You will be hiking a while to your campsite from a carpark, or
- If your pet will have to walk in snow or on hot sand or over terrain where there will be a lot of burs, thorns or other sharp objects.
Stake and a tie out
Keep an eye on your dog.
It’s easy to leave a door open and have a pet wander off, especially when you’re packing and unpacking your car or grilling a meal outside.
Your dog may see the open door as its opportunity to go exploring on its own. After a few wrong turns, it gets lost. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, secure your pet on its stake and tie out when you know there will be a lot of coming and going in a campsite or into the cabin.
When selecting a tie out, choose one that your dog can’t bite through, such as a cable or a thick rope.
An alternative to a stake and tie-out is placing your dog in it’s own tent or screenhouse at a campsite or room in a cabin.
Towels are handy for wiping down a rain-soaked dog or one that has decide to go swimming in a nearby creek. Unfortunately, bath towels are bulky and take a long time to dry.
A better choice is a microfiber dog towel. These will take up less space in your backpack or suitcase. They are also designed to wring out easily and to dry quicker.
Don’t let your dog swim in stagnant water because of leptospirosis.
It’s a good idea to bring along grooming wipes for those pooches who like digging in dirt or sand. Grooming wipes keep their face nice and clean.
If your dog’s hair tends to get matted, you really need to pack your dog’s brush when your go camping. There are all sorts of sticks, burs and thorns that will get stuck in your dog’s coat when you do hiking.
Grooming needs to be a daily discipline to ensure your dog’s coat doesn’t get matted.
It’s also a good idea to brush down your after after you dried them from a swim.
If you take your dog to the groomer on a regular basis, I recommend getting a very short hair cut before a camping trip in the summer.
There are a couple of varieties of bowls I recommend as part of my extensive list tips on camping with dogs:
- Portable water bowl. There are many lightweight versions that can fold down and fit easily in a backpack or clipped to your belt loop when hiking on-the-go.
- Water and food bowls that are spill-proof. You want something sturdy and not collapsible for use in camp. Dogs can get very excited when they are away from home. They can tear around the camp and knock things over. I use ceramic bowls for Kuzy and Vince. They are heavier to carry but they don’t tip over as easily as stainless steel or plastic bowls.
Camping in the woods in an area where black bears active? You need bear spray.
If you don’t like the idea of bringing along multiple canine camping containers, you can use dry sacks too. With a softer shell, you can squish them up when packing if space is limited in your vehicle.
Being lightweight and waterproof, they are great for storing soft items like towels, sleeping backs, blankets, and soft toys.
Bring a personal flotation device (PFD) or life vest for your dog. If you’ll be boating, kayaking or engaging in any other watersports, your pet should wear a PFD. Even if your pet can swim, it may need the extra floatation if it should end up in the water far from shore.
It will also help them if they are going to be swimming in surf when you are beach camping.
Certified biodegradable poop bags
Take only memories, leave only footprints
Native american chief, Chief Seattle
Don’t be conned by those poop bag manufacturers who say their bags are “friendly to the earth”, “green” or “biological”. Look for a genuine certification that your dog poop bags are compostable and biodegradable so that it breaks down with the dog poop.
Night collar light
You’re probably going to be camping in an area where there is little to no lighting at night. When taking your dog for the potty calls after sunset, it would be handy if they are wearing a night light on their collar. As a human, you would be using your headlamp or flashlight at the same time.
Bed and dog home options
If you have the luxury of a good-sized campsite, spread out and give your dog ‘zones‘ for eating, rest, play and sleep.
Here’s how we set up camp with Vince and Kuzy:
- For rest, we have a day bed. This is an elevated bed made with mesh material. Sandy or muddy paws? A stray leaf or two in your dog’s coat? Not a problem! This bed is easy to clean. Elevated beds are really good if the ground is damp due to rain or dew. And they are perfect for your pup to sit around the campfire with you but not too close the fire!
- For play, they can just lie on the ground with their chew toy or figuring out a puzzle. If the ground is wet, the play zone becomes the elevated bed. If you are camping in the woods or hot sand, we get a piece of thick foam or a yoga mat cut down to size. This will provide a buffer between your dog and the hot or cold ground and rocks.
- At night, we have the dogs in a screenhouse to sleep. Underneath the screenhouse is groundsheet. Inside the screenhouse is a comfy dog bed. This could be a combination of a piece of closed-cell foam with a sleeping bag on top or an inflatable bed with a blanket on top. The combinations for sleeping are endless and depends if you want your dogs to share the same space as you.
You can substitute the screenhouse for a dog tent. Select a tent that will fit your dog with a bit of room around the sides. A small dog can probably fit comfortably with you in a standard tent. But if you’ll be camping with a bigger dog or dogs, you might be better off bringing a tent with a vestibule area. if you are a keen on tent camping, check out what you should you bring here.
And, please, never leave your pup staked out at night. It could fall prey to a wild animal or get spooked in the dark, break free and run away.
Assemble your doggie first aid kit
Hopefully, your pet will enjoy an injury-free camping trip. But it never hurts to be prepared with a doggie first aid kit.
Your doggie first aid kit should at least include:
- Scissors and tweezers
- Bandages (check out the video for the details)
- Hydrogen peroxide (which can be used to clean out wounds and also to induce vomiting in the event your pup eats something they shouldn’t)
- Antibiotic ointment with lidocaine and
- Saline eye solution for flushing sand or grit out of your dogs’ eyes.
Many pet and outdoor sports stores also offer pre-made dog first aid kits for sale.
Just like a life vest, floating leashes are useful to keep your pup close by when swimming. These precautions are more suitable for dogs that are not strong swimmers.
When hiking with your dog, most National and State Parks requires the leash to be no longer than 6 feet long.
My advice here is to buy all the food – dry and wet food plus snacks – that your dog eats regularly. Camping is exciting for some dogs and not so exciting for others. Familiar food can help your dog settle into this new environment because it is know and familiar.
- Bring a dusting pan and brush. Useful for not only cleaning your tent but your dog’s tent or screenhouse as well.
- Buy sunscreen for your dog, especially if they are white haired dogs with pinky skin or have a white nose.
Step 2 – Get Prepared
These are tasks you need to complete before you go outdoor camping with your dog.
Once you’ve checked off these tasks, you have the peace of mind knowing that you’ve not forgotten anything. No matter what happens on the trip, you are all covered for most eventualities. And you know you and your pooch are ready for an awesome camping trip.
My pre-camping preparation list is especially useful if you are a control freak like me!!
The list is in order of those tasks that take the longest time to complete (prior to your camping trip) down to those tasks that take the shortest time to complete.
Task #1 Build stamina for long hikes
Work on your pet’s fitness weeks before you go camping and hiking.
Build up your dog’s stamina if you’ll be hiking to your campsites. Just like you, your pup will need to gradually build up its endurance before you suddenly ask it to head out for a long-distance hike. Start with a few short walks over terrain similar to what you’ll be experiencing on your camping trip and then gradually add more distance on each training hike.
These training trips will also help to toughen up your pup’s paws.
If you are doing a lot of hiking during the day, check out this article for a good training program to get your dog fit and ready.
Task #2 Ensure your dog is has obedience basics
A poorly trained pup is a disaster waiting to happen when you’re camping in unfamiliar territory.
It’s especially important to work on your dog’s recall (coming back when you call it). Imagine a rabbit or a squirrel running past your dog and causing it to suddenly jerk the leash out of your hand. You want to make sure that your dog will return to your side when you call for it or it could get hopelessly lost.
Any items in your doggie first aid kit that needs replacing or has gone beyond its expiry date.
Task #3 Ensure your dog is healthy enough (visit your regular vet)
This task is less important if you are a regular canine camper and you visit the same location each vacation.
When should you visit the vet?
Here are the situations where I would recommend a visit or chat with your vet:
- It’s your first time outdoor camping with your dog;
- You are going camping in a very different location;
- You are camping in the backcountry with no convenient access to local vets;
- Your dog has medical conditions;
- Your dog hasn’t had any vaccinations in over 12 months.
Benefits of visiting your vet
If you are camping in a location that is unfamiliar to you, have a chat with your vet first. They may be able to give advice on specific precautions you can take when you are camping on the beach, in the woods, by a lake or in the desert. They could also give you specific medical items to put in your doggie first aid kit.
Get your dog up-to-date on all of their vaccinations and medications, This includes heartworm and flea and tick preventatives. And if your dog doesn’t normally get the leptospirosis vaccination, you may want to ask your vet to administer one. Lepto is carried by wildlife and is spread through contaminated soil and water.
Some campgrounds might ask to see proof of vaccinations for your canine. Request a copy of your pet’s records from your vet. Besides, it’s always good to have a copy on hand. There’s always the possibility that you might have to board your pet overnight in a kennel or need proof that your dog has had its rabies vaccine if it were to accidentally bite someone.
Task #4 Do your research
1. Swat up on the regulations
Each park is different. National Parks, State Parks, State Forests and Recreation Areas are governed by different rules and regulations.
You need to determine the dog regulations specific to where you will be camping and hiking. The regulations may determine other items you need to pack before your trip.
Camping at the beach? Many beaches are closed to dogs, while others are only open specific times and hours for canine use. For example, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, dogs are allowed on the beach and boardwalk during the spring, fall and winter months. But in the summer, dogs are only allowed on the beaches during restricted times of the day and only in certain locations. So always check the local guidelines before taking your pet onto a beach.
2. Is the campsite pet-friendly?
Call ahead and verify that your campsite is pet-friendly.
Many National Parks do not allow dogs nowadays. Even private campgrounds do have restrictions on the number of dogs you can bring or on the size and breed of your canine. In addition, some campsites will also charge a per-dog fee.
3. Where are you camping?
Get a map of the campground and surrounding area.
Get familiar with the area where you will be camping. When we go camping, these are the type of things I like to research:
- What’s the best access point into the park?
- Where is the park ranger’s office?
- Where is the shower and toilet block (if there is one) in relation to the campsite?
- When dog kennels are available, how far are they from the campground?
- How far away are the shops if you need groceries and other items?
- Does the campsite have cell phone reception?
- How close is the campsite to things you definitely want to visit with your dog like a lake or beach?
4. Where is the nearest vet?
Research the address and phone number of the closest vet. Mark it on your map!
Also keep those details in your wallet for easy and quick reference.
Task #5 Make sure your dog’s backpack is comfortable
Once again this is more relevant if you are a first time canine camper.
Before your trip, take your pup on a few practice runs with his pack on to ensure that it fits properly. That way, your dog can get used to the feel of having the pack on his back.
If it doesn’t fit properly, at least you will some time before the trip to go back to the store and get a better fitting backpack.
If your dog is not used to wearing a life vest, consider also getting your dog used to that to.
Task #6 Test out doggie hiking boots
Have your pet practice wearing the booties a few times before your trip so that it can get used to wearing something on its feet. You will see why that’s important when watching Mosely the Boxer trying out his boots for the first time in this video.
Task #7 Get out your canine camping container from storage
Doggie first aid kit
Check if any items in your canine first aid kit have expired beyond its Use By date. Replace them with something more current.
Add any additional medical items in there that your vet recommended your take from your recent chat with them.
Smells and mold
Check for any signs of mold or musty smells. Remove those items from the box and air them.
When you return from your camping trip, make sure the items you have in your canine camping container are dry and clean. Items that stay will will grow mold and degenerate e.g. life vest used in the water.
Task #8 Check your dog’s ID
The importance of ID tags
A dog might be standing by your side one second when you’re hiking, and in a flash, it’s suddenly gone. That is why your dog should always wear identification tags when camping, They should also be microchipped.
Is a GPS tracker necessary?
You may also want to invest in a GPS tracker. While microchips and ID tags can help someone return your dog to you, a GPS tracker can actually help you find your dog. One caveat: These trackers may not work in more remote areas where cell service is limited.
Is your dog’s ID legible?
Just check that you can read the details on the regular ID that your dog carries on its collar. If not, organise for a new tag with your name and cell phone number.
Bring a spare
It’s likely your dog’s ID could get lost. I always pack a spare.
An extra ID precaution where there’s no cell servide
When you are camping in the backcountry, there is no cell reception. If your dog gets lost, a regular dog ID will be useless for anyone to contact you.
When we go camping, I have a special ID that I put on my 2 dogs with:
- My first name
- My cell number
- The make, color and registration details of my car.
That way the person who finds my dog could recognize me driving around the park or campsite. It’s just an extra precaution.
Step 3 – Get Ready
I know what you’re thinking… “Aren’t we ready to go camping yet?” You are so close, just a few more things to do.
So far, we have:
- Step 1 – Gone shopping. we have all the gear we need!
- Step 2 – You are now prepared for camping with your precious pooch! You’ve done all the research you need to. You’ve gone through our canine camping container/s from your last trip. You have made sure everything that was in that container/s is good to go for the trip you are about to embark on.
The steps you take to ‘be ready’ are done generally the day before you set off on your camping trip:
- Pack water for your pup. Your pet will work up quite a thirst while camping, especially if you’ll be hiking. So always have an adequate supply of clean water on hand. If you’ll be hiking in the backcountry, try to avoid having your pet drink from streams or lakes, which could contain the giardia parasite or the bacteria that causes leptospirosis.
- Pack enough food for your pup. On a camping trip, it’s likely that your canine will be much more active than he would be in your home. So you’ll need to bring more food for your dog than it normally would eat. How much more should you bring? Well, if you’ll be hiking to your campsite, experts suggest that you bring and feed 25 percent more food to your pet. An alternative to carrying additional food is to change 25 percent of your dog’s food to a puppy kibble, which is packed with more calories and protein.
- Grab your dog’s dry food and treats and place them in bear and raccoon-proof containers inside your canine camping container.
- I take a couple of resealable bags with me when camping. Just before a hike, I place the snacks/treats in a bag and put them in my pocket or backpack.
- If you are taking bedding your dog will be sleeping on from home, grab it and place it in your container.
- Pack your dog’s Vaccination Certificate.
- Keep this certificate handy. Park authorities may ask to see it as you are driving into a National Park. The last thing you want to do is stop the car and then dig through all the stuff you’ve packed looking for the vaccination certificate. I keep vaccination certificates in a plastic sleeve in the glove box of my car.
- Place medications into a small container. I keep my dog’s medications inside a lunchbox inside our canine camping container.
Step 4 – What To Do Upon Arrival At The Place
Upon arrival in a National Park or when checking into a campground, pay attention to any special notices that might be posted. This is where you will find warnings that could affect your trip. These include high water notices for rivers that you might need to cross with your dog or increased coyote sightings in an area.
If you need to let park authorities know how long you plan to be in the park, let’s do it now before the fun starts.
Step 5 – Setting Up Camp For Your Dog
Find shade. Your dog will need somewhere to escape the sun, so it’s important to bring an umbrella, pop-up tent or something that will provide it with shade.
Don’t allow your dog to run loose. It could get hopelessly lost or injured while exploring unfamiliar terrain. And it’s also dangerous. Your pet could frighten a bear or other predator, which might attack it out of fear.
Bring something for your pup to rest on. Finding a comfortable place to sit or lie down can be difficult for a pup when they’re in the desert, woods or at the beach. So bring a camping sleep pad or a yoga mat cut down to your pup’s size. This will provide a buffer between your dog and the hot or cold ground and rocks. An elevated dog bed is another great option.
Step 6 – What To Do Before Each Outing With Your Dog
- Apply sunscreen. Doggy sunscreen is available at pet stores and should be applied to your dog, especially if it has light or white fur.
- Pack dog treats and snacks in a resealable bag and place it inside your backpack or pocket.
- Check your dog is wearing their ID
- Apply paw ointment to the pads of your dog’s paws before putting on the dog boots
- Put the collapsible bowl for water inside your backpack, inside your dog’s backpack or clipped to your belt buckle if it has a carabiner.
- Pack the doggie backpack
- Poop bags for the day.
- Water supply.
- Microfiber towel.
Step 7 – What To Do During Your Outings
Always be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion.
Dogs primarily cool their bodies down by panting, which is less effective than sweating. So keep a close on your furry hiking buddy while you’re in the desert.
Signs that your canine may be suffering from heat exhaustion include difficulty breathing, bright red, gray, purple or bluish gums, weakness and tremors. If you notice these symptoms, get your dog out of the heat and to a vet as soon as possible.
Be wary of allowing your dog to swim in stagnant bodies of water. Some may contain blue-green algae, which can be deadly or cause long-term health problems for dogs. If your pup should become very ill after swimming, take it immediately to a veterinarian for treatment.
If you are in the woods, don’t allow your dog to chase after wild game. During your time in the woods, you may run into a few woodland creatures. And while it may be your pet’s natural instinct to chase after them, it’s important to keep your pet leashed and by your side. Remember, it’s illegal to harass wildlife in national parks.
Step 8 – What To Do After Each Outing With Your Dog
- Check your dog over carefully after hiking and/or camping. Ticks can cause Lyme’s disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and other illnesses. You’ll want to check your canine carefully for these pests.
- Inspect your pet’s paws carefully for any burrs or foxtails that may be stuck between its pads.
- Apply paw ointment at the end of the hike to soften the pads of your dogs paws after a long hike.
- Check your dog is still wearing their ID tag.
Step 9 – Your Daily Dog Routines At Camp
These daily routines will keep you dog safe, clean and happy. And the natural environment and your neighboring campers around you will be grateful you’ve made the effort.
The daily groom
As the day winds down, grab your dogs grooming brush. Begin to remove leaves, sticks and other debris stuck to your dog’s coat. As you do this, check again for fleas or ticks – maybe they jumped on closer to camp vs. on a hike.
Brush down your dog before they’re evening meal whilst it’s still light.
Clean up after your pet
Don’t give your fellow dog owners a bad name or give campsites a reason to ban canines in the future. Always pick up and properly dispose of your pet’s waste while in a campground or in an RV park. If you’re hiking in the backcountry, always bury your dog’s waste in a six to eight-inch hole at least 200 feet away from trails or any sources of water. And please use certified biodegradable dog poop bags.
Be a good neighbor when staying close to other campers. No one wants to walk out of their cabin and step into a pile of dog poop.
Use light for night potty
If you need to take your pet for a walk so that it can relieve itself, make sure to carry a flashlight or wear a headlamp. Many creatures are attracted to campsites and campgrounds at night by the smell of food, and the last thing you want is for your pet to accidentally run into a skunk you couldn’t see or frighten and anger a bear.
Your dog should be wearing their own night light collar. That way you don’t lose them amongst the trees and bushes while you are waiting for them to go to the toilet.
Always place your food, including your pup’s food high in a bear bag or canister and store away from your tent. Some campers will hang their food in a tree or on a bear pole.
Never leave your dog’s uneaten food outside. Bears, as well as other creatures, are attracted to campsites by the smell of food, and you really don’t need a hungry bear nosing around your tent or cabin.
Rinse the dog food bowl after every meal.
The Importance of Familiar Things
Anxious or skittish dogs may not feel at ease when camping in the wild. There are strange noises and smells. It would be more comforting for your precious pooch if you bring their bedding, toys and other favorite things they have at home with you camping.
Tips for RV Camping
- Keep it cool. If you need to leave your pet alone in your RV while it’s parked, always remember to leave the air conditioning on. Just like a car, the interior of an RV can get dangerously hot for a pet if the windows and doors are shut.
- Use a monitoring system in your RV. Some RV owners use cameras and smart technology to keep an eye on their pets when they’re away from their vehicles. This technology can also alert an owner if a system, such as the vehicle’s air conditioning, should fail.
- Purchase spill-proof water and food bowls. These bowls have special lids that will minimize spills while you are driving.
- Use restraining harnesses or safety belts for your pups. For your safety and that of your dog’s, keeping your pet secured while you are driving is imperative. It can get very bumpy in an RV and a pet can easily get thrown violently around in an RV during a quick stop or a sharp turn. And you don’t want a pet getting under your (braking) foot while you’re trying to drive a huge RV down the road. If you are pulling a camping trailer, your pet should be the vehicle with you and not in the trailer.
Where can I find the best camping with a dog checklist?
Right on this page. I’ve shared 57 tips for camping with a dog. I’ve also shared 9 steps to make sure your canine camping vacation is safe and happy for you and your dog.
What are the top 10 tips for outdoor camping with a dog?
OK find 57 tips a bit overwhelming? I get it. So here are my Top 10 must-haves if you are tent camping, you’re OK with your dog sharing your tent, you are not near water/bear country and your dog is not a nervous type or does not take medications on a regular basis:
- Bring a stake and tie-out.
- Bring a comfy dog bed.
- Create a canine first aid kit.
- Get your dog checked by your vet, making sure vaccines are up to date. Pack the Vaccination Certificate with your camping gear.
- Food and water. Pack the food in bear and raccoon-proof containers. And bring bowls.
- Paw protection for your pooch – ointment, shoes or boots
- Sunscreen for your dog
- Make sure your destination is dog-friendly and check rules and regulations ahead of time. Always read the Notices as you enter the area so you are aware of what’s been happening.
- Pack poop bags and clean after your dog daily.
- Check your dog for fleas, ticks, and debris that are likely to tangle their coat.
Where To From Here?
By the end of this article, you should be organized and ready to head off for an exciting camping adventure with your pooch. The problem is, where are you going camping? If you need some inspiration, check out our very detailed dog-friendly hiking and camping guides for some great locations across the U.S.
|DOG-FRIENDLY HIKING GUIDES|
|Name and link to the article||State covered|
|Can You Hike With Dogs In National Parks?||Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Utah, Maine and Virginia|
|Top Rated Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails Near Grand Lake Co||Colorado|
|Hiking With Dogs Off-Leash in Colorado (15 Epic Hikes)||Colorado|