What To Take When Camping With a Dog At The Beach?

You love the beach. You love camping. Add your dog to the beach and camping and it’s a perfect scenario. How do you make this experience great for you and your dog? This positive experience starts by making sure you have brought all the right stuff with you.

What to take when camping with a dog at the beach? Here’s a list of 15 must-haves to bring to ensure you and your pooch have the best time beach camping:

  1. Water and water bowls
  2. Dog food in a sealed container
  3. Dog treats
  4. First aid kit
  5. Dog booties
  6. Dog life vest
  7. Floating leash and collar with identifying information
  8. Dog sunscreen
  9. Dog toys
  10. Poop bags
  11. Dog brush
  12. Towels
  13. Dog backpack
  14. Sleeping pad, blanket, or crate
  15. Flashlight and/or collar light

The best vacations are often those where a lot of thought and planning has gone into it. Beach camping with your dog is no different. Our list of 15 items is very comprehensive. We’ll help you through it so you don’t feel overwhelmed. All those items will ensure that your beach canine camping vacation is packed with great positive memories rather than disasters.

Box It Baby

Whether you and your dog are regular beach campers or not, grab a large plastic box. Put all of our 15 must-have items in there.

When you’re ready to hit the road, grab the box and you are ready. Knowing that everything you need is in your dog camping container, will give you peace of mind. And that’s a positive way to start your vacation!

There will be some items you’ll need to tinker with before you take it with you. We’ll run through that as we review each of those 15 items you should bring when camping with your dog.

What to take when camping with a dog at the beach?

1. Water and Water Bowls

Any time you take your dog anywhere, water is a must-have item.

Especially in hot weather, dogs get thirsty quickly and you never want them to get dehydrated. Always have fresh water available to your dog.

This first essential item will help keep your dog feeling comfortable and hydrated throughout your entire camping trip.

Which water bowl is best?

There are 2 types of water bowls that would be best for camping with your canine. Both types pack flat in your canine camping container box to optimize space.

  • The bowls that look like a tiny bucket with upright side made with soft material.
  • Bowls that collapse and fold flat.

Pricing on these water bowls at around $5.

Don’t bring your dog’s water bowl from home. If it gets lost on the camping trip, your dog won’t have anything to drink out of when you return home. Also, ceramic drinking bowls are heavy and take up a lot of room in your container box.

Pro beach camping tip #1 
Just pack your dog's water bowl in the dog camping container. You'll either be packing gallons of fresh water elsewhere in your camping kit or buying on the way or as you go.

Salt water and your dog

When your dog gets thirsty from playing on the beach, he might try to drink the salt water. You can try to prevent this from happening by having plenty of freshwater available to him to drink.

The salt water can also be irritating to your dog’s skin and paws, so you can use your fresh water to rinse him off after he comes out of the ocean as well.

2. Dog Food in a Sealed Container

Depending on where you are camping, you could run into all sorts of wild animals: bear, wild boar, birds, seals, etc.

Any time you camp you should keep all your food sealed in tight containers. This has 2 advtnages:

  • Keep the dog food fresh
  • Deters animals from entering your camp and raiding your food stash.

Obviously, if you don’t bring food for your dog he will quickly get very hungry. If you don’t keep the food safe, you and your dog could be in a very dangerous situation.

Also, be sure to clean up any pieces of food your dog may leave behind after they are done eating.

You might be tempted to just feed your dog scraps of your food while you’re camping. This isn’t a good idea. Introducing new human food may quickly make your dog sick during your camping trip.

Pro beach camping tip #2
Pick a special color or write on the food container "Dog Food". You won't get human and dog food contains mixed up.
When you come from from your trip, wash out your dog's sealed food container and then place it straight back into your canine camping container box.

3. Dog Treats

Dog treats might not seem like an absolutely essential item. They can go a long way in keeping you and your dog safe and happy while camping.

Before you attempt a camping trip with your dog you should make sure he is well trained. Camping for a dog can be can be a highly distracting environment. Even the best-trained dog can be tempted by all the new sights, smells, and sounds at the beach. With all that space to run around, they could quicly take off without you.

Always make sure you have access to high value treats to encourage your dog to follow commands in these situations:

  • Running off down the beach or in the bushes
  • When they come back with something dead in their mouths like a fish, mouse, rat or bird
  • When a wild animal enters your camp looking for food.

Practice these important commands as soon as you arrive at your campsite: “Come”, “Quiet”, “No”, “Leave it”, “Drop” and “Stay”.

Pro beach camping tip #3
Be sure top place dog treats in a sealed container as well. Write on the food container "Dog Treats".
Wash out that container when back home. You know what to do after that, right? Place the Dog Treats sealed container straight back into your canine camping container box.

4. First Aid Kit

In your first aid kit, make sure you have items both for you and your dog. Hopefully you’ll never need to use it,  but you need to be prepared.

Common injuries

  • Cut to your dog’s pad caused by shells, fish hooks, sharp sticks, crabs, etc. Especially if your dog is playing in the water, there could be sharp items that you can’t see.
  • Tick from the seagrass or nearby woods. Your first aid kit should contain tweezers and alcohol in this case.
  • Hot sand burn dog paws that have blistered.
  • Sand in the eyes. When it’s really windy, sand may enter your dogs’ eyes, making them gritty and unofmrotable. Another useful items for your first aid kit is dog drops from your vet.
Pro beach camping tip #4
Eye drops expire. in addition, check with your vet to see if the eye drops need to be kept refridgerated whilst you are on vacation.

Bandaging an injured dog paw

In the case of cuts, burns or blisters whilst camping at the beach, you will need to create a protective bandage.

  1. if you have sterile gloves in your first aid kit, put them on.
  2. Flush the pads with cool water.
  3. Wash with antibacterial soap.
  4. Put an antiseptic or antibiotic ointment (like Betadine®) on the dog’s paw. Don’t use alcohol on the paw because it burns.
  5. Let it air dry.
  6. Wrap the paw and the ankle with gauze and medical tap as demonstrated in the video below.

Make sure your dogs rests after their injury.

Don’t leave your injured dog alone when beach camping. They won’t be able to run away when stray wildlife enters your camping area because of their injured paw.

Eye drops

Don’t forget to pack eye drops in your first aid kit. This will really come in handy when your dog’s eye is stinging from sand in their eye.

The closest vet

Hopefully, you won’t face issues any more serious than we’ve already covered. In case you do, investigate and carry the name, address, and phone number of the closest veterinarian in case of an emergency.

5. Dog Booties

Dog booties can be a great asset to help prevent cuts and burns to your dog’s paw.

Anyone who has been to the beach knows the sand can get very hot and burn the bottom of your feet. The sand can do the same to dogs so make sure you keep their feet protected.

Your dog is not going to have any fun if he has to spend the entire trip with burned or cut pads.

If your dog is not used to wearing dog booties, practice wearing them at home so they are more comfortable with them on your camping trip.

If your dog can’t stand socks or booties, just make sure you take them for a walk first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening. At both these times of the day, the sand is cool and won’t burn their paws.

6. Dog Life Vest

Even the best swimmer can quickly get tired out and beaten by strong ocean waves and currents.

Keep your dog safe by keeping him in a comfortable dog life vest. If you forget this item, your dog could drown in a worst case scenario, so this is definitely a must have.

A life vest with handles on top makes it very easy for you to grab your dog quickly if needed.

Also be sure to keep the life vest on if you are taking your dog out on a boat.

This is another item that you should practice putting on your dog before your trip so he gets used to having it on his back.

7. Floating Leash and Collar with Identifying Information

Keeping your dog on a leash is part of being a responsible pet owner.

When your dog is swimming, the safest option is a floating leash that will stay on top of the water. This way, your dog’s feet won’t get tangled in the leash when he is trying to swim.

Even when you are back at your campsite, you should keep your dog leashed. Your dog is in an unfamiliar environment. There are many things that could spook him or cause him to run off.

In the event your dog does get away from you, always have him in a collar with your dog’s name, your name and your phone number.

8. Dog Sunscreen

Just like people, dogs can get sunburned, especially on their nose and ears.

Dogs with light hair, thin hair, and fair skin are more susceptible to sunburn than others.

Everyone knows how miserable it is to spend a trip with a sunburn, so don’t do this to your dog. Make sure the sunscreen is safe and specially formulated for dogs. Reapply the dog sunscreen as often as instructed on the package.

9. Dog Toys

Your dog could probably have fun for hours jumping in the waves and digging in the sand. You should still bring some of his favorite toys. This will help your dog feel more comfortable in their new environment and have more fun.

If your dog loves to play fetch, bring some balls that will float in the water. Your dog will have a blast.

It’s a good idea to also bring some toys for your dog to play with during down time, like when you’re sitting around the fire or just relaxing at your camp.

Whatever your dog loves at home, he’ll love at the beach, too.

10. Poop Bags

This is another part of being a responsible pet owner.

Don’t assume that just because you’re at the beach you don’t have to pick up after your dog.

It is the polite thing to do. It could also cost you a hefty fine if you don’t do it.

After you pick up after your dog, make sure you seal the poop in an airtight container with all of your other trash so wild animals don’t get in.

Avoid burying your dog’s poop in the sand. Dogs and people alike tend to dig in the sand. Nobody wants to uncover a pile of your dog’s poop.

11. Dog Brush

If your dog has long hair, it can quickly get matted in the salt water, sand, and wind. This can be uncomfortable and itchy for your dog. Staying on top of brushing their coat will help keep him more comfortable. It will also save you some headache and a trip to the groomers after your camping trip is over.

Even if your dog has short hair, a brush is useful to get the itchy and abrasive sand out of his coat.

12. Towels

Some dogs will be fine to just shake the water off and dry off in the sun. Others will be much happier if you dry them off.

If you let your dog’s fur dry in the sun, at least dry off his ears when he gets out of the water.

You’ll definitely want to dry your dog off before you go to sleep as well.

This will keep him comfortable and keep your sleeping area dry.

A towel is also very useful if your dog gets sand all over his face from digging and playing.

Get the microfiber quick dry dog towel so that is dries quick.

13. Dog Backpack

This is not a necessity, but can be really helpful to lighten your load. This is especially true if you’re planning on walking a lot or if you need to hike to get to your campsite.

If you do bring a dog backpack, it shouldn’t be too heavy, especially if it is hot outside. As with the booties and life vest, practice with this item to make your dog comfortable with it on your trip.

14. Sleeping Pad, Blanket, or Crate

If your tent is big enough, many dogs are used to sleeping on the floor.

If you would like your dog to be more comfortable, they can have their own sleeping gear.

Dogs can get thrown off by even small changes. The best sleeping option is to have a familiar blanket for them with their favorite familiar toys around them. It will help make your dog feel more at home on your beach camping trip.

If your dog is used to sleeping in a crate, you can even bring this along to help him sleep well in a familiar environment. A crate will also keep him safe so he doesn’t run off at night if he gets spooked or notices something he wants to chase.

I could recommend many more sleeping suggestions. You know your dog the best.

15. Flashlight and/or Collar Light

A flashlight is always good to have any time you’re camping. Think of when you or your dog needs to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

You can also opt to attach a light to your dog’s collar, which is a good idea if you plan to go for walks around sunset or in the dark.

Other Precautions and Things to Consider

Check the beach is dog friendly

There is one quick way to turn an inexpesnive beach camping trip into an exepsnive camping trip: get fined for being on a non dog-friendly beach.

As part of planning your beach camping vacation:

  1. Check beforehand that the beach is dog-friendly
  2. ind out any rules and regulations regarding dogs on the beach. Some beaches have specific guidelines for leash length, hours dogs are allowed on the beach, what to do with your dog’s poop, etc.

Watch your dog – especially first-timers

If your dog has never been to the beach before, keep a close eye on him and how he reacts to the new environment.

Some dogs might get energized by all the fun. Others might quickly get overwhelmed and need a place to calm down and relax.

Similarly, if your dog has never been camping before, know that he will feel out of his element. He may act differently. Your dog isn’t familiar with sea water. Your dog isn’t familiar with sand. Consider making a couple day trips to your nearest beach first. This way your dog will become more familiar with this strange new environment. if you are not close to a beach, fill up a toddlers wading pool . Let them splash around. See how your dog responds.

In the sea is another time to keep a watchful eye over your dog. When you have young children and dogs, you simply don’t have enough eyes!

For better peace of mind, don’t forget to put your dog in their life vest. if the surf is up, this would be a good tie to observe your dog.

Give your pooch plenty of breaks and time out of the sun. Some dogs get so excited playing at the beach that they don’t want to take breaks. It is up to you to recognize when they are getting tired or need a break.

Watch out for signs of dry drowning and heat stroke, which can both be very dangerous and even deadly. Check out this video (be warned the dog owner is being a complete idiot) to hear the sounds of dry drowning in dogs.

Dry Drowning Warning Signs

  • Excessive coughing
  • Signs of pain
  • Wheezing
  • Lethargy

Heat Stroke Warning Signs

  • Panting & drooling
  • Limited urine output
  • Restlessness
  • Red or pale gums
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Muscle tremors and weakness
  • Confusion

Avoid tall grass

Tall grass is where you will commonly find discarded bottles, cans and other rubbish left my irresponsible campers and beach goers. Amongst that debris could be shattered glass and other sharp objects. These could harm your dogs’ paws. So it’s best to avoid tall grass areas along the beach.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you check dog paw heat tolerance?

Place your foot or hand on the surface of the sand for ten seconds. if it’s too hot for you, then it’s too hot for your dog too. This is a simple and quick check to gauge dog paw heat tolerance. Temperatures on hot sand can reach over 145 degrees.

Can sand irritate dogs paws and eyes?

For those days when it’s very windy at the beach, avoid taking your dog for a walk. If sand does get stuck in their eyes, grab your first aid kit. Put some eyes drop inside the eye to soothe and clean them out.

Dog licking paws after beach, what do I do?

Check your dog’s paws for cuts or embedded objects like thorns. Bathe the paws in fresh water, cleaning them gently as you go. To sooth the paw, now soak in a tb of cold tea. If it’s chamomile tea, even better.

Prevention is better than cure. Wrap your dogs’ paws in dog socks or booties when camping at the beach.

What items do I need to bring that my dog needs to get used to first?

There are some items on the 15 must-haves that you’re dog might not be used to wearing at home, in their regular doggie lives.

  • Dog socks or booties
  • Dog life vest
  • Dog backpack

You should practice with your pooch to get used to them wearing these items. Do this at least 8 weeks in advance of your beach camping trip. Reward them with treats for keeping these items on for longer lengths of time.

Author - Eileen

Eileen is dog mom to 2 Shetland Sheepdogs - Shellie and her pup Bernie. They enjoy a couple of walks each day plus 2-3 sessions with the frisbee or Chuck-it! She enjoys many road trips with her dogs. She has tent camped all over the U.S. The dogs love exploring new hiking trails. Regardless of the season, Eileen has plenty to share with you about outdoor dog life whether it's in the Rockies in winter, Massachusetts in the summer or Oregon and Minnesota in between. She loves to find new off-leash parks while traveling.

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