Insider Tips for Successfully Camping with Dogs

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A shaggy dog sits in a tent and ready for a fun camping trip.

You’re planning a tent camping weekend with a few friends, and you’re considering camping with your dogs too. They love to swim and play fetch in the yard, so of course, you think they’ll enjoy the camping experience. You’re probably right. And it’s a great bonding experience with your pets. 

However, don’t head to a campground without a little preparation. There are certain things you must do to prepare for camping with dogs. Let’s look at how you can make your weekend camping adventure a positive experience for both you and your furry friend.

Are Dogs OK Camping?

Camping with dogs is a fun experience for both you and your furry friends. Dogs love being outside and near their owners, so taking your dog camping with you is a great idea. However, if you choose to bring along Fido, you’ll need to pack some things just for him. You’ll also want to plan ahead, so he’s taken care of if you need to leave the campsite. 

Although they’re great companions, dogs also require quite a bit of work. So be prepared when you take your precious pet camping.

Tips for Camping with Dogs

Below is a list of tips for camping with dogs that should help make your and your dog’s experiences more enjoyable and less stressful. These tips include safety and provision tips for fido during your weekend adventure.

1. Don’t Plan to Leave Your Dog Alone If Tent Camping

Sometimes you have to leave your dog alone while camping. There are some places she just can’t go. If you’re in an RV, you simply crate her or leave her inside and lock the door. However, if you’re tent camping, make other plans. Drop your dog off at a doggy daycare facility, make arrangements with another camper, or plan activities your dogs can do with you. 

It’s just not safe to leave her alone, no matter how well-behaved you think she is. You can’t control the weather, the wildlife, or other campers.

2. Buy a Temperature Monitor If in an RV 

When camping with dogs in an RV, you want to monitor them when you’re away from the campsite. A temperature monitor is an excellent addition to your camping gear. This gadget will connect to your phone and alert you if the temperature reaches a certain level. Maybe your air conditioning unit goes out during a hot summer day. It could be deadly for your pet to sit in an RV in Florida in August. So if you receive an alert, you know to return to your rig quickly.

Pro Tip: Check out these 10 must have items when RVing with dogs to make your life easier!

3. Pack Plenty of Food 

Don’t forget to pack food for your pet when you pack food for yourself. And pack lots of it just in case something happens, and you need an extra day or two of dog food. Pack it in an airtight container and preferably one that reduces the smell. Bears, raccoons, squirrels, and other wildlife love to get into dog food if left outside. It’s best to store it away in your vehicle or your RV if possible. You need a special container to keep the wildlife from venturing into your tent when tent camping.

4. Pack the Right Gear 

As you pack the right gear for you, keep in mind the gear your pet will also need to have an enjoyable and safe camping weekend. Don’t forget the portable water bowl or hiking dog booties if you’re going hiking. If it’ll be cold, remember the dog sweater or heated dog bed. 

Pro Tip: Check out these winter products for pets that are cute and functional!

5. Always Keep Your Dog on a Leash

You may think your dog would never hurt anyone. You may think your dog would never run away from you. And you may be right. However, you can’t control other dogs or other people. Keeping your dog on a leash isn’t punishment; it’s protection. You’re keeping your pet safe from other dogs and other campers. Sometimes it only takes a tiny trigger, and you have a disaster on your hands. Keeping your dog on a leash is a general rule almost anywhere you go. Don’t ignore it because you think your dog can just listen to your commands.

6. Prepare for Emergencies

Just like you need to pack extra food, consider other items you’ll need in case of an emergency. If something happens, and you’re stuck at your campsite for another two or three days, what would you and your dog need? 

Pack at least one extra gallon of water. Bring your pet’s health records and vaccinations. Any time you travel with your pet, you want to be prepared, just in case.

7. Double Up on Essential Items 

Also, consider doubling up on essentials like leashes, waste bags, water bowls, collars, etc. This isn’t in preparation for an emergency; rather, it’s for if something happens and you need another one. 

For example, if you’re out walking your dog and somehow the leash breaks, that’s an item you absolutely need while camping. If you pack an extra one, you’ll be all set. If you don’t, you’ll be making an unexpected run to a store, which might not be nearby. 

8. Stick to Your Routine 

Dogs enjoy routine. They want to know their water bowl will always be in a specific place, and they like knowing when it’s time to eat. Your dogs probably wake up in the morning excited to go on your regular morning walk together. 

Stick to the same routine you have when you’re home. Your dog will expect to eat at 7:00 am and have playtime at 5:00 pm if that’s the routine. Keep your pet happy by following the same routine.

9. Keep Your Dog Hydrated 

When camping with dogs, this is one of the most important tips. Pets need water. If you’re just hanging around a campsite for the weekend, don’t forget to keep your dog’s bowl full. If you’re planning on hiking, don’t just pack water for yourself. Make sure you have a portable water bowl and water for your dog, too. Pay attention to the weather. If it’ll be hot next weekend when you’re tent camping, pack extra water for you and your dog.

10. Practice Good Campsite Etiquette

Finally, clean up after your pet. It’s unfortunate that we have to mention this, but too many who go camping with dogs don’t follow this rule at most campgrounds, state parks, and other public places. You’ll notice signs reminding you to clean up after your pets, thanks to those who have left dog poop sitting in the middle of a hiking trail or piled to the side of their campsite. 

Don’t be that camper. Pack plenty of waste bags and pick up after your dog.

Good campsite etiquette also includes not walking your dog through another campsite. Take your dog for lots of walks, but don’t traipse through someone else’s front yard. 

Minimize barking as much as possible. Dogs bark to communicate, but a yapping dog that barks for hours will ruin a camping experience for others. If your dog barks at everything that moves, consider leaving him at home instead of bringing him with you. You’ll annoy your neighbors who may not be very polite to you or your dog.

How Do You Find Dog-Friendly Campsites?

Almost all campsites are dog-friendly. Traveling with pets is very common. In fact, you may see more campers with dogs than without them. But as you search for campsites, make sure they specify pet-friendly. 

Usually, a campground will list a few reminders about cleaning up after your dog and keeping her on a 6ft leash at all times. Those are normal rules at most campgrounds. RV parks and campgrounds that don’t allow pets will turn you away, but you’ll find that most places allow pets. 

In addition, many places also provide dog parks and safe areas to let Fido run around safely off-leash.

How Do You Entertain Your Dog While Camping?

If you decide to bring your furry friend with you, you’ll have to entertain him. Dogs want to play, especially outdoors. Don’t expect to hang your hammock and read for hours if you bring your pet. He’ll want to run, swim, hike, play with chew toys, and anything else you can think of to help your dog release energy. A tired dog is a happy dog. This means he’s been active and enjoyed his day.

So if you’re planning a day hike at a nearby state park, take your dog with you. Just remember to pack lots of water, dog waste bags, and a leash. Or, if you visit a local swimming hole at a lake, check to see if pets are allowed. If so, take your dog with you and let him splash around and play fetch in the water. 

Whatever activities you have planned, just double-check that dogs are allowed and read any rules. If pets are permitted, the general rules of cleaning up after them and keeping them on a leash are pretty standard. If there are indoor facilities, a sign may state that pets aren’t permitted inside.

There’s Nothing Better Than Camping with Dogs

Whether you’re a solo camper, a retired couple or a family living in an RV, taking your pet camping can make or break everyone’s experience. Be prepared, be safe, follow the rules, and have fun. Go make memories with Fido. Take pictures on the top of mountains or the side of canyons. Just plan ahead to make your dog’s experience positive alongside your own.

Have you taken your dog camping? What tips would you add to the list for a safe and enjoyable experience?

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