The adventures of camping are only made more memorable by the presence of your dogs. There’s something gritty and real about camping and tenting up with dogs only intensifies that experience. If you’re camping with dogs, though, you’ll have some additional things to consider and you’ll need the right camping with dog gear.
Tips for Camping With Your Dog
Keep Them Healthy
Camping can be fun, but it can also be a stressful and anxious experience for your dog. You’re putting them in a new environment with a lot of stimulation, and while it’s a great way to give your dog the opportunity for mental exercises, it is sometimes exhausting for them as well. Giving them plenty of good, healthy habits in the weeks leading up to the trip will make sure that your canine friend maintains his wellness and makes the most of the camping experience. You can also keep your dog’s energy up with supplements to help reduce inflammation from any hiking you may do.
Watch the Weather
The winter season can pose health concerns for your beautiful dog--and that’s when you’re not even out in the wilderness. Keep in mind that when you go out camping, the weather can dip through different extremes. If your dog experiences problems, you’re also a lot farther away from access to care.
This doesn’t mean that camping with your dog is inherently dangerous, just don’t test the weather! Cold and wet dogs can get sick more easily, and extreme conditions can really damage your dog’s health.
Take the Right Gear
Camping with your dog requires an extra set of dog-specific gear. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, but you do have to make a list and take the right stuff. Camping with an uneasy dog is no fun for anyone.
Know the Rules
While many campgrounds and trails are super pet-friendly, this is not always the case. Many sites and locations have area-specific rules — like requiring that your dog needs to be on the leash. Research whether or not the campground allows dogs and the rules for those dogs before packing up with your pup.
Bring a Lot of Water
Hydration is incredibly important for both humans and dogs. If it gets cold, you may forget to drink water even though you’re moving around more often. If you’re out in the heat, you’ll need even more water than normal. Altitude also affects the body, as it will be working overtime to keep things functioning, sp providing yourself (and your canine) with liquids is essential. You get the idea--water is vital.
For dogs especially, you’ll need extra. Don’t let your dog lap up water that is salty or standing. Having fresh water on hand for them will prevent them from getting super sick.
A Great Leash
Yes, you absolutely need a leash. Even if your dog is really well trained, they can make other people uncomfortable by being unleashed. Additionally, depending on where you are heading, there could be wildlife that they could attack (or that attacks them). You will also need to make sure that they stay close to you at night for the same reasons.
Keep in mind that your dog’s feet are probably more used to cement and carpet than the great outdoors. You’re probably taking shoes that are different than normal, but your canine doesn’t have this option! Bring a wax product that you can use to protect their paws from the harsher elements, like snow and gravel. You can also use dog booties to keep things cool on their feet when you’re walking on a surface that is hot.
While it’s great to have some gear for yourself, you should also have some gear to help out your dog in the event that they suffer from an injury. There will be lots of running around and bounding over uneven terrain, so the risk of injury is higher for dogs out in the wilderness, especially if it is an environment that they are not used to.
Also remember that you will be the one that has to administer the first aid! There are some great courses out there online and in-person that can teach you how to administer pet first aid if you need to. But there are so many things that it can be hard to learn them all, so you may want to invest in a book as well.
You’ll also need some supplies specifically for your pet in your first aid kit. You might want some liquid bandages, a dog boot, and even some iodine for cleaning any wounds.
Dog Camping Gear
Camping takes a lot of gear, even without dogs. Here are some additional objects you’ll need to have a great adventure with your dogs:
Car Seat Protection
If you’re traveling the mountains, valleys, or beaches to camp with your dog, there will be a lot of dirt and sand involved. Keep the vehicle clean with some premium seat covers, which make prepping and cleaning up after camping easy.
Is your dog riding in the cargo space? Try a cargo liner, which not only keeps your car clean from your dog, but from all the other gear that you toss in the back.
A Quality Tent for Camping with a Dog
While you can use a regular old “made for humans” tent, there are also tents that offer great amenities for your dog. Get something that has a special place for your dog to hang out, extra airflow, sturdier fabric, or even doggy doors to make the place feel like home for both you and them during the entirety of the trip. This listicle by Outdoor Spider does a great job of highlighting the potential options if you don’t have a tent already!
Dog Camping Crate
The crate that you have at your house will certainly do the trick, but there are also crates for dogs that are built for camping. These tend to be a bit more spacious and comfortable, or just more lightweight and compact. Your dog will need a safe and comfortable spot to sleep for the night that won’t induce anxiety. You generally will want to let your dog sleep in their new crate a couple of nights before camping, that way they are used to the environment.
Dog Camping Accessories
- The right food. There are some great dry dog food brands that will serve you well here. Luckily, this is usually pretty easy. A bag of dog food will do the trick. You can also use camping as a time to get creative and share some “human” foods with your dog.
- For road trip essentials — we’ve got a great list for you right here.
- Toys! The wilderness has plenty of objects to entertain your dog, sure, but bringing familiar toys can make them more comfortable away from home!
- Brush. Things will get dirty out there, and brushing your dog off from all the accumulated dirt and sand at the end of the day will help keep them clean, healthy, and happy.
As you head out on your camping journey, keep these tips in mind. We hope you have a healthy, happy trip!
Are you an avid camper and think we missed a tip? Let us know in the comments below!