Written by: Parker Reeves
Camping with your best friend can be an amazing bonding experience for you and your dog. Unfortunately, bringing them along can make planning your trip more complicated. We’ll discuss everything you need to know to prepare for a camping trip with your dog.
What You Need To Know About Camping With Dogs
Check The Rules
Before heading out, you need to make sure you’re aware of your campground’s rules. Some allow pets, others don’t. It would be a huge disappointment to get there and realize your dog isn’t allowed to camp with you.
Many campsites will also require your dog to be on a leash or tied up at all times. While rules can vary by campground, you can use sites like this to help you find pet-friendly campgrounds to take your pal to.
Practice Recalling Your Dog
Even if you have them on a leash for the entirety of your trip, you need to practice recalling your dog. If you can’t get your dog to come back to you on command, you probably shouldn’t bring them camping with you.
Your dog may get off the leash at some point, and recalling them is a big deal when it comes to safety. If they run off after a smell in the trees, they can easily get lost on a hike or get hurt when you aren’t around.
Just be sure your dog will come back to you when you call, and be sure to practice a lot with them in a safe, closed-off environment.
Where Should Your Dog Sleep?
One big question many campers have is where their dog should sleep. You have plenty of options, but you need to make sure your dog will be comfortable.
Keep in mind that you shouldn’t leave your dog alone in a closed-up area for long. Your car is not a good option to leave your dog in, even if you’re there. You shouldn’t even leave them alone in a tent without you if the weather is hot.
Your dog can overheat much easier than you. That being said, they need some sort of shelter from the elements.
You can let them sleep in the tent with you just by bringing along a dog bed. Make sure they have plenty of space, air movement, and water in case it gets warm.
You can also put their dog bed in your camper and let them sleep there. If you have a hard-sided kennel at home and can bring it along, it can make a good overnight option.
Try to never leave them alone anywhere for too long. You can let them nap anywhere they want, but make sure they can shelter with you for overnight sleep.
Everything You Need To Bring
Also, before you go, consider making a checklist of everything you need to bring for your dog. A short one is fine, but it will help you keep organized.
As a bare minimum, you should bring the following:
- Food and water bowls
- Plenty of dog food, treats, and water for them
- A dog bed or bedding
- A kennel or shelter, if you have one
- Their normal leash and an extra one just in case
- ID tags
- Bells or lights for their collar to discourage wildlife interactions
Everything here is in addition to everything you’ll need to bring with you on your trip. Always double whatever you think you’ll need for your trip. Sometimes you can get stuck out there longer than expected, so it’s better to be prepared just in case.
Know Where You’re Going
You should check if the campground you’ll visit is pet-friendly, but you should also look into the surrounding area.
Know where there are thick woods, cliffs, hills, bodies of water, and trails. This is especially important if you’re going to hike around with your dog.
Walk your dog around the campsite to establish a territory for them that will serve as their safe space. It helps them feel more comfortable and keeps them from exploring too far away without you.
Watch Out For Wildlife
Your dog is a hunter by nature. As long as they come back when you call, it’s okay if they chase a squirrel up a tree.
Keep in mind that there is wildlife out there that poses a threat to you and your dog. You can use bear bells and collar lights to help discourage wildlife interactions, but always keep an eye on your dog in the bush.
Know Your Dog
Finally, it’s important to know your individual dog. You need to know their regular activity level and stay within it. Know that they respond to commands and will return to you. And know what your dog needs to stay happy and healthy.
Your dog’s health and safety are your responsibility, and you need to watch out for them if you take them camping with you.
Benefits of Camping With Your Dogs
There are plenty of benefits to taking your dog camping with you, but the chief one among them is that it will strengthen your bond. You can reconnect with nature and spend a ton of quality time together on your trip.
It gives you and your dog a great opportunity to be physically active and destress from your regular lives. It’s also the perfect way to make memories with your best friend.