Bringing Fido Camping? 6 quick tips for camping with your dog

If some of the kids in your family bark and have four furry legs… and if you’re a family that loves to go camping, then here are 6 quick camping with dog tips to make your family trips a little easier and a little more enjoyable for everyone!

Since I don’t actually have a dog and I’m pretty sure my cats aren’t adventuresome enough to go camping, I’m very happy to have had help in putting this list together.  Cal Bailey is the author of the following advice and you can learn more about him and his writings and adventures below.

A dog sleeping in a camping tent

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Family Camping with your Dog

by Cal Bailey

In a time where family dinners are spent typing on smartphones, and being close with your family means sending memes on social media platforms, it’s always nice to be that family that makes an effort to reconnect in nature. Camping can be a great outdoor activity for the whole family during the warmer months of the year, and taking your pup with you can be even more fun for the whole household.

If you’re thinking about taking your pooch with you the next time you’re camping, you should read through the following tips that will grant you the best time ever.

Is your dog ready for camping?

Before you pack your tent and go, you should think about how ready your dog is for the trip. If you’ve been camping before then you will know more, but if this is your first time taking your dog camping you might want to go over some things.

Knowing your pooch, you can decide where you want to take the whole family for the camping trip.

If you know that your four-legged buddy is a senior dog, or just more on the lazy side in general, you should choose a laid-back family campground that you can get to fairly easy. If your dog is hyperactive and has a lot of energy to burn off, you should choose a camping site that has more difficult trails in the vicinity so you can explore them.

It’s also a good idea to prepare your dog before going.  Maybe taking your dog on a couple of short trails filled with more intensive exercises in the week prior to the camping trip can be just the thing you both need.

Is the campground dog-friendly?

Not every camping site is dog-friendly, so you have to make sure that the one you’re planning to visit has nothing against men’s best friends. It would be a shame to get ready and excited, only to see a sign saying that dogs are not allowed on the premises.

Also keep in mind the regulations connected to you dog, such as the leash necessity and more.

Bring the dog camping necessities

Bringing the pup on your camping trip means bringing much more stuff with you – things like dog food, treats, bowls for food and water, maybe some medicine and favorite toys.

Even if your dog is a good boy, don’t forget to bring a leash because you can’t know when you’re going to need it. If you have a doggo that has short hairs, it might be a good idea to bring some dog clothes or jackets. Another thing that might be helpful are doggie shoes to protect the paws. Bring plenty of towels in case your fur-friend decides to dig around the woods!

Here’s a quick list of things to consider packing when camping with a dog:

  • dog food and treats
  • bowls for food and water
  • favorite toys
  • sleeping blanket, crate, or cushion
  • possible medications
  • collar and leash
  • possibly warm clothing and dog booties
  • towels for cleaning up and keeping your tent clean

What about the what ifs?

Even if nothing goes wrong, you should check the area for the closest vet. Accidents happen, and it would be better to have the information without using it than the other way around. Your dog’s microchip should be up-to-date and it would be a great idea to put a tag on your pup’s collar in case he or she strays.

Another thing to be aware of are ticks. The chances that your dog will come in contact with ticks if you’re camping in nature is extremely high. Use tick medication for the dog before going camping in order to properly protect it and be prepared by knowing how to properly remove a tick.

A good idea is to have a dog emergency kit with tweezers, emergency fold-up blanket, bandages, and other things that will come in handy if your dog gets in some kind of a tick or porcupine accident.

Check the collar of your dog. Usually with time the collar gets loose and that is fine as long as you’re at home or just walking around the neighborhood. However, in the woods there are plenty of animals and sounds that can scare your pup and he or she can pull their head out of the collar if it’s too loose.

Make a dog camping plan

Finding a dog-friendly campsite and preparing for the camping part are not enough when it comes to using the time with your family properly.

You should do your research about the area, the peaks, mountains or trails that you will want to visit. Check how difficult they are and consider all your family members’ abilities to accomplish them. If there is a lake or a river, check if dogs are allowed to swim inside or if the water is safe for swimming at all.

Keep up your manners

When you arrive at the campsite chances are that there will be other people too and possibly other dogs as well.

A dog wearing a harness being given instructions at the campground
Make sure to follow the campsite dog rules

Don’t forget about your manners, and guide your dog to behave appropriately. Keep you pup on-leash or under a command and don’t let him or her run to strangers’ personal spaces.

It goes without saying that you have to pick up after your dog always, and that you never leave your pup unattended.

If your pup is not getting along with other doggos, you should maybe wear a muzzle for your dog or reconsider taking your dog in the first place according to how bad he is with other pups.

And the most important thing of all, don’t forget to have plenty of fun together with your family!  If you follow these tips, pick sticks and throw them for your pooch, treat him or her with some barbecue by the fire, and cozy up together at night and you’re then you’ll be guaranteed to have a great camping trip with your dog!

Written by Cal Bailey

Backpacking author and dog lover

Cal Bailey runs Mountain Leon – a travel blog he started after two years on backpacking around the world. If you want to learn more about life on the road or his blogging, you should check out his sleeping bag guide.

A dog sleeping in a camping tent

4 thoughts on “Bringing Fido Camping? 6 quick tips for camping with your dog”

  1. I’d like to add a brush as an essential item. It’s not fun to pick dangerous foxtails or other debris out of your dog’s fur by hand (been there).

    1. Oh, yes, that does sound like a very helpful item to have when camping with your dog for sure! Thanks for the suggestion:)

  2. Take vet papers with picture of your dog and latest dates on vaccines. If you need dog day care they won’t take your dog without it.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Another great tip! Thanks for reminding us of how important it is to travel with up-to-date dog documents:)

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