Camping’s always more fun with your best friend. Taking your dog with you on a camping trip is not only a great way to bond with your pooch but gives them a totally new perspective with fresh scents and new areas to explore – especially if you live in a city or area where there is limited nature. Here are some key tips to make sure your camping trip remains safe and pet friendly.
Find a Pet-Approved Campsite
This one’s pretty important. After all, you don’t want to take your dog to a park or campsite if they’re not allowed to be there. Not only because you could face a hefty fine and see your trip cut short, but there are usually really good reasons why pets are not allowed. The good news is there are many pet-friendly campgrounds out there – including some in select national parks. So, before you pick a location, research the campsite to make sure they’re officially pet-approved. Convenient sites like BringFido.com make finding pet-friendly locations really easy.
Overpack the Essentials
Expect the unexpected. Dog or no dog, this is a good rule to follow on any camping trip. When bringing your dog along for the fun, it’s always wise to pack some extra water, food, medicine (if needed) and anything else vital to your dog’s health and well-being – just in case. Water is especially important to keep your pet hydrated. While it’s fun to let them drink from nearby streams or lakes, water you bring is safer and will reduce the risk of bacteria ruining the trip for both of you.
To Leash or Not to Leash?
That is the question you might be asking yourself when bringing a dog camping. Some campsites might require your dog be leashed, but if not, it’s a good idea to answer a few questions before making the decision. Will your dog come when you call no matter what? Are they aggressive towards other dogs/people? If the answer is “no” or “I don’t know” to either of these, you should definitely keep your pet leashed. Depending on where you are camping, there could be a vast wilderness out there where your dog could get seriously lost or harmed. That’s why we always recommend the use of a leash in a new, unfamiliar area. Also, make sure your dog’s tags have the most up to date info, including your cell phone number so someone can get a hold of you when you are at the campsite.
Get a long leash or dog tether and create a wide dedicated space at your campground where your dog can roam and explore a little without fear of them running off.
Plan Activities with Your Pup in Mind
It’s never a good idea to leave a dog at camp, plus it’s always more fun when they are around. So, try to plan activities that include your furry friend and fit their personalities. If your dog would rather lounge about camp and sniff the flowers, consider a mellow day of reading, painting or intermittent napping. Are they a bundle of energy just waiting to bound endlessly in and out of the forest trees? Why not find a giant field and play the ultimate game of fetch? If your dog’s a natural water bug, find yourself a safe body of water and spend the day swimming or put them in our dog flotation device and take them aboard one of our Kayaks or Stand-Up Paddleboards and explore the coastline. Whatever you choose to do, finding the right environment and activities to suit both dog and human is key to having a successful day of outdoor fun and exploration.
Bring a Bigger Tent
Sure, maybe it’s not a major issue for small dog owners, but if you have a medium- to large-sized dog, you might want to bring a decent-sized shelter, so you don’t end up feeling like you’re in a literal pup tent. Choosing a tent that will comfortably fit you, your dog and anyone else on your trip can make a big difference in the quality of your camping experience. Some tents, like our Acadia tent, even feature dog vestibules to allow everyone their own space.
Before letting your dog in your tent, lay down towels or old blankets to protect the bottom from sharp claws and dirt or debris they may bring in.
Make a List of Dog Supplies!
When planning a camping trip, it’s always a smart idea to make a list of what you need to bring. The same goes for your dog. Pet first aid kits are a must have especially if you’ll be camping away from civilization. Picking up after your dog is still expected even if you are surrounded by nature, so be sure to add doggie waste bags and leave no trace. There’s always room for a dog toy or two – whether it’s a frisbee and tennis balls or their favorite chew toy to make them feel comfortable away from home, you’ll be glad you have them on hand. And don’t forget the treats! Not only do you want to keep rewarding your good dog when they listen (or for just looking super cute), but if you need incentive for them to return, having treats on hand can be vital.
One of the easiest, most compact ways to carry treats, waste bags, toys and other accessories is with one of our personal organizers. Makes the perfect pet bag for campers on the go.
Protect Your Pup!
Before your dog ventures into the wild, make sure they are up to date on medications like tick protection. And since bugs are just as annoying for pets, you might want to look into bug shelters and screenhouses where you and your best bud can enjoy the night air without being bothered by biting insects.
Take a Paws – And Enjoy the Time With Each Other
The bond you share with your dog is unlike any other. Having the opportunity to spend time outside together and share in an adventure will bring you even closer. Cherish every second you get to spend with them – because you can be sure they are.