Dog Friendly Camping

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Camping with a dog is a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!

golden retriever sleeping in between two camp chairs

Dogs are part of the family. Don’t leave them behind. They need to be with you and will love the opportunity to explore the great outdoors with you. Here are tips and a packing guide to help make the experience more enjoyable for the entire family.

Tips for camping with dogs

Before you pack up the minivan, here are some tips to make sure both you and your dog have a great time:

Check the Rules: Before you head out, make sure your campsite allows dogs. Not all places do, and some have special rules for pets.

Watch the Weather: Keep an eye on the temperature. Dogs can get really hot or cold, so make sure they’re comfortable whatever the weather. That might mean more blankets, a doggy jacket, or extra water.

Safe Exploring: Keep your dog away from things like plants that might be poisonous and make sure they don’t eat anything they shouldn’t.

Pack Gear for Them: Yes, they are dogs. But bringing gear specifically designed for dogs will not only ensure they enjoy their time, are rested and calm, and ensures your experience with them is enjoyable pays off for everyone.

Gear for camping with dogs

To make your camping adventure easier and more comfortable for everyone involved, its a great idea to bring along specific items just for your dog. This makes their trip more enjoyable, and yours, too! Here’s what you need to bring!

Eating Essentials:

You are packing food, water, and dishes for yourself, but your dog will need their own as well.

  • Water – Make sure you know how much water your dog needs to drink in a day, and bring that plus extra, especially if the weather is going to be hot. Generally, dogs need about 1 ounce of water per pound of dog weight per day (for example, a 100 pound dog will need 100 ounces of water every day).
  • Food – Make sure you bring enough food for every meal for your dog, and a few extra in case of emergencies. You can pack each pre-measured meal in a small baggie or container, or bring a larger tub with meals for the whole trip and a measuring cup.
  • Dishes – Your dog will need a food and a water bowl. You can bring their bowls from home or get some collapsable camping bowls to use.

Resting Essentials:

Just like you, your dog needs a comfortable place to rest and be.

  • Dog Beds – Decide where your dog will sleep. Do they need their own dog bed or blanket, will they sleep on your sleeping bag? If you don’t want to pack their beds from home, you can also find camping dog beds.
  • A Long Line – Having a long lead line that your dog can be hooked to when not on leash is a great way for them to have a little more free rein of the campfire while still staying safe. Even if they’re super friendly, other campers might not be comfortable around dogs, and there might be wildlife around that could be dangerous. No matter how good their recall is, its always better to be safe.
  • A Chew Toy – A chew toy for your dog is a great way for them to have some quiet down time.
  • Other Items – If your dog tends to get worked up easily, you might want to think about bringing a dog crate or some packable fencing.

Playtime Items for Dogs

You pack along activities for kids, and its a great idea to pack a few items for your dogs, too!

  • Treats – For rewarding calm behavior, working on recall, and just when they deserve a treat.
  • Ball – A ball is a great activity to bring for dogs and kids! Make sure you bring one that floats and is in a bright color so you can easily find it.
  • Frisbee – A dog safe frisbee (that won’t hurt their teeth) is a great past time for dogs and kids alike.
  • Toy – A toy they can play with is a great activity.

Dog Safety while Camping

You also need to think about your dogs safety while out in nature.

  • Health: Before you go, it’s a good idea to visit the vet. Make sure your dog is healthy and up-to-date on vaccinations and flea and tick protection. If they need medication while you are camping, make sure you have a way to bring, store, and administer that. It is also a great idea to include some dog specific items in your first aid kit
  • Identification: Make sure your dog has a collar with your contact info, just in case they wander off. Also consider having your dog microchipped.
  • Dog Booties – depending on the location you will be and your dog, you might want to bring along some booties to protect their feet from hot surfaces, sharp rocks, and thorns.
  • A Leash – Make sure your dog is safe and secure while out hiking and exploring. A leash (and a harness if needed) are your best bets for ensuring the safety of your family pet, and others around you. Some camping locations require your dog to be leashed at all times as well.

Other Campsite Gear to Bring

  • Poop Bags – Its important to leave a place as nicely (or nicer!) then when you found it. This includes picking up after your dog. Not only does this leave the campsite clean for your visit, but also helps ensure that guests after you also have a good experience.
  • A Long Line – We mentioned this in the resting category above, but its so important we wanted to add it again.

Camping with your dog can make your family trip even more special. With a bit of planning, you can ensure that everyone, including your four-legged buddy, has an amazing time in the great outdoors!

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