Dog Camping: Ultimate Dog Camping Guide

Thinking about taking a dog camping but not sure what you should know before taking your dog camping? Read our guide to get started.

Dog camping in a tent.

Just as with people, how well a dog camping trip goes will partly depend on the dog. Not all dogs like to go camping, so being as prepared as you can, will help make for a smoother trip.

Table of Contents

When thinking about taking a dog camping there are a few commonly asked questions on Google. Such as,

  • What do you do with your dog while camping?
  • Can dogs sleep in tents?
  • How do I take my dog camping for the first time?
  • How do I help my dog with camping anxiety?

I am going to do my best to answer those as well as give a few of the best tips and tricks I know that help when you take dogs camping.

If you don’t have a dog yet and are just looking into info before you get one, be sure to check out our post on best dog breeds.

Dog Friendly Camping

Let’s start by tackling the most commonly asked questions about taking dogs camping.

How to take a dog camping

I have always treated my dogs like family. So when I plan a trip I always make sure we go and do things that all of our family members can do including the four-legged ones. 

That means staying at a dog-friendly campground and doing activities that the dogs can do too.

Such as hiking, fishing, lake/pond swimming, and so on. That way they can just do what you do and you don’t have to worry about what do you do with your dog while camping. 

Where do dogs sleep when camping?

Dogs can sleep in your tent when you are camping.

There are a few things to keep in mind. If you have a pretty easy-going dog that is laid back and does not try to dart out the door or tent when it is opened, you can keep them in the tent without a crate.

However, if you have one that likes to escape, then use a dog kennel/crate inside of your tent. That way they can still be in the tent with you but are a little more secure.

You can leave your dog in your tent while camping or away from the campsite if you feel they are secure in your tent.

How do I take my dog camping for the first time?

If you are taking your dog on their first camping trip, be sure you can be with them as they should not be left alone.

Always have your dog on a leash so they are secure and will not run away. You may also think about setting up a tie-out or runner so they can have a little more room to roam when you are doing things like cooking.

With it being their first trip, you may also want to use a crate in the tent at night. Put their favorite toy and blanket in the crate with them as it will help calm them if they should have any anxiety from camping.

Camping with an anxious dog

If you have a dog that gets worked up easily or suffers from anxiety, you can still take them camping. You just have to be sure to be a little more prepared.

A lot of the tips above for a first-time camping trip will work with dogs with anxiety too. Such as a crate at night with their toys and blanket so they feel at home. 

It may also be a good idea to have it available to them in the day so if they feel they need that comfort, they can go to it. 

Think of playing a sound machine or fan at night too. It helps to block some of the new sounds that may get them worked up.

It may be a good idea to have something on hand to help calm the dog if needed. Before it gets itself worked up to the point of making itself ill, think about using something natural like calming treats.

Keeping dog warm while camping

If you are camping when the weather gets cool at night keep your dog warm with blankets and consider using a dog sweater. Give them somewhere cozy to sleep.

Camping with dogs in hot weather

If the weather is very hot and/or humid when you are camping you’ll need to keep your dog cool while camping.

  • Camp in a shady area. If there are no trees create some shade using a tarp or a large umbrella.
  • You can use a cooling dog bed to help keep your dog cool. These beds do not need to be plugged in.
  • Use a cooling dog bandana
  • Take them swimming
  • Provide them with lots of water

Camping with a puppy

You can camp with a puppy that has had its vaccinations. Keep in mind you cannot leave your puppy alone for long periods of time. Always keep your puppy on a leash and take a crate with you.

Camping with a dog checklist

When camping with dogs, you need to make sure you pack for them just as you do for people. Things you need to take camping for dogs include the list below but are not limited to just those items.

  • Food
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Bowls
  • Favorite Blanket or Bed
  • Leash & Harnes or Collar
  • Water
  • Runner/Tie Out
  • Crate/Kennel
  • Waste Bags
  • Vet/Shot Records
  • Pet First Aid Kit

Wondering why I have water on that list when it may be available in the campground.

Because when you travel with a dog, you should always pack the water that their digestion is accustomed to drinking. If you don’t and you give them another source of water, they can get an upset tummy.

How to take dogs camping

Before you take your dog camping, follow these tips.

1. Check Campground Rules

Before you even head out the door to take a dog camping, you want to call and check the rules for the campground you will be staying at.

This is because some will require shot records, and have leash rules or muzzle rules. You will want to know what you are dealing with before you get there.

2. Use Collar Lights

If you are at a campsite where your dog can do a little running around on its own, a lighted collar is a good idea.

That way it is easy to see them in the dark. Makes it much easier to keep track of them when you can’t see as well as when it is dark out.

3. Use A Runner – Tie Out

Not all campgrounds allow dogs to just run around. They may have leash rules you have to follow. However, you may not always be able to hold the leash. Like when you are cooking, using the restroom, etc.

That is when using a runner or tie-out comes in handy. That way the dog is still on a so-called leash and can have more room to move around than when you just hook a leash to a tree. It is a win-win for both you and the dog.

The one thing I really want to stress is that you should never just leave the dog tied at camp and go away. And you should always make sure they have shade to get to.

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