There’s no better buddy to have on a camping trip than your dog and no matter the setting, they’re guaranteed to have a good time.
Although it can seem natural to bring your pooch along with you, there’s a lot to consider before deciding if it’s the right move, and you need to ensure you have a dog-friendly campsite.
Should you take your dog camping? A dog can be an enjoyable companion on a camping trip but they must be well trained to follow your commands.
You’ll need to ensure you’re visiting a campsite that allows dogs and that they don’t pose a bother to other campers and the wildlife, so it’s not always a good fit.
There are a lot of benefits on hand when you bring your dog along with you camping but it also comes with lots to consider.
We’ll help you weigh up whether your pooch should join you on your next outdoor adventure and how to do it right, with our guide to dog-friendly camping.
Can You Take Your Dog Camping?
A dog and a camping trip go hand in hand, as their love for the outdoors and loyal attitude make them the perfect friend to bring along.
However, it’s not all fun and adventure as you’ll need to be mindful of the unique environment that a campsite has and how this might affect you and your pooch.
The most important place to start is ensuring you’re booked at a dog-friendly campsite and being aware of the rules they have in place.
Most have an on-leash requirement that ensures your dog stays tethered to your camping spot at all times, for the safety of other animals and people using the site.
These camping sites usually have other requirements as well, and will not tolerate dogs that bark into the night or those with aggressive behavior.
They might also have rules about what breeds of dogs are not allowed, which should be followed closely.
As the person who knows your dog best, you’re the only one who can guess how they’ll be received while camping, so be honest with yourself while you think about it.
The Basic Training and Skills Needed
The great outdoors is no place for a disobedient dog and only the most well-trained pooches should be taken on a camping trip.
These are some of the commands and abilities that your dog should have mastered before they can come with you to the great outdoors:
Sit and stay: The most basic of dog commands but one that will help a lot during a camping trip. Whether you need your dog to sit and be calm as you encounter wildlife or stay still and sit for a while at the campsite, this command will come in handy quite a bit.
Recall: The ability to come when called is crucial when camping or hiking outdoors. Even if your dog is not on their lead, you want to be certain they will return to you immediately when you ask them to.
Socialization: Make sure your dog is well socialized before bringing them on a camping trip. There’s a high chance that they’ll come into contact with other people and animals, and you’ll want them to be friendly and comfortable when they do.
Leash training: Your dog should be able to walk comfortably and safely on a lead and be comfortable to sit and lay down while wearing their lead and tethered to a stake at the campsite. A dog that pulls while being walked might be able to escape and could be a danger to other animals.
Keeping Your Dog on Site
Once you’ve established that your dog is allowed to come to the campgrounds that you’re visiting, you’ll have to start planning how it’ll all work.
Most campgrounds have requirements about the pet being on their leash so you’ll want one that’s long enough for them to still move around but not so much that they’ll be a hindrance to other campers.
The dog’s sleeping arrangements should also be considered, and you need to think about whether they’re going to share your tent or sleep just outside of it.
As the dog’s owner, you’ll know which one sounds like the best approach, and if they are going to be sharing your tent, make sure you’ve accounted for the extra space requirements.
Taking your dog out and about to explore is the best thing you can do while camping.
Not only does it give them a chance to get into nature and see the world, but it’ll help them burn off excess energy so they can relax when they come back to the site, which means less chance they’ll be annoying others.
Food and Water Supplies
Your dog will no doubt be excited to head off on a camping trip and they’ll want to see and do it all while they’re there.
Your responsibility is to make sure you have adequate food and water for them to last the entire trip, and take into account how much more energy they’ll be burning than usual.
If you’re camping somewhere that has access to water, you only need to bring along enough for you and them to make the journey there.
Otherwise, an adult dog requires one ounce of water per pound of body weight every day, and it will be more in hot weather and when they’re more active than usual.
Feed them their usual two meals a day so that they have a consistent source of energy, and pre-pack it into smaller bags if you want to make it easier.
Don’t forget to bring along some of their favorite dog treats, as this can be the perfect environment to do some training.
You might also need to persuade them to be quiet or not get close to the wildlife, and this is where some bribery from a treat can come in handy.
Special Equipment for Dog Camping
Just as you’d tick off your own list of camping supplies, your dog will have one that needs checking as well. These are some of the items you might consider adding to it so that they can have everything you need.
Bags for their waste
Harness and water-friendly leash
Stake for their leash
Dog first aid kit
Dog booties or paw protectors
You’ll also want to have your dog checked out by a vet before they leave and to make sure they’re up to date with immunizations.
This will protect them against anything unsavory they might encounter in the wild and ensure they’re in good health for the adventure ahead.
Bring along their vet records on the trip so that you have them handy, and make sure their microchip information is current.
Man’s Best Camping Companion
They’re loyal, energetic, and protective, so taking your dog along on your next camping trip might seem like a no-brainer to you.
As with any camping activity though, a lot of planning is needed to get it right, so you have to research what’s required for your pet to come along on a camping trip and still be safe and comfortable.
There’s nobody as loyal and up for adventure as your dog, but that doesn’t mean they’re always going to be the ideal camping companion.
If you still have more questions about taking your dog on trips to the outdoors and want to know what it entails, we’ve answered a few commonly asked ones that can help.
Can Dogs Sleep in Tents?
Unless your dog can sleep comfortably outside by themselves and tethered to something, they will need to sleep inside of the tent with you.
If so, make sure the tent has enough space, that it’s secure enough so the dog can’t escape, and consider testing out them sleeping in a tent at home to be mindful of any issues.
Can I Camp With Multiple Dogs?
If you own two dogs and want to take them both camping, this can sometimes make it easier as they will keep each other entertained.
However, you’ll need to make sure you plan for sleeping arrangements, food, water, and activities for both of them, which can add a lot of work and weight to the process.
Where Can I Camp With My Dogs?
Dogs can go camping in most locations that humans do, but you should always consult the campground’s website or representative before taking them along.
Most dogs will be comfortable camping at rural and urban spots but only if they are well trained and are usually behaved.
George Cummings enjoys connecting with nature, meeting new people, and making friends from all over the world. RVing and camping create the perfect opportunity for [him/her] to take part in these activities. After spending several years on the road and exploring the great outdoors, George Cummings shares some of his best pieces of advice on how to make the most of your time while camping. TourTheOutdoors is his way of helping outdoorsy individuals like [him/her] start on a right footing with amazing recommendations and buying guides.