Camping With the Dog: What You Need To Know

Camping With the Dog Can Be a Blast

It’s always fun to be able to go on vacation, and maybe this year your plans include camping with the dog. Our family goes every year and we look forward to including our chocolate lab in the festivities. She’s been going with us since the first year we brought her home. However, we first tested that she knew a few basic commands before we took her with us.

Without these few “basics”, the trip wouldn’t be pleasant for us, the dog, or our fellow campers. In fact, most campgrounds will have specific rules around dogs visiting that require these basic commands. Your dog should be able to walk on a leash and be comfortable being on a leash during the day for their safety. Many campgrounds require dogs to be kept on leashes anyway. Also, important is for your dog to come to you when called and to be quiet when asked.

Once you’ve checked that your dog can handle the leash requirement, be able to come when called and stop barking on demand, you are ready to further consider camping with your pooch. If you’re taking the dog out for the first time, try to imagine your dog camping. Do you think he would have a good time? How does she feel about being dirty? Does he have tender feet? Do unfamiliar situations stress her out? Also, call ahead and verify the campground is dog friendly. Scrambling to find a new, last-minute campsite could start your vacation off on the wrong foot.

Off We Go, Camping With the Dog…

It’s important to take “camping” gear specifically for your dog. The same items seem to apply whether you’re tent camping or going in an RV. Just add a few things, and you’ll be ready to take your dog along and make the trip a success for both of you. These items are inclusive for just about any dog. You may find some dogs don’t require all of these things, like a jacket and booties. Customize the list for your dog’s needs.

  • Pet first aid kit complete with antiseptic, vet wrap, tick removal tool, and tweezers. Even if you have these items in your “people” first aid kit, it’s nice to have a separate one for the dog
  • Vaccine records
  • Collar with ID tags and emergency number and a harness if you like
  • Current photo and a list of emergency contacts
  • Sleeping pad, blanket or bed
  • Food and water bowls and enough food/water for the trip plus a little extra
  • Doggie treats
  • Leash and long line or dog pen for the day
  • Poop bags
  • Dog brush and waterless pet wash
  • Toys
  • Dog friendly bug spray
  • Jacket for cool nights and/or cooling pad for hot days
  • Dog booties or paw wax to protect feet from the rough ground

Now you’re ready to go camping with the dog! You have planned ahead and packed appropriately. Once you get to your destination you and the dog will settle into a rhythm. The dog will want to be with you during the day, either lounging at camp, hiking, boating, swimming or sightseeing. Try to plan dog-friendly activities. If you can’t take the dog with you, he can stay in the RV, provided it stays cool and comfortable. However, a tent is not a safe place for the dog to stay during the day.

At night, the dog can sleep with you in the RV or in the tent. Remember to take their bed or blanket so they are comfortable and familiar with their sleeping quarters. Your pet may surprise you with their choice of sleeping arrangements in the great outdoors. Our dog always chooses to sleep outside, right next to the camper, on the ground, beside her blanket. She truly likes to “rough it” when she goes camping. Every dog has their own level of comfort.

The most important tip when going camping with the dog, have fun! Remember, it’s a vacation for both of you. There are a thousand new smells and discoveries just around the corner. Although your dog may be excited to go on a “ride”, he may be a little nervous once you get there. Take it slow and you’re sure to have a great time! PlexiDor Dog Doors encourages all dog owners to get out and explore safely this year. Be adventurous and have fun!