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Expert Tips for Successfully Camping With Your Dog

Expert Tips for Successfully Camping With Your Dog

There’s something special about being able to share the experience of camping with your dog. With hiking and visits to the lake during the day and then sitting (safely) by the fire at night, you can ensure that it’s a seamless and safe experience for both you and your dog. Keep reading to check out expert tips for successfully camping with your dog!

Getting There

Pre-Trip Planning

The most important step to take in planning a camping trip with your dog is the pre-planning process. First is searching for a pet-friendly campground so you aren’t left without a space upon arrival. Also, check for pet-friendly rest areas along the way. Regarding rest areas, it’s key to look for someplace with a designated dog area as the wilderness in certain areas may have dangers such as snakes and scorpions in the brush. You should also check on the activities you may want to do.


Picking the right campsite ahead of time is also key. Try to pick one close to a water spigot for easy water refills. Another tip is picking a site that is both 1) a straight shot to the bathroom and 2) backs up to the woods or a corner to avoid people cutting across your site which may upset your dog and cause them to bark.

Car Travel Tips

When it comes to driving a long distance to campgrounds, there are a few tips to ensure a more positive and safer experience:

  • Dogs, especially on longer trips, shouldn’t be able to free roam in your car. This can potentially cause accidents as well as leave them at risk of becoming more injured in an accident. Keep them restrained by either a pet seatbelt or a travel crate.

  • You can put their bed in the back seat and/or put up a dog hammock. This can also protect your car from any accidents.

  • Don’t leave them in the car when making stops along the road unless the temperature allows it.

  • Keep them hydrated but also make sure you take regular breaks for exercise

  • Avoid feeding them right before the trip to prevent motion sickness.

  • As mentioned above, find pet-friendly rest stops. Take regular breaks for exercise and bathroom breaks in these areas or anywhere else you can do it safely.

  • For anxious pups, get an anti-anxiety prescription from your veterinarian or give them CBD oil/treats.

Camping Essentials

Having everything you need for your trip can help avoid surprises later on. When it comes to your pet, it's completely fine to overpack! Brands such as Ruffwear and Kurgo are excellent places to get quality outdoor supplies for your dog. We’ve put together a list of camping essentials for dogs:

Basics

  • Enough food for the entire trip
  • Water (most campgrounds have someplace to refill water)

  • Collapsible food and water dishes

  • Dog water bottle for on-the-go activities

  • Any prescribed medication

  • Calming medication or treats

  • Leash

  • Collar

  • Harness

  • A few toys including some meant for water activities

  • Poop bags

  • Dog backpack for hiking

Safety

Hitching System

Hygiene


Ensuring Comfort

Elevated bed

First Aid


Tips for a Successful Camping Trip

Stay Safe

Safety is one of the most important things to take into consideration while camping with your dog. These are even more important if you’re camping in undeveloped campsites in National Parks or BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land. Our key tips for being safe include:

  • Don’t let them sleep alone. They are at risk of facing the wildlife alone such as bears or mountain lions who come out at night. Keep them in your tent with you.

  • Keep your dog on a long lead while at the campground and walking around it. This is also a way to be courteous to those at close campsites who don’t want a dog wandering in.

  • Keep your dog a safe distance away from fires at night and on a leash that won’t let them get too close.

  • Don’t let them wander off alone. You don’t know what’s hiding and waiting.

  • Never leave them unattended in the campground. Keep them with you.

  • Keep your dog’s food and treats in a bear box at a campsite where they are available. Only bring them out when using them but at all other times, keep them with your food.

  • Keep dogs on the designated trail to avoid coming into contact with dangerous wildlife and poisonous plants.

Be Courteous

Don’t be that person who lets their dog ruin things for other campers. You should practice being a responsible dog owner even when on a trip.

  • Dogs bark, that’s just life. But excessive barking is extremely irritating to other campers trying to relax. Most campgrounds have noise ordinances as well so if your dog is barking uncontrollably or excessively, especially at night, you may be asked to leave.

  • Pick up after your pet. It’s an annoyance to those around you as it smells and people risk stepping in it but it’s also the law whether in a developed campground or backpacking in the wilderness. You can use biodegradable bags to stay eco-friendly.

  • Practicing limiting your and your dog’s carbon footprint. Stay on the designated trails, don’t leave trash (including poop bags) behind, and respect wildlife (don’t let your dog go chasing the deer or water foul).

Other Tips For a Successful Camping Trip

  • Set up the dog area first and get them situated so you can set up your tent and supplies without their interference.
  • Clip their nails to decrease the chance of them popping something like your air mattress or sleeping pad.

  • Find a place to take your dog to the bathroom regularly. They will become more comfortable if they keep going to the same place as well as make it easier on them in the nighttime while somewhere they are unfamiliar with.

Activities for Camping With Your Dog

Hiking

Hiking is a common camping activity and there are so many options for all endurance types. Remember to keep your dog’s endurance in mind and don’t start them with a 5-mile uphill hike their first time. Also, Not all trails for hiking are pet-friendly but you can find a list of popular pet-friendly hiking trails and national parks to visit here . Bring plenty of water as well as first aid supplies and waste bags that are appropriate for the length of your hike. Booties are helpful for hiking in rougher terrain.

Swimming

Who doesn’t love to hit up the lake while camping? If the lake you’re at is pet-friendly, consider taking your dog for a tip if they like water. You may want to bring some toys meant for the water as they are usually meant to float. If your dog isn’t a strong swimmer or if you’re out away from the shore, keep a life jacket on them. If worried about your dog just taking off in the water, you can keep them on a waterproof long line that’s attached to the shore.

Campsite Playtime

Boredom can come easily if you’re just sitting around and your dog feels the same way. They still need enrichment and play time like if they were at home. You can bring durable toys for fetch (always keep them on a long lead and in site) as well as work on your training to either reinforce what they already know or teach new commands.

Conclusion

Camping with your dog can be an incredibly rewarding experience, offering countless opportunities for bonding and adventure. By taking the time to prepare properly, from choosing pet-friendly campgrounds and rest areas to packing essential gear and safety items, you can ensure a seamless and enjoyable trip for both you and your canine companion. HICC Pet®  provides multiple grooming and wellness products to keep your pet clean and safe while camping. Remember to keep your dog’s safety and comfort in mind at all times, whether you're hiking, swimming, or relaxing by the campfire. Following these tips and guidelines will help make your camping trip a success, allowing you to create lasting memories with your loyal companion.

Please note that the information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. We are not veterinarians, and the content shared here should not be considered professional veterinary advice.

If you have any questions regarding copyrights or the use of materials in this article, please contact us for clarification.

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