Camping with Your Dog

Pet Health and Safety  •   Pam Karkow  •   Jul 22, 2019

One of our dog’s favorite things to do is go camping in Boone.  To our furry child, there is nothing better than the endless smells in the fresh mountain air and the freedom of running through a field, unencumbered by a fence.  Let’s not forget the love and attention she receives from fellow campers.  Life as a camping dog is a golden retriever’s dream come true.

The tricky part of camping is ensuring your dog is happy and safe throughout the trip.  It is not a good idea to take your dog on a camping trip, and then leave him tied up while you go have your fun.  Lucky for us, Boone is a town that welcomes dogs on leashes, and we’ve never encountered a problem taking her with us to restaurants (we eat outside) and stores (where she gets lots of attention and a treat or two).  Of course, she always accompanies us on hikes, and probably enjoys this part of camping the most!

Dog-Friendly Camping Tips

Do you camp with your dog, or do you want to try it out?  Before you do, read our tips so you can be prepared for your camping adventures.

  1. Read the rules and regulations for the campsite you plan to attend.  Some campsites do not allow certain breeds, and some do not allow dogs at all.  Most will require your dog to be on a leash at all times while at the campsite, and this is a good idea anyway.  Not all campers are wild about your dog nosing in their business and keeping your dog on a leash is safer for him, as well.
  2. Camp near a town that welcomes dogs.  Part of the camping experience is being able to enjoy the constant companionship of your pup.  Leaving your pet behind can be dangerous to him, and to other campers.  Weather can change fast and wildlife can pose a problem for your dog.  It’s better to keep him with you at all times.
  3. Pick up after your dog.  Leaving waste is not only a hazard to people walking through the campsite, but it can contaminate lakes and streams.  Always keep a couple poop bags in your pocket so you can quickly remove your dog’s waste and dispose of it properly.
  4. Take plenty of water.  Dogs can't cool themselves off as efficiently as humans, so they need to drink water often to keep themselves hydrated.  If you notice your dog panting more excessively or his mouth, nose, and gums are dry, take him to an air-conditioned area or go for a drive with the windows open.  Going on a hike?  Take along the KONG H2O Stainless Steel water bottle.  The lid doubles as a bowl from which your dog can easily drink.
  5. Only bring food out during meals.  Leaving food out encourages wildlife to graze at your campsite.  Try the Quencher Cinch Top bowl which closes at the top if your dog is a nibbler.  Make sure you pack enough food to last the duration of your stay.  If you are going hiking with your dog, consider taking a meal on the hike in case it lasts longer than you anticipate.
  6. Keep your pet cool.  When I saw this “pup tent” in a magazine, I immediately wanted one!  It’s a lightweight shelter that provides elevation, shade, and ventilation.  It would be perfect for a camping trip, to use in your tent, or for lounging outside. 
  7. Try co-sleeping.  Most campsites prefer you keep your pet with you when you are sleeping to avoid contact with wild animals, but there are benefits for you as well.  Allowing your pet to sleep with you can provide warmth on a chilly night, and you can be sure your pet won’t let you miss any precious daylight hours as he licks you awake with the sunrise.

Adventure Awaits!

Are you ready to schedule your first camping trip?  Before heading out into nature, be sure that your pet is up to date on flea and tick preventatives and all vaccinations. Enrolling your pup with pet insurance before a big trip can help give you the peace of mind that you're well-protected. This is the perfect time of year to pack up the tent and enjoy all that nature has to offer, with your four-legged friend along for the adventure.

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Pam Karkow

About the Author
Pam Karkow

Hi, I'm Pam. List maker, note taker, and avid reader. I'm married to my college sweetheart and we have three amazing kids, all of them boys. We also have one furry child, a golden retriever rescue dog. I have been blogging for PetPartners since 2015, and I love researching and writing tips about how to be a better pet parent. I spend most of my time sharing my adventures at lavenderandlaugh.com, where I share the ways I am learning to be a better wife and mom--to my two and four-legged children.