HomeCamping31 Pro Tips for Camping with Dogs – (Avoid Disaster)
December 10, 2018
31 Pro Tips for Camping with Dogs – (Avoid Disaster)
31 Pro Tips for Camping with Dogs (Avoid Disaster)
Many people consider it a daunting task as a first thought, to take your dog into the wilderness on your next hike together.
You may feel a sense of danger or concern when embarking (pardon the pun) on your first adventure with doggo. However bear in mind that dogs are much lower maintenance than children, friends or family members and a lot quieter to boot!
Camping with your companion can be one of the most rewarding experiences possible as a pet owner, creating memorable moments that will last a lifetime.
With this in mind we really shouldn’t let unwarranted worry hold you back! We are here to help and in this piece we will provide 31 pro tips most commonly put into practice by veteran campers, who regularly camp with their dogs.
This guide is geared towards first timers and dog camping newbies, however for those of you who have already ventured into the wild with your companion, stick around, you may learn a cool new tip or 2.
Let’s look over some top tips for camping, hiking and backpacking with your dog.
1-Temporary Tags are a great idea for camping with your dog and also an inexpensive security measure. You can attach them along with your existing tags. You should put information such as campsite address, campsite ID number and a telephone number. If you’re camping on the trail and really roughing it, you can include the number of the nearest ranger station.
2-Short Leads are very useful if you’re camping in around a dense forest area, in addition to your usual leash and collar. This is for a few reasons, some experienced campers with dogs may had their long leash wrap around a few trees, or around all
the tent poles while you are trying to set up the tent. It’s a good idea to keep a short leash available for these situations. If you have issues with pulling, check here on how to stop your dog pulling on the lead.
3–Dog Tents are a necessity when thinking of your dog’s safety while on a camping trip. If you leave your dog out on its lonesome, it may encounter some small (or large, god forbid) wild animals. An encounter with a coyote could end in tears, so try to arrange a sheltered location, preferably close to you.
A Dog tent is the perfect solution, not only for its protection, but in creating a personal space that the dog can feel comfortable and secure with. They will become familiar with this spot and learn that this is where he/she should come when it’s time to rest, sleep or generally hide from heat. They range widely in size, shape and design, from pet tepees to miniature style pop up tents for dogs. Check our article to get the lowdown on what to look for-Dog Tents.
4-Outdoor Dog Beds of course go with the above, these are additional or separate items that can be used while on your camping trip, to give your dog a comfortable, warm and protected place to sleep.
Ranging from insulated sleeping bags perfect for hikers and backpackers, to elevated camping pet cots with thick foam padding, for the traditional campsite campers.
5-A Tether should be used to keep your dog tied while at the campsite, to avoid any problematic interactions. A chew proof Tether is a great solution for this and simple to use, just drive it into the ground and tie a short leash to it.
This will keep your dog secured and still while you are pitching your tent or doing some other important tasks. It also stops them invading the neighbors if they are so inclined to do so.
6-All Weather Tarps is an effective way to keep hypothermia from setting in if the ground is wet, damp and cold. Just slide it under the area where the dog is sleeping or resting for best results.
They also make an impressive instant shelter which you can prop up in a matter of minutes.
We have a brilliant article on just how to do this here, you can learn a lot about utilizing a tarp out on the field, they are an insanely useful item to take with you and take up very little space in your backpack.
7-Check the campsite you intend to visit well ahead of time and make sure that you’re actually allowed to camp there with your pup. The last thing you want is to turn up and realize dogs aren’t allowed either on the camping grounds at all, or on the trail, scuppering your plans. There are an abundance of campsite and trails that are indeed open for dogs. A quick google search or investigation on some forums like reddit for example, will help to discover those. Rules vary widely between national, state and local parks so it’s important to check what is exactly possible. You can use this as a good reference and check which places give you the green light to camp with doggo.
8-A Doggy Sweater is a great way to keep the dog insulated and warm if they have a short coat. Especially if the sleeping bag or bed you are using is quite thin, or if the weather is particularly cold. Depending on the weather you expect may influence your purchase. For the winter months you may want something soft and warm, like cotton for example. However, 100% cotton wont fair so well in wet weather, it will get damp and heavy. In this case you can go for a polyester option that is generally waterproof.
9-Water Purifiersor Purifier Tablets are crucial if you intend to use natural water supplies while camping. Do NOT let your dog drink from lakes and rivers, there could be an abundance of Toxic Chemicals and Harmful Bacteria existing in that water source.
This can lead to the worst possible consequences imaginable. A filtration system of some kind will ensure safe and clean water to drink for the duration of your trip.
10-Waterproof Containers are a good way to store the dog food in a secure and safe manner. Also pack more food than you need to count for any mishaps, losses or overstays. Perhaps your dog will be getting a lot more exercise done than usual, creating a larger appetite, additionally doggo wants a safe and dry place to store his treats! woof!
11-First Aid Kits are important also, especially if you are hitting the trail and doing some hiking with your dog, always be prepared for any mishaps with a fully equipped first aid kit.
As you’re hiking or backpacking, aim for a lightweight bundle bag, that covers all the basic necessities, but maintains a fairly lightweight at the same time.
Make sure to include something to deal with ticks, they can be a nightmare if unseen and left alone.
12-Dog Toys are a great way to alleviate any anxiety your dog may feel on its first time camping.
You don’t necessarily have to buy one, you can take its favorite one from home with you on the trip, to offer that sense of comfort.
Don’t worry, a dog will become more and more relaxed by repetition, use the toy to comfort the dog and in time it will not be needed as the anxiety will fade.
13-Body Harnesses andFlat Collars are the best types of collars to use when hiking with your dog, they create the least pressure and the most support for your dog, during those long walks.
Front hook harnesses restrict some motion in the shoulders so aren’t ideal.
However if you’re dog doesn’t fare well with body harnesses, you can use a front hook harness, but better sticking to flat trails with a firm surface with this method.
15-A Retractable Dog Collar doesn’t have the best rep generally, but they are actually good for dogs who listen to commands and are obedient. They also will make a good choice for dogs who don’t utilize the body harnesses, the retractable can work just as well especially on the trail.
16–Car Seat Coversfor dogs are important for keeping your dog comfortable during the long drives and also a great way to protect your car from dirt, scrapes and damage.
Often when we are out on the trail, our dogs paws can get dirtied or wet from puddles etc, then its an impossible task to keep their feet perfectly clean.
Debris will get into the car somehow and it can be abrasive on the material. Additionally, they usually have an attachment so you can secure the dog safely to the seat to reduce movement on the journey.
17-Obey Leash Rules, keep an eye out for any leash rules and stick to them, they can be found sign posted or on the boards of the campsites. It’s for your own safety and for the safety of others. We all adore our own dogs but we have to respect that other people may not like dogs or freak out at the thought of a dog jumping playfully at them. Let’s obey the rules and stay safe.
18-Critter Control, some preventative measure such as spraying a coating of flea and tick repellent on your dog, they also come in little droplet bottles, you just squeeze a few drops out on the back of its head, above the neck/collar area. This will help to prevent any ticks of fleas tagging along.
Secondly a more thorough Lyme diseasevaccinationis a really good idea to get done before embarking on any hiking trip with pooch.
19-A Bear Bell is also a good way to scare away any nearby wildlife, potential snakes and other creepy crawlies may bolt at the sound of the bell rattling as you march past. Of course you may be wondering if they actually scare away bears or not. The logic is this, bears generally want to stay away from people. As a rule of thumb, people have figured out that bears may then be wary, or in fear of, any unfamiliar sounds and noises. So a jangling bear bell fits the bill, some hikers wouldn’t leave the home without one and believe them to work 100%, however this is unproven, but i’d rather go with hearsay than face the consequences of it being true and without one.
20-Trek Poles or Walking Poles are a great way to keep balance and stability in your knees and legs while trekking, they also improve circulation to prevent cramps and keep you going for longer durations.
You will find the additional support especially helpful over rough terrain, where your dog will be dealing with it much easier than you, the poles will assist you through those tough parts of the trail.
21-Biodegradable Dog Poop Bags should be used to pick up the dog poo. Dog poo doesn’t biodegrade like other wild animal poop and is actually very detrimental to the environment and surrounding areas. Let’s keep the trail clean for other hikers, dogs and local wildlife.
22-Heatstroke can be a treacherous occurrence, keep an eye out for some signs and symptoms of this. Such as deep and rapid panting, a bright red tongue, red or pale gums, thick and sticky saliva, weakness, dizziness and vomiting. A dog will keep going regardless of exhaustion, primarily to please its owner. So don’t over exert your dog, pay attention to how long you have been trekking, along with the heat. Use a shelter for the midday sun and avoid trekking in the peak heat of the day. Wetting their chest and armpits with water can also help to stabilize temperatures and hydrate your dog.
23-Period Breaks are important when going on long treks with your dog, grab a quick break under some shade, on a bench and let your dog catch his breath.
Aside from this its a great time to enjoy a quick water break, topping up on that H2O goodness and keep you hydrated for hitting some more trail ahead.
24-Carabiners can enable to go ‘hands free’ for a moment so you can secure your dog and grab something from your pack, take a photo or grab a drink.
It’s also useful when you need to carry out the dog poop.
Pick up a climbing grade carabiner, this way it will be more durable to weight and the pins won’t fall out easily, like on those flimsy Walmart ones.
25-Training a Recall is important also, being able to recall your dog at will is not only a convenient way to keep your dog under control, but also a safety measure for you both.
Practice recalling your dog after every 100 yards of walking, reward accordingly then continue the walk. This repetition will in time, lead to a bombproof recall.
Make sure you train this with your dog to avoid any mishaps while enjoying your adventure.
27-Bear Spray is of course a situational item that you can take when hiking with your dog, if you do think there is even a slight chance you may wander into bear country. We tend to avoid this kind of direction as sensible humans, but it does happen from time to time and you will always want to be prepared to protect yourself and your dog.
28-Take a Towel, a simple and obvious one but something you may not think of when preparing.
This will just help to clean off the dog of any dirt and debris picked up along the way, also cleaning off its paws as not to dirty the seat cover more than necessary.
29-Post Trek Assessment is a good way to conclude the adventure and to check over your dog for any ticks, cuts or allergic reactions.
If also helps to fortify the bond between dog and owner by showing physical compassion towards your pet, this is well recognized by your dog.
Always take a Tick Key in your first aid kit in case your dog picks up any of those nasty little things.
30-Dog Backpacks are super cute but also an excellent utility item to hit the trail with. Fasten the backpack around the dogs body and your faithful companion can become even more involved in your trip. Feeling like a little backpacker alongside you, strengthening your bond and enjoyment along the road ahead. They are surprisingly lightweight and fasten very well, with 3 different sizes that fit snugly around most dogs. They are also waterproof so don’t worry about them gaining any extra weight during your camping trip. NOTE it is of the utmost importance that you do not load the backpack more than 25% of your dogs body weight, this will cause discomfort especially over long distances like a hike.
31-Be an Ambassador in general when out on the trail with your dog. This means, abide by the rules set by the campsite or trail, obey leash rules, pick up the poop, don’t let your dog trample vegetation, don’t let your dog chase small animals and don’t let your harass other hikers. We are responsible for our dog and if we don’t convey the right message, bans get put up and we can no longer visit certain locations. Let’s be responsible and send the right message as this is one of life’s true joys that only we, as dog owners, can experience.
We hope you had as much fun reading this as we did compiling this list.
If you learned something new or gained the confidence to take action and make the trip with your dog, then our job is done.
If you’re ready to rock and roll but perhaps are now considering what gear you need for the both of you, check out our Dog Tent article here.
This will give you a more through lowdown on exactly the kind of Tent you will need for your dog and environment.