How To Tent Camp With A Dog
Have a dog that would love the adventures of tent camping with you, your family and friends? Well, you don’t have to leave your pup behind. Bring your furry friend with you! Dogs can have a blast with you tent camping, but things don’t always go as planned. That’s why it’s always a good idea to plan ahead especially when it comes to tent camping with a dog. Here are a few tips and tricks for your next camping trip with your dog!
Look For Dog Friendly Campsites
When you’re still in the planing stages of your camping trip, try to look for “dog friendly” campsites. Planning on going to a very accessible and developed campsite? Then you should be able to call ahead and ask a camp host, or employee if they are dog friendly and if they have any rules or restrictions for pets. Sometimes, campsites will require you to keep your dog on a leash, or even may not allow dogs over a certain size.
Maybe you plan on going to a campsite that you can’t get a hold of a camp host, or maybe there is no camp host. Then I would check sources like Google Maps or Yelp for reviews. Or, you could even ask on one of those review site yourself too! I’ve been surprised to have some questions answered for me very quickly on some of those sites. If you still can’t find any information, you’ll probably be ok bringing your dog with you camping. But, always have a backup plan in case the rules are different that you thought when you arrive at your campsite.
Make Sure Your Dog Is Well Trained & Behaved
If you are going to bing your dog with you into any public setting, you should know that your dog is well trained and behaved. Having a well behaved and trained dog can help you and everyone around you have a much better camping experience. When you go tent camping with your dog, you are already bringing them outside of their “normal” environment. This can make a dog nervous and on-guard.
It’s important that your dog is trained with the basic commands including: come, sit, stay, leave it and drop it. The more your dog knows and responds to you and your commands, the better. You don’t want to be chasing you dog around all night because it won’t listen to you. Or even worse it could be as badly behaved as a dog I once saw while camping.. This dog jumped on the camp table right before a family was supposed to eat their dinner. Destroying ALL of the food and knocking a few people over too, in the process.
Dealing With A Dog’s Motion Sickness On The Ride
Not all dogs get motion sickness, but a lot of them do. And the last thing you want to deal with is a sick dog while on the road. If your dog does get motion sickness while riding in a car, it doesn’t mean that they can’t go camping with you! Take your dog to your local vet and let them know that your dog gets motion sickness. A vet will usually prescribe medication to help your dog deal with it’s motion sickness. I had a dog once that would love to go to the dog park but would get “sick as a dog” on the car ride to the dog park. But, once we got him a prescription for motion sickness he was all good!
Bring Portable Water and Food Bowls For Your Dog
When camping, you usually don’t just stay at your campsite the whole time. Well, maybe you do, but I personally like to explore the area I’m camping in. And when you go for a small hike you need to make sure you bring enough water for you and your dog. You have a water bottle but what about your pup? I always bring a silicone folding combo food and water bowl when I go on a walk with my dog, especially when camping. It’s easy to cary, easy to clean and a perfect size for my dog.
Having a good food bowl and water bowl at your campsite is a good way to help your dog feel more at home when camping. Make sure you let your dog know where it’s food and water bowls are located at you campsite. It’s also a good idea to keep them in the same location the whole duration of your camping trip. That way your dog doesn’t get confused and go looking for food and water. And always give your dog the same water you drink yourself. Giving your dog dirty or non-potable water can be very harmful to your pet.
Bring Poop Bags, And Use Them!
Yes, when camping you’re out in nature where all kinds wild animals go to the bathroom wherever they please. But, to be courteous of your fellow campers, it’s a good idea to keep your dog’s poops cleaned up. Leaving your dog poop could ruin the day for another camper that happens to step in it. Imagine going a walk and forgetting something in your tent. You go back and look for your missing things and end up getting poop all over your sleeping bags because someone didn’t pick up after their dog. Sounds like a pretty shitty start of the day to me. Cleaning up after your dog also helps keep down the spread of worms and other parasites to other dogs.
Have Your Dog’s Shots & Vaccinations Up To Date
It is extremely important to keep your dog up to date with all of their shots and vaccinations. When you go camping with a dog, most likely there are going to be other dogs and wild animals around. Many campsites will require that you show proof of vaccinations like the Parvo and Rabies vaccinations. So be sure to always have your dog’s vet documents with you when traveling anywhere with your dog. Having a healthy pet should be the most important thing to all dog owners.
I wanted to mention also, that you should have your dog checked for heart worm and prescribed a heart worm preventative medication. It’s very dangerous to give your dog heart worm medication if they have heart worms already, even deadly. So make sure you get your dog checked out by your vet well before you go camping.
Keep Your Dog Safe Overnight While Camping
When you are camping you are in many wild animals’ homes, including predators. You’ll want to make sure you dog stays safe with you on your camping trip overnight. If your dog is crate trained or sleeps in your bed at night, then this is a pretty easy task. Just bring your dog into your tent with you at night! As long as your tent is big enough to house everyone too.
You could also let your dog sleep in your car overnight if your camp site has parking on it. Make sure you leave the windows cracked and have a secured water bowl for your dog too. Sometimes this is the most comfortable place for a dog since they can keep an eye on their surroundings through the windows of the car.
But, if your dog like to sleep under the stars at night you’ll need to make sure they can stay safe and comfortable. Now, this option really depends on where you are camping. If you are in an area with large predators like bears and mountain lions, it’s probably not a good idea to leave you dog outside overnight. But, if you are in a place that is free from large harmful predators, then you’re probably ok.
If your dog is staying outside overnight you’ll want to keep them tethered near you. You wouldn’t want your dog to get curious in the night and chase a skunk or raccoon. Then they could get lost and not know the area or smells around them. This makes it harder for them to find their way back to you. This could really ruin a camping trip or even worse…
Use Flea and Tick Preventatives
Whenever I go camping, I always end up with some mosquito bites and sometimes even a tick! Your dog is even more susceptible to harmful insects while camping. Make sure to medicate your dog before you take them camping. I always use the Seresto® Dog Flea and Tick Collars. They are expensive, but they last a long time (up to a year!). And most importantly, this brand really works! And this isn’t a paid ad, I just really have liked the results I’ve seen using the Seresto® flea and tick collars on my dogs.
Bring Some Comforts of Home
You don’t want your dog to get homesick, bring some of their toys with you camping! My dog loves to play with sticks which I can find all one any campsite. But there’s nothing more special to my dog then her one old torn up baseball that somehow has still managed to stay around… No matter how many times I thought I threw it away.
Having a toy that you can both play with can make the camping experience better for both you and your dog. Some good interactive toys to bring camping are: frisbee, balls and/or a tug of war rope. And having a good bone to chew on can help calm your dogs nerves a bit too. Especially overnight.
Always Bring Your Dog With You
You never want to leave your dog alone at when camping for many reasons. First off, it can be unsafe to leave your dog, or any pet, alone at your campsite while you’re gone. They could get injured or killed by a wild animal. If you have them tied up this could make them an easy target for other animals and they won’t be able to get away. It’s also dangerous because of the weather. You never know what Mother Nature will throw your way. If you’re out camping in a hot area your dog could overheat without you nearby to keep an eye on them. Or a bad storm could blow through while you’re away and your dog could get injured or drown.
Also, why would you leave your dog behind if you went through the trouble to bring them with you? Camping is all about fun, adventure and being with good company. And what’s better company than man’s best friend! So when you’re going to get some more firewood, or just to take a hike, bring your dog with you!