The DOs and DONTs of Camping With Your Dog
Updated: Jul 10
We’re finally coming into camping season! I enjoy it (when the weather is cooler!) because I completely unplug from technology and enjoy spending some quiet time in nature. I find it very refreshing!
Bringing your furry bestie along camping, or glamping (you can find some super cool places in all price ranges on this site), is a great bonding experience. But before you pack up and hit the road, look over my DOs and DONTs of camping with your pup.
What to do when camping with a dog
First, decide if your dog will enjoy camping. Not all will enjoy it. My dog Flash likes doing anything as long as mom is there. I have not gone camping since I adopted Josie so I’m not sure what she will think about it yet. If your dog would rather stay home, let them!
Choose a pet-friendly destination. My favorite local places to visit are Bolding Mill, Don Carter State Park, and Van Pugh South Campground. Make sure to read up or call the location to confirm any details. While doing the research for this post I learned about a dog retreat in North Carolina that I’d love to try! Here is the link if you’d like to check it out https://www.4pawskingdom.com/dog-retreat/
Make sure you know all the rules or regulations in the area. Is your dog’s breed or size allowed? Is there a limit on the number of dogs allowed at a site? National and state parks often have restrictions to follow to keep your pet and wildlife habitats safe! Always follow them.
Pack the right gear. When I venture out with Flash, I always bring a zip line. Other things you might need include pet sunscreen, insect repellent/tick & flea treatment, a light for your pup’s leash, and a reflective vest.
Bring the comforts for you and your furry! Flash absolutely loves having a bone to gnaw on at any time which can be soothing for him so I’m always sure to bring a few along. Bring your dog’s bed, blanket, sleeping pad, crate, and favorite toys and/or treats. Not exactly comforts—but any medications or calming aids (run it by your vet first) are good ideas too. This is the natural, holistic supplement that I give Flash when he is anxious- https://shop.pawtree.com/Gratefuldogmama/product/GM2456
We all need to eat. Don’t forget a portable bowl, water, and food. A kibble carrier is a roll-top dry bag made especially for pet food that makes storing food a few days easy.
Avoid attracting other animals. Leaving food out can attract animals and human food is not the best nutritionally for wildlife, it can lessen their fear of people which can be a safety issue for them and it can, of course, cause fights between wildlife and potentially your dog so be sure all food is secured. This is a good article about avoiding conflicts with wildlife- https://georgiawildlife.com/preventing-wildlife-conflicts.
What not to do when camping with a dog
Don’t leave your dog unattended. Your pup is your buddy on the trip. Leaving them couped up in the tent, camper or cabin is no fun (and could be dangerous). One of my favorite activities to do with my dog while camping is simply taking short walks on the trails since Flash is a senior now. Hanging out on a beach area is another fun activity to do with seniors, especially if they enjoy swimming, plus it’s easy on their joints.
Don’t leave their ‘business’ laying around. Pick up after your dog regularly and properly dispose of the waste. Most places have containers made for poop bag disposal. If you’re hiking this little gadget can save you from carrying that icky bag in your hand - https://thedooloop.com. It attaches to any leash or backpack and can hold multiple bags too.
Don’t expect your dog to be okay the entire trip. Just like us humans, pets have their triggers and ‘off’ days. Be understanding and prepare to handle any stressors and change your plans if needed.
Don’t forget to practice before you get there. Putting up a tent in your backyard or even your living room and sleeping inside it is a good introduction for them and be sure to practice their leash training also.
Don’t forget your pet emergency kit. Fill this up with everything you may need if your pet is lost or hurt: vaccination records, pet first aid kit, current photos, extra leash and harness, and life jacket. Here’s a great resource on what emergency items to pack for your dog that I created-https://www.canva.com/design/DAE5k-sZ-5Y/view
Did I miss something? Tell me what else all dog parents need to do or not do when camping at firstname.lastname@example.org!