First-time campers often worry too much when they think about camping with a dog. Bringing your pet along with you should not be that anxiety-inducing. In fact, you would be surprised how little maintenance and preparation is required in order to bring your dog on your next camping trip. If you are still worried about camping with a dog, then we are here to give you some quick pointers about the do’s and don’ts. We have also saved one great tip for the last section of this article – it will keep your pet very, very happy at the campsite. But we will talk about this later.
Do not be one of the people who over-prepare when it comes to camping with a dog – you do not need anything fancy in terms of toys, accessories, or other gear. In fact, this is the first thing we want to talk about:
What to Pack When Camping with a Dog?
You should be more than familiar with the favorite things of your dog, and these are the exact things that you will need to bring along. Toys, balls, or anything that your pet enjoys having fun with when they need to spend some energy. Some dogs are so in love with their beds that they find it difficult to sleep elsewhere – if this is also the case in your family, then make sure to bring your dog’s bed.
Is your dog sentimental towards a particular object – blanket, plushy toy, etc.? Then do not hesitate to pack them for your trip. Dogs need nothing more than their favorite people and a few favorite objects to feel at home just about anywhere.
Last but not least, do not forget to bring some dog bowls. Or, even better, just keep a set of dog bowls in your camping gear, so that you won’t risk forgetting them. You don’t need anything fancy, in fact old Tupperware bowls work great. Of course, prepare accordingly when it comes to water and food as well – do not forget to check storage instructions and expiration dates on food if you plan on a longer camping trip.
Be Mindful of the Weather Conditions
Dogs are quite tolerant of slightly higher or lower temperatures – much more than people. However, this does not mean that you should not take care of them with it is too cold or too hot outside. Make sure to find a nice, shadowy spot where your dog will be able to hide from the sunlight and cool down for a bit. Even better, let them join you inside the camper when you go to cool off by the AC.
And if it is too cold? Then make sure they have a cozy spot next to the fire, or let them hang out near the heater in your camper. Bringing a small blanket is also a very cozy way to keep your dog nice and warm.
Helping Your Dog Deal with Anxiety and Stress
Depending on your campsite, your dog may be overwhelmed by the number of people and other dogs or animals roaming around. Of course, not all dogs are like this – but some just are, especially if they’re young and full of energy. On the other hand, senior dogs are typically more laidback. You are probably very familiar with your dog’s character, so you should be prepared to meet its needs when you arrive at the camp site.
So, what do you do if your dog is overwhelmed by its surroundings? One way to deal with it is to let them take some time off in the tent, but this might not always work. While the tent will hide everything from the dog’s eyes, they will still hear everything happening around them. This is why the best solution is to let them chill for a bit in the camper, a place free of visual and sound stimulation.
Precautions to Take In Case Your Dog Gets Muddy
Even if the weather forecast is excellent, a slight rain may always catch you by surprise. No matter how hard you try to keep the campsite covered and dry, you are unlikely to manage to keep your dog clean. It will get muddy, and you will need to find a way to deal with it. Of course, you will need to take care of drying as well, so keep that in mind.
If you do have muddy paws on hand, then just dip them in a bucket of water one at a time, and it’s handy to keep some old towels that you no longer use. These can be helpful when it comes to cleaning all sorts of stuff, including cleaning and drying your dog.
The Pro Tip – A Safe Way to Give Your Dog Freedom of Movement
As we said earlier, we have one very minor but convenient tip, which will greatly improve your dog’s mood during camping trips. When you want to make sure that they will not get too far, you will probably leash them – but this does not allow them to roam further away than a few feet. However, there is an easy way to fix this and give your dog full access to the entire campsite – all you need is a leash, and some rope or cordage. Use paracord to make a loop with an overhand knot, and then find a tree or a post near the center of the campsite. Tie one side of the paracord there, and then connect the loop and knot to your dog’s collar or leash. You could even run it through the leash handle and then between two trees to make a dog run. Check out the video below for a demonstration.
It’s a very simple tactic, which gives your pup plenty of space to roam and enjoy the camp without the risk of getting lot or wandering too far away.