Camping with Your Dog: 5 Ways to Improve Your Experience

Our canine friends are an important part of the family, and this does not change when we go for a vacation. While it is possible to leave them with a dog sitter or a commercial kennel, or even Aunt Grace’s kids, they will be unhappy without the presence of their extended human family. And let us face it, so will you be as well.

If you belong to that select group of people who believe that no vacation will just plain be complete without your furry companion in tow, then this is definitely an article you should read. Especially if camping is your thing as well.

While it may not be possible to adjust ‘Fido’ in every vacation (he might be a tad out-of-place in Las Vegas or when you are riding the boats in Venice and Amsterdam), camping is one such activity that your furry friend ‘can’ enjoy, to the same extent as the pretty much the rest of his whole extended human family as well!

It is important to note that all furry friends have their own highly specialized needs that are completely separate and distinct from our very own one and that can also easily be overridden or ignored while we are getting all excited about our upcoming camping trip. This is exactly why you have to make sure that both your human and your canine family members have an amazingly great time. Let us share a few guidelines help to ensure that ‘everyone’ (people and doggies included) come back from the trip, suitably ‘refreshed as well as energized.

1. First, Practice in your own backyard

OK, here is the thing. Sleeping in a tent is not for everyone. What’s worse is that it can also potentially turn out to be pretty stressful, all the way to be an incredibly nerve-wracking experience, for not just people who are not used to sleeping in small and confined spaces, but your canine companion as well.

Dogs like a semblance of routines in their lives (much like us) and if they are used to sleeping within the comforting confines of a bed in a really quiet and familiar place, then this trip may take them some time to adjust. You might have to wake up to his incessant howling all night long, within the narrow confines of your tent which definitely is not good at all.

This is why at least a fortnight before the camping trip, you should set about training him to become more familiar with the tent. You can set it up and roll out the sleeping bag and cuddle him to sleep. Right under the starry sky. This will be a good training experience for both you and him as well.

Remember, if he really freaks out, then it will be a lot easier to handle in (literally) your own backyard, then miles out in the boondocks.  Do it often enough until it becomes second nature to him.

2. Research all dog-friendly camping sites

If you were to bundle your ‘Poochie’ in your car along with the camping bags and tents and head out for the great outdoors, you would do well to check out dog-friendly camping sites beforehand. Camping sites are way different than InCruises because there would be more moving around for dogs. There can be few things worse than coming to the camping site you had decided, only to find it say: ‘No dogs allowed.’  This is the part where the best-laid plans of mice and men can go astray and you will have to make alternate arrangements, or worse, go back home again. So, it is prudent to check and call beforehand and see how friendly they are regarding your four-legged family members.

You can find easily pet-friendly campsites in the United States. Most popular camping destinations including Florida, California, and Connecticut have dog-friendly campgrounds.

3. Carry your doggy gear with you at all times

However, this certainly does not mean that you should stuff your already overfilled SUV with too much gear and poor Rover has no place to sit or stand. In terms of doggy stuff, this is what you will need at all times during the duration of the trip:

  • A dedicated doggy only water bottle as well as collapsible and lightweight (food grade plastic works) food bowls
  • His very own little backpack for any day hikes in which you carry his food and water supplies (available at any well-stocked pet supplies outlet)
  • Any particular sleeping pad and blanket combo to keep your favourite pooch all warm and cozy at night
  • A reflective leash and collar combo, preferably with a clip-on flashlight attachment
  • A special doggy first aid kit (also available at a pet store)

4. Aggressive dogs and camping do not mix

You should really know your dog well enough before letting him run amongst strangers and other dogs.  If you have recently acquired the animal and do not understand how he or she will react to the certain situation, then be very careful about letting him or her off the leash.

Use your innate common sense and do not let your dog walk up to other animals and people. While your animal may well have the gentlest disposition in the world, it does not mean that others are the same either. And before you know it, it’s going to be the canine version of World War III!

5. Take lots of towels for muddy paws

The last thing you want in your neat and cozy tent and sleeping bag is mud. But dogs will be dogs and they will carry it into the tent and even into your sleeping bag. Having towels handy can keep your tent clean and comfortable as your real home.


You must keep the necessary camping must-haves handy if you decide to go camping with your favorite canine friend.  If you were to follow these five simple but handy tips, then it is very probable that your upcoming trip will be a real blast! So what are you waiting for? Plan your vacation today.