11 Lesser-Known Tips for Camping with Dogs

Most dogs love spending time in the great outdoors, so of course your furry friend would love camping with you! Such an excursion requires plenty of research and preparation, but it’s well worth it to watch your dog wag their tail in excitement throughout your journey. 

To help you get the most out of camping with dogs, we’ve put together a list of tips that goes far beyond reading campsite rules and packing a tent. Before setting forth into the wilderness, read over this useful information, then get ready for the adventure of a lifetime with your furry friend!  

Tip #1: Protect Your Dog’s Documentation

Most campsites that allow dogs require them to be up to date on their vaccinations, so it is important to bring your dog’s health records on your camping trip. In the event of an emergency, for instance, first responders and veterinarians will be able to determine next steps quicker and more accurately if you have your dog’s documents at the ready. If you are worried about storing your pup’s records, use water-proof envelopes!

Tip #2: Update Your Dog’s ID 

Tagging your dog with relevant contact information is essential! When camping with your dog far from home, remember that nearby campers may not know where to take your wandering pup if only provided with a distant home address. 
To solve this problem, write your temporary campsite details on a piece of duct tape with permanent marker and attach it to the back of your dog’s collar. Your dog should always wear their normal ID tag, but your campsite’s name, number, and address may also come in handy. Of course, microchipping your dog is an added way to keep them safe. 

Tip #3: Avoid Hunting Areas

Man hiking with dog

Being conscious of the places where hunters are permitted is one of the most crucial tips for camping with dogs. If your dog is let off-leash in one of these areas, they could be easily mistaken for another animal such as a deer. Plus, your dog could encounter harmful animals in these environments. 

Do your research on hunting seasons and hunting zones near your campsite before hiking with your dog, and always walk your dog on a leash. 

Tip #4: Make Your Dog Visible

To guarantee you always know your dog’s whereabouts, dress them in high-visibility accessories. When camping with dogs, brightly colored bandanas or reflective harnesses can quickly help you pinpoint your pup. Durable glow collars made of LED lights or electroluminescent wire are also smart choices because they shine bright during darker hours. 
If you will be walking your dog at night, also consider a reflecting leash that can be seen from a distance. 

Tip #5: Use a Bell 

If your dog happens to leave your side, attaching a bell to their collar as an added safety precaution can be a lifesaver. The sound of the bell can help you to determine your dog’s location in relation to yours.  

While you should always keep an eye on your dog when in the wilderness, utilizing a bell can make supervision less worrisome. It can also signal to other animals such as bears that you are present. 

Tip #6: Bring Long-Lasting Dog Treats

Woman feeding dog a treat

You may think camping will be second nature to your outdoor-loving pooch, but dogs often need some help getting used to new sights and sounds encountered in the wild. To motivate your pup and praise good behavior, pack premium-quality dog treats for your camping trip. 

When used as rewards, these savory treats will gradually help your furry friend overcome their fears and adjust to camping life. In addition, long-lasting natural dog chews keep dogs occupied, lowering the chances of them leaving the campsite to look for other forms of entertainment. 

Tip #7: Pack Waste Bags 

When in nature, it’s commonly believed that pet parents do not have to dispose of their dog’s waste, but this is not the case! Dog waste contains bacteria and pathogens that can disrupt the ecosystem, so burying it, covering it with leaves, or simply walking away from it is not the best idea.  
The proper way to dispose of dog waste is to bag it up and take it with you until you can throw it away. Dog waste bags are designed specifically for sanitary disposal, and they often help neutralize odors. 

Tip #8: Keep Your Dog Cool

To beat the heat and try to avoid heat exhaustion, soak a bandana or t-shirt in water and let your pup wear it for an hour or so. You can also use a spray bottle to spritz your dog from time to time, especially when trekking under the hot sun.  

When camping with your dog, the best times to walk your dog are in the morning and evening when the weather is significantly cooler. Remember to bring a collapsible water bowl & plenty of water and choose trails with adequate shade! 

Tip #9: Avoid Drinking “Raw Water” 

Man sitting near water with dog

If you wouldn’t drink the water you find along your camping journey, neither should your pup. You never know what harmful substances the water found in lakes, rivers, and other bodies could contain. Untreated, “raw” water has been known to cause illnesses and should not be sipped.  

Instead, pack bottled water or reusable bottles for you and your furry friend and refill them with water from a trusted source. You can even use a water filter or purifier to remove toxins from “raw” water found in nature! 


Related: Dog-Friendly Lakes


Tip #10: Correctly Remove Bee Stingers  

While tweezers are great for removing ticks, they should not be used to remove bee stingers. Squeezing a stinger with tweezers may actually release more venom into your dog’s skin. To correctly take out a bee stinger, gently scrape out the stinger using a flat object like a credit card or thin piece of cardboard. 

Tip #11: Use Dog Booties 

Dog booties protect your furry friend’s paws against summer heat, icy trails, and rocky terrain. When camping with dogs, a good rule of thumb is if the ground is too uncomfortable for you to walk on barefoot, it’s likely just as uncomfortable for your dog.  

You should supply booties when exposing your pup to more extreme temperatures and landscapes. Plus, booties can prevent your dog’s nails from puncturing tents. 

Ready to Camp Out with Your Travel Buddy? 

There are many things to consider when out in the wilderness, especially with a dog in tow. Once you have the dog camping basics down, following these lesser-known tips for camping with dogs will ensure your next adventure is the best one yet!  
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