Going camping with dogs can be a great experience, but there are a few tips to keep in mind as well. When you take your pet camping, you have to think about them, yourself, and those around you, too.
It seems like every time we camp, the topic of pets and dogs come up. And honestly, it’s one of those things that either works for people or doesn’t.
I’ve been to campgrounds that have rules about bringing your dog camping, and have also been to ones that don’t have any rules. In my experience, camping with dogs NEEDS rules.
Seems simple, right? To some, not so much. I’m always amazed at the people who just “assume” that every camper and campsite doesn’t mind their dog running up and sniffing their bodies and food…and yes, while there are millions of dog lovers out there, that doesn’t mean that dogs can roam leash-free all over the campgrounds. (or state parks, or wherever you happen to be camping)
Do dogs at campsites need to be on leashes?
All pet owners need to realize that taking their dogs on an outdoor adventure is great, but there are rules. While having the dog on a leash at your actual camping spot might not be a rule, you can bet that there are leash laws at every pet-friendly campground.
Most times, dogs need to be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times, but you may have people using a hands-free leash for their dogs at their camping spot.
If you have questions about the rules, be sure to talk to the campground owners or the campground hosts.
Do dogs have to be on a leash at a Campground and also National Parks?
All dogs, no matter if they’re pets or service animals, need to be on a leash when you’re camping and at national parks. This includes when they’re in parking lots, on hiking trails, in the National Forests, and inside any park buildings.
No matter if you’re just taking day trips or heading out to a camping destination for a week or more, don’t forget to add your dog leash to your camping checklist.
How do I prepare my dog for camping?
What campers often forget is that dogs need to be prepared for their camping adventure as well. Animals are versatile and tend to adapt quickly, but every change of scenery can cause a big gap and need for adjustments from your dog. To better prepare your dog for camping, you should:
Show your dog that you’re going on a trip
You’d be surprised that animals recognize when something is about to happen. Start by packing up their toys or leash and let them know that everyone is going to be leaving the house together.
Pack up their bowls for the camping trip
Your dog is certain to know something is up if you pack up their water and food bowls, right?!
This is a great option for having all their needs in one simple tote.
A traveling tote for dogs is perfect for camping trips as it has food bowls, first aid options – and more.
And while those are easy ways to prepare your dog for camping, you need to first ask one very important question:
Should you take your dog camping?
And truthfully, only you can answer this. Only you know the behaviors of your dog and if your dog is able to follow rules. If you find that your dog cannot be tied up due to excessive barking, then going camping with your dog may not be a great idea.
Most campgrounds have a leash rule, so this is definitely something to consider.
Another point to have in your mind is if your dog can be left alone for periods of time. Maybe you want to go swimming at the pool or go into town to explore a bit while camping…what will you do with your dog during these times?
Some people leave them in their campers, only to come back to their entire camper or RV being torn up inside.
Always consider your dog’s behavior at home when you’re gone to see if they would be able to emotionally handle your absence during a camping trip.
If you like this article about camping with dogs, check out these posts as well:
- Family Friendly Camping Games Perfect for Every Camping Adventure
- 10 Camping Hacks that are a MUST!
- 5 Campers that are Perfect for a Family
Can you go camping with a dog in a tent?
Great question…and the answer depends fully on you and your dog’s ability. Some dogs may love the tent life, while others aren’t able to handle it.
Again, before booking any type of camping trip, call ahead and make certain that dogs are allowed! This should always be the first step that you take before going camping with your dog.
What would happen if you were to just assume that your dog was welcome, only to arrive at your campground and find out differently? You’d have to turn around and leave, right? With one simple phone call, you can alleviate that frustration altogether.
Can you leave a dog in an RV?
It’s the same concept as leaving your dog in a tent, except it’s actually a more private space for your pet. You can lock them in safely, keep them cool and provide a comfortable space for them while you’re out and about.
Can you take dogs on the trails and beaches?
Unfortunately, there is no “one guide to camping” that fits all scenarios. You’ll want to check with the park office to find out if there are dog-friendly beaches in the area or if there are outdoor activities where your dog can or can’t be.
These are also good questions to ask prior to making your camping reservation so that you’ll be well prepared and not have to worry about as much.
Camping Checklist for Dog and Puppy Camping
The following tips for camping are great for dogs and puppies. Remember that you don’t need to overcomplicate your RV camping or tent camping experience. Make sure that you have the following on hand at a minimum so that you can keep your dog happy and healthy during the trip:
- Collapsible water bowl (collapsible bowls make it easy to take with you on the go)
- Water bottle filled with clear water (this is for when you’re hiking or exploring or headed to the beach for swimming so that the dog has access to water)
- Plenty of water (you’ll want to change out to clean water often, especially in the hot temps)
- Be sure that you’re booking a dog-friendly campsite!
- Camping bed or kennel for your dog
These are just some of the most common things that you’ll want to pack!
Planning a Camping Trip with your Dog
If you’ve made the call and found out that camping with your dog is a green light, you’re going to need some dog camping gear for your trip! (spoiling your dog is just half the fun!)
There are seriously so many great items to buy for your camping gear, but here are a few that are totally worth it: (and your dog will give two paws up to also!)
- Dog Paw Washer – Great for getting rid of some of that campsite mud and dirt before they jump in your bed.
- Elevated Pet Bed – Keeps them up off the hot ground.
Deciding if it’s time to go camping with dogs or not is a personal preference ultimately. Make certain that you take the time to do your research, understand the personality of your dog, and plan accordingly to ensure that it’s a smooth and positive camping experience.
Have you ever taken your dog camping?