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8 Dog Friendly Camping Tips for Epic Summer Adventures

Summer is here and warm weather provides the perfect conditions for outdoor activities and camping. But planning a camping trip can be overwhelming, especially when you’re bringing your dog along with.

Fortunately, there are plenty of dog friendly camping supplies – including food and accessories – to help ensure your dog is comfortable and safe during your trip. And beyond the packing list, you can get in the know to prepare for a successful dog friendly camping adventure with campground etiquette, health & safety precautions, and more. Read on and get ready for the most epic camping trip with your best buddy.

1. Campsite Dog Rules and Etiquette

Campgrounds will have a policy or rules for owners to follow when bringing their dogs on-site. While looking into a campground, be sure to confirm the rules before booking to ensure that you have the supplies needed and are able to follow the guidelines. 

Common general rules may include:

  • Respecting regulation regarding “no dog” and “on-leash” areas of the campground
  • Dogs cannot be unattended at the campsite or in vehicles/tents
  • Ensure your dog isn’t continuously barking—it can be a disturbance to other campers and wildlife, particularly during the campsite’s ‘quiet hours’.
  • Picking up after your dog (it’s the perfect time to invest in compostable waste bags)
Small, white dog runs towards camera on green grass with smile on his face
Photo by Joe Caione on Unsplash

2. Dog Friendly Camping Supplies

Beyond the daily needs of your dog (food, water, and an ID badge and collar), there are a number of camping-specific supplies to consider.

Checklist for dog camping supplies:

  • Leash/harness
  • Food travel bag
  • Portable dog bowls
  • Travel bed/mat
  • Hiking backpack
  • Dog life jacket
  • Light-up or reflective vest or collar
  • Dog wipes/towels
  • Paw-protectors for rain/cold weather
  • Compostable waste bags
  • Tick-removal tool
  • De-skunk kit or shampoo
  • Toys
  • Pet first-aid kit

Many Bone & Biscuit locations offer online shopping with local delivery and pick up options to make your camping planning even easier.

3. Health and Safety

It is important to consider the health and safety aspects while camping. Common complications while traveling with pets are dehydration, heat stroke and exhaustion. We’ve provided a list of things you should do or consider before taking your dog camping:

  • Have your dog’s vet information packed
  • Know where the closest vet is and record their contact information
  • Watch for behavioural signs from your dog—nervousness, agitation, fatigue or fear, and be attentive to their health
  • Talk to your vet about prevention treatment from ticks, fleas and worms—look into pet-friendly mosquito-repellents and tick-removal tools/shampoos
  • Pack your dog’s medication and store in a safe place
  • Research the campsite’s common wildlife, plants and insects—consider the negative reactions your dog may have
  • Allow for ample rest periods to prevent exhaustion
  • Provide them a well-ventilated sleeping area and access to water
  • After your dog eats, remove food from their bowl to prevent attracting wildlife and insects
Man with dog on trail
Photo by Annie Theby on Unsplash

4. Familiarizing Your Dog with Camping

Camping should be fun for everyone involved—the last thing you want your dog to feel is stress and anxiety. If your dog isn’t familiar with travelling or leaving their home for an extended period of time, you may want to start introducing them to different elements of your trip.

Here are some ways to familiarize your dog with camping

  • Before your trip, walk your dog through the RV or set up the tent you’re taking and spend time with them in it—this will make your dog feel more comfortable because they’ve already been introduced to your equipment
  • Do a trial run of camping with your dog, even if it’s in your backyard or inside—or take a shorter weekend-trip with your dog before long-term camping
  • Buckle your dog into the RV or car so they know what to expect when it comes time to travel—this also allows you to know if your dog needs another type of seat-belt or crate

5. Preparing for Travel

Thinking ahead and about the small details is necessary when planning to travel with your pet. Here is a list of things you should consider while preparing for your drive and stay:

  • Seek out spots on your drive where you’ll be able to pull over for safe bathroom breaks
  • Think about water, snacks and food storage and how often your dog will need them during the drive to the campsite
  • Try to make your dog’s travel area like home with scents they’ll recognize (toys, blankets and beds)
  • Scope out hiking/walking areas to make sure it’s dog friendly and a good-fit for the size of your dog/their capabilities

6. Leashing Considerations

Your dog may need to be leashed for the duration of your camping trip, allowing for only minimal off-leash time. However, you want to enjoy camping as well and don’t want to be holding their leash the whole time.

Tips for leashing your dog

  • Make sure your dog’s leash is tethered to a sturdy dog tie-out or large tree
  • Give your dog enough lead where they can roam around but restrict their leash-length from going outside of your campsite
  • Consider creating a doggy zip line—tying a rope from one tree on your campsite to another and looping their leash onto it
  • Your dog’s leash should be far away from campfires and barbecues—check to make sure the wind isn’t blowing smoke towards your dog
  • Pay attention to your dog’s leash and ensure it’s not tangled around anything
  • Portable dog pens are great to keep small dogs off-leash
Copper-coloured puppy on a trail with a large tree branch in his mouth
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

7. Keeping track of your dog

Family camping trips can be busy, and with so many things on your mind, it can be easy to lose sight of your dog. Here are a few simple ways to make sure your dog doesn’t get lost:

  • Use a dog tracking device—if your dog strays away, you’ll know exactly where they are
  • Make sure your contact information is on your dog’s collar and they are wearing it at all times
  • Attach a tag on your dog’s collar with your campsite number

8. Double Stock

Be prepared with extra food, water and other dog friendly camping supplies just in case your trip becomes longer than expected. The supplies we have outlined are necessary when camping, however, you should pack extra crucial items that your dog couldn’t go a day without. Having a spare collar or leash is also important to pack since you can’t predict what your adventure will bring.

Stock up and shop online with a participating Bone & Biscuit location near you!

Post References

  1. Camping & RV In BC: “Tips On Camping With Your Dog” [https://www.campingrvbc.com/how/camping-tips/camping-with-your-dog/].
  2. Country Living: “Camping With Dogs? Here Are Our 25 Best Tips And Tricks” [https://www.countryliving.com/life/kids-pets/g20954442/camping-with-dogs/] 24 March 2020, by Blair Donovan and Jessica Leigh Mattern.
  3. Homes Alive Pets: “The Ultimate Adventurers Guide To Hiking and Camping With Dogs” [https://blog.homesalive.ca/dog-blog/camping-with-dogs] 10 February 2021, by Krystn Janisse.
  4. KOA: “The Ultimate Guide To Camping With Dogs | Dog Camping Gear, Tips & More” [https://koa.com/blog/tips-from-camping-with-dogs/].

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