The Ultimate Guide To Tent Camping With Dogs In 2021

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You are planning your next family camping trip. However, you are confused and wonder whether you should bring your dog along. Leaving your amazing furry friend at home in a kennel does not seem like a good idea, as you will be having fun, and they will not. The good news is that you can bring them along on the fun. The dog is part of the family, and this will be the perfect bonding experience. Imagine them roaming outdoors and sticking their head out of the vehicle as you drive to the campsite. Fun, right? However, camping with dogs needs lots of preparation to ensure that they are comfortable and safe. Below is an ultimate guide on tent camping with your dog. Read on to find out more;

Why Camping With Your Dog Is A Good Idea

What is better than camping with your furry friend? Nothing! The reasons to take your dog camping with the family outweigh leaving them at home. These include:

  • They will get a chance to exercise. More and more dogs are becoming overweight, and camping is one way to keep them active.
  • You will get a chance to bond with them better than staying at home. This is because you will have lots of uninterrupted time for you and your pet, hence a chance to enjoy each other’s company.
  • They will provide a great source of distraction as you will not have to worry if they are safe at home.
  • They will keep you entertained.
  • You will get a chance to meet new people as they will draw you to other dog owners.
  • They will protect you and your family, especially in dangerous locations. They will also alert you if something seems off and ensure that you sleep better at night, knowing that you are safe.

Tips On Making This The Best Camping Trip With Your Dog

Now that you have decided to carry your dog with you, the next thing is to get organized. It would help if you had lots of preparation and planning for it to work. Below is a guide to follow to make this the best trip ever!


  • Is Your Dog Ready For Camping?

Before embarking on this trip, you need to be sure that your pet is ready. Since you know them better than anyone, you can ascertain whether they are ready or not. For example, does he or she bark a lot when you are at home? Also, how do they respond when they are on the leash? Please get to know your dog by noting things like what excites them, what makes them whimper or growl, and what puts them on guard. Understanding their body language will help you know how they will react in various situations.

  • Check The Campground Regulations

There is nothing as devastating as going with your dog to a campground that is not pet-friendly. This is why you need to enquire if they can accommodate dogs before going on the trip. It would be best if you check for:

  • Leash requirements

You will find that most campgrounds will have leash requirements to ensure the safety of the campers and their pets. These, however, vary from one location to another, but one similarity is that the leash should not be longer than six feet. Some places will also insist on no retractable leashes.

Note, even well-behaved dogs need to be on a leash that you are either holding or have attached to a sturdy object. One of my friend’s has an exceptionally well-trained and calm dog.

But he bolted after a squirrel. I teased him that the dog was just being a stereotype.

While it was funny, it could have been tragic. People were driving around to get to their campsite. Or a child could have gotten in the way and been hurt.

Or the dog could have stumbled onto a venomous snake. At the campsite, we saw both a water moccasin and a copperhead.

Aggressive Behavior

If you feel that your dog is aggressive and will not behave well when with other dogs, it is best to leave them. This is because the campgrounds are a haven for people and their dogs to relax; hence any aggression will not be allowed.

Barking Ordinances

It is normal for dogs to bark, but if yours does it uncontrollably, especially at night, then tagging them along might be the wrong idea. Campgrounds may have to turn you away if your dog behaves like that.

Visit The Vet

Never go on a camping trip without visiting the vet. This is because your dog will need to be updated on all the vaccinations. Many campgrounds will not allow dogs that are not up-to-date with their vaccinations. You may also need to put your dog on flea and tick prevention to keep them safe in the outdoors from mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.

You should also tag and microchip the dog at the vet. This will be vital since they may run off and get lost; hence the likelihood of them returning to you will be very little. A microchip will help you identify them. Also, ensure that the contact information is registered and up to date.

The vet will also check on their health to ensure that they are in perfect condition when going camping. In case they are not, they should be treated at home until they are in excellent health.

What Should You Pack?

When making plans, you need to have a list of camping essentials to carry on your trip. These include:

  • Dog First Aid Kit. It should contain bandages, tweezers for pulling out thorns, a muzzle to protect you and the pet, saline eyewash to flush their eyes if dirt gets in, and dog booties to protect them in case they get hurt.
  • Dog treats. Carry their favorite treats to keep them entertained and excited during the trip.
  • Dog food. This is a simple as the food that the dog eats at home.
  • An attachable ID tag. It should include your phone number in case he gets lost.
  • Towels to dry the dog when wet and cool them if suffering from heatstroke.
  • A leash to keep the dog under your control.
  • Dog waste bags to pick up their poop.
  • Vet records.
  • Prescription medication in case you need them.
  • Bedding such as a blanket to keep the dog off the ground.
  • New and current photos of your dog. This might come in handy in case the dog runs off.
  • Clean water for drinking as the natural sources of water at the campsite may be contaminated.
  • Dog toys to keep them entertained.
  • Dog comb or brush to remove foxtails. It will also help you check for ticks.
  • Dog sunscreen. And yes, this is a thing. Dog sunscreen is intended for short-haired dogs. Note that human sunscreen can be harmful to your dog.
  • Bug repellant to keep mosquitoes at bay. Read the bottle to make sure the bug repellent won’t harm dogs.

Have A Trial Run

If you have never taken your dog camping before, you need to have a trial run. This will help them adjust better to the new environment. It will also help them relax as too much stress will make them aggressive and may even lead to illness. You can do this by trying the following:

  • Take the dog on a day trip weekly, or at least four weeks before the camping trip. While at it, practice leash commands, and see how they respond.
  • Carry the dog bed and dog bowl that you will use when camping to make them feel more comfortable.
  • Replicate the situations that they may experience during the trip, such as long drives, playing, and sitting. You can take the dog on a couple of play dates with other dogs as they will be a high likelihood that there will be other dogs at the campsite.
  • In the back yard, put up a tent before the camping date to make them comfortable. Sit in there, read a book, or listen to music, just as you will do so while camping. Play around with the dog around the tent. You can also put the dog bed beside you and let the dog see it. However, do not force him to enter. If he joins you, great! If he doesn’t, you will have sensitized him on tent camping.

Dog-Friendly Activities To Do When Tent Camping

Choose The Right Tent

Choosing the right tent can be a daunting process. There are many factors to consider to ensure that you get the right one for you. These include:

  • The Tent Cords

The fewer the tent cords, the better for you and the dog. The best tent is one that does not need any cords to stay erect.

  • Weight

If you are using the tent regularly, then the lightest tent will not be your best solution. The lighter it is, the less durable it will be. Check for things like maximum trail weight and minimum trail weight. The former usually includes the load with a rain fly, tent, and poles, while the latter consists of the footprint, stuff sack, and stakes, which are usually sold separately.

  • Vestibule

This is the storage area created by the rain fly. You will notice that some tents have vestibules on each side, and others will have them at one or both sides of the tent. Here, you will have to decide which one works for you best.

  • Interior Space

This is crucial and should not be ignored. It is advised to consider your dog as an additional person to ensure adequate space for everyone. Sufficient space will also help you bring some of your gears like clothing and bags inside the rent. Therefore, check the interior space, and ensure that you choose something comfortable. Another thing to look into is the design of the tent. Rectangular shapes will have more room as opposed to those that are tapered on one end.

  • Ventilation

Ventilation is crucial as it will help keep off condensation and prevent mold. On average, human beings exhale around 1 liter of moisture per night when sleeping. The amount increases when there are several people and dogs in the tent. Dogs also tend to overheat before humans, and hence when the tent is not well ventilated, their temperature will rapidly rise. Therefore, ensure that you get a well-ventilated tent.

  • Seasonality

Always go for a 3-season tent as they offer more ventilation and also provide insulation during cold weather.

  • Freestanding vs. Non-freestanding.

Freestanding tents are supported by tent poles and are usually dual walled, meaning that they have a separate rain fly and can stand without stakes.

Non-freestanding tents, on the other hand, are for ultralight campers who use a tent pole to support the structure of the tent. They are single-walled; hence the rain fly is built in.

  • Easy Access In And Out

Your tent needs to have easy access to go in and out when camping. With easy access, there are fewer chances of disaster happening from an eager dog.

Fun Activities To Do When Camping

  • Hiking

Before hiking, check to confirm that there are no restrictions for dogs. Also, follow the campsite’s rules, such as keeping the dogs on a leash to ensure everyone’s safety.

  • Swimming

If there is mild or no current, then your dog will enjoy swimming. However, you should check for any blue-green algae blooms beforehand as they can be fatal to dogs.

  • Play Fetch

This is a tremendous pass-time activity to help get rid of your dog’s excess energy. Use their favorite toys to keep them interested.

  • Trail Running

Here, you will cover more ground than when walking. It is especially great for high-energy dogs, as they will enjoy the exercise.

  • Cycling

You can go cycling with your dog, but only if you are sure that an animal on the road will not divert them.

  • Canoeing

If your dogs love water, then canoeing is the perfect excuse to get them all wet. Here, you can get some floatation devices in case the currents are too strong for them.

Going tent camping with your dog is one of the best experiences you will ever get to enjoy. Dogs love the outdoors, and this will be a great way to bond with your furry friend. All you need to do is do extensive preparations and planning to make it stress-free and smooth. If you have more than one dog, ensure you check the campground’s pet limit policy beforehand to be safe. With the above guidelines, you will be ready and set to go. All you need is to be open-minded and be prepared for a fun and fantastic trip that you will love. What else are you waiting for?