Dogs make great camping companions. Inviting your dog along makes your campsite feel more like an outdoorsy home away from home! Before you head out into the woods, consider if the trip is going to be safe for your pet. What kind of breed do you have? What are the weather conditions going to be like? If your dog is an anxious traveler or doesn’t tolerate certain temperatures, then leave them in the care of someone you trust while you’re gone. You might think your dog will enjoy trekking in the woods with you, but some breeds may not be able to take long hikes or climb rough terrain.

There are a number of things you’ll need on a camping trip with your dog. Your pup will most likely have as much as you to bring, so get packing! The first and most important item to pack is food. Put your dog food in water proof bags to prevent mold and other critters sneaking in for a snack. Additionally, your dog must always have fresh water. Pack extra water bottles or a few gallon jugs if your trip is more than a few days. Water bottles with a collapsible water dish are highly recommended. This way, your dog can drink from any where at any time. Be careful to let your dog drink from streams or lakes, as the bacteria may cause digestive irritation or even illness for your dog.  You don’t want your fun trip to turn into an expensive medical bill!

Don’t forget the essentials like a leash, vest (if it’s cold or lifejacket if you’ll be near water) and a blanket. Other items like dog treats, a ball, chew toys, a tie out and extra leashes are also good options, but aren’t necessities. You want your dog to be comfortable, but try not to overpack. Camping is a great time to unplug and bond!

You’ll also want to bring a small back pack for your dog, if hiking is on the agenda. But only do so if your dog can handle the extra weight! Always have the leash, identification tags, important medical records and walking collar on hand. If you plan on going on rough terrain, consider dog shoes for paw protection. Don’t forget poop bags!

If you are going to be camping on or near a lake or fast-moving river, you should make sure your dog wears a life jacket at all times. Some dogs love water, while others prefer being on land and are not fond of swimming. Whether your dog is a swimmer or not, a dog life jacket should be used to protect against any accidental drownings or injuries.

A sample packing guide for your dog may look like this:

  • Prepare food in water proof bags
  • Keep 2 bottles of water for your dog at all times
  • Bring a dog first aid kit, including flea & tick repellent
  • A warm blanket for your dog
  • A dry towel in case of rain
  • Collapsible containers for food and water
  • Dog shoes in case of rocky or rough terrain
  • Dog backpack (for medium to larger dogs)
  • Leash and a harness instead of typical choker or “walking collar” (to prevent getting stuck!)
  • Favorite toy or something from home to comfort in times of stress

Lastly, a camping trip isn’t complete without a bonfire and smore’s. Did you really go camping if you didn’t indulge in burnt marshmallow goodness? Keep in mind that chocolate is TOXIC to dogs. Stash it away, eat it all or toss out leftover chocolate. You do not want to take any chances! With these tips, your dog will enjoy camping as much as you do!

About The Author Giselle Rodriguez

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