20 Things To Know If You’re Taking Your Dog Camping For The First Time

1. Will my dog like camping?

First of all, do you like camping? If yes then the dog will also like it, why? Because that’s your dog, not only do you enjoy being with your pet but your dog also enjoys being with you (he sees his owner like his parents). And I hope this may be the very first question in your mind about taking your dog camping for the first time.

But it is not that easy, you need to have the answers to some of the most common questions that will arise in the mind.

It is better to know all these things right now so that you don’t have to worry about what to do with my dog. That’s all we’re going to discuss today.

2. How old does a dog have to be to go camping?

You can take your dog with you if it is ready to leave its mother, that’s around 8-9 weeks. Even though he aged that many weeks, he is still too young to survive on his own.

You need to take little extra care than a year-old dog because this little one can eat or do some silly things which can at extreme, take his life. Stay tuned, we will discuss dog’s safety while camping.

3. How to camp with two dogs?

Camping with two or multiple dogs is not that hard (keeping their maintenance aside). For 2 dogs, you need to pack everything extra like extra food, extra ties, extra sleeping space, and last but not least you need to take care little extra.

Because when a dog has their companion, they tend to forget who is their owner and where they’re. If you don’t take care of their safety then chances are while playing they can go away from your sight.

But as we know about their great smelling ability they may find you before you find them. You might be thinking that I am very cautious or negative.

No, I am a very positive person but it is always better to know all the consequences of our actions so that we can walk with more clarity of what to do or not for unforgettable camping experiences. 

4. What to do with dogs while camping?

That’s what you already know if you’re planning to take your dog outside for camping. Take him to trails, hiking, and all possible destinations where the dogs are allowed.

Let them explore nature as you do. The main point is to treat your pet as your family.

5. How to keep your dog safe while camping?

Dog on a leash when at camp

No matter whether you’re camping at national parks, campgrounds, or in any remote place it is not bad to keep your dog on a leash at camp.

By doing this you will keep your dog safe from other things and other things from your dog (campers and their pets).

That’s why nearly all campgrounds require that dogs remain on leashes for no longer than 6 feet.

Read the national park rules

Some parks don’t allow dogs on trails and some allow them to enjoy camping with their owner.

There are some rules you and your dog need to follow to stay inside the boundaries of national parks. Like if you’re going to camp in Yellowstone National Park, your dog must be on a leash that should be no longer than 6 feet.

And, they are also not allowed on any broad walk or trails, and pets are prohibited from all Yellowstone Backcountry. So don’t forget to read the rules of your planned national park.

Try co-sleeping

When you’re camping, you’re not at home. You and your dog can separately sleep inside the house without having the tense of wildlife attacking them.

I don’t want to imagine your little pup encountering a coyote or a skunk. When the dog sleeps with you, it will not only keep your dog safe from insects and other wildlife but also can make the sleeping experience more comfy and warm for all.

6. How to prepare your dog for camping?

Prepare your dog for camping

Practice in your backyard

Here are some ways to prepare your dog for an upcoming camping trip:

  1. Take your dog for longer walks each day to practice leash commands. This will help your dog’s behavior to develop towards the leash.
  2. Implementing a reward system. If your dog is a home lover who doesn’t like to spend time outside then it does not mean that you have to leave your dog inside the house. To plant a seed of camping in your dog’s heart spent most of the time in your yard or on your porch. Implement a reward system for spending time in the sun.
  3. Bring some of their favorite toys to keep them busy while camping when they feel bored.
  4. Socializing with others. This tip is for those who are going to camp on a pet-friendly site. In such sites, your dog will also meet other campers and their pets so to keep your dog active you need to do some things right now like: take them on a few playdates with other pups. This is a good way to see your dog’s behavior towards other people and to see if you need to implement some other training or not.
  5. Have a trial run. Having a trial is a golden opportunity for those who are going to camp with their dog for the very first time. Set up a can in your backyard and act exactly like you’re on a camping trip. Leash your dog all the time to teach him what security means, spend time around the campfire, and invite your friends and family members to join this little camping party. This will train your dog for a final deal.
  6. Make sure the dog has flea/tick protection

Up-to-date on vaccination

Make sure your dog is current on vaccination to keep everything under control.

Many pet-friendly campgrounds or national parks won’t allow your dog to enter if it is not up-to-date on vaccination.

Bring a written proof for just in case situations.

Bring a first aid kit for emergencies

Do not forget to pack a pet-friendly first aid kit. Some first aid kit essentials include:

  • Gauze
  • An up-to-date list of any recent treatments or current medications.
  • Non-Stick bandages
  • Adhesive tape
  • A digital thermometer
  • Your dog’s vet records
  • Pet-safe sterile eyewash

Stick to their schedule

Traveling and camping can disturb the body’s clock cycle. Thus it is important to maintain their healthy routine from waking up till they fall asleep while camping.

Don’t worry if for any reason you can’t stick with their and your daily routine because as time passes your body will adapt to this new camping routine.

7. How to pack dog food for camping? (Checklist)

  • Measure out the exact amount of food
  • Pack emergency food and water just in case you might want an extra day because you’re having that much fun.
  • Bowls
  • Waterproof food containers

8. How to keep dogs from barking while camping?

dog barking while camping

Here some tips to keep your dog from barking while camping:

  • Choose an appropriate campsite. The best way to keep them from barking is to camp in that place where they can’t see other people. Camp where there are many trees and bushes between sites to keep your dog’s sight away from other people.
  • Don’t tether your dog by the neck, instead, leash your dog.
  • Never leave your dog alone on a tie-out. If the situation comes then use them under direct supervision.
  • Exercise your dog to help them use excess energy which they could use to bark.
  • Camp during the less busy season.
  • Train your dog at home. You may consider contacting a professional for your dog’s training. This training will help your dog to adapt to any environment.
  • Call your dog by name. If the situation is turning negative where your dog is really serious about harming others then shout out their name loudly. This will give their brain a signal to go back to its owner immediately.

9. How to keep your dog clean while camping?

Keeping your dog’s hygiene is as crucial as your hygiene. Cleaning dogs while camping is as easy as you’re cleaning them at home. Here are some tips to clean your dog while camping:

  • Bruising your dog’s teeth will only take five minutes and as result, it will keep your dog safe from plaque and gum diseases.
  • Give your dog a nice shower. There are many ways for having a shower while camping. Either you can go for portable hot water showers or if you are camping in any national park then you can book a campsite that features showers. Doing shampoo to dogs is not mandatory every day when camping, just make sure to shampoo them once every four weeks to keep their skin and coat clean.
  • Don’t take a dog’s nutritional needs lightly. A good diet can prevent bed smells from the inside out as well as help any gastrointestinal problems.
  • Wipe your dog’s feet before going to bed to clean all dirt and mud that your dog will gather while camping.
  • Make sure the dog’s bed is as clean as yours. It will prevent the build-up of bacteria that can also spread on to your dog.

10. Is my dog safe from bears when camping in a tent?

It depends on several factors like where you’re camping, is that country dominated by black bear or brown bear. As brown bears are more dangerous than black bears.

If you’re really worried about your dog’s safety then do not camp in brown bear accommodations. Camping in black bear country is not dangerous if you follow all the rules and regulations issued by that particular campground or national park.

We already have an article focused on safety from black bears when camping. Please go and read that article before planning your camping trip in any black bear country.

11. Where do dogs sleep when camping?

Most of the time your dog will love to sleep with you inside the tent.

Though some dogs prefer to sleep in their own tent or the car for a quiet and secure space. In the next section, we will discuss how to train you to sleep in a tent but if you don’t like him to sleep with you then you can manage his own tent near yours.

Just remember to secure his tent before giving him permission to sleep on his own.

If you’re not comfortable sleeping with your dog inside the tent then you can set up their bed in the vestibule or in a safe space near the place where you’ll sleep.

It is not advisable to tether your pup to a nearby tree if you can feel the presence of hazards and predators.

12. How to train your dog to sleep in a tent?

train your dog sleeping inside the tent

For this train your dog in your backyard by doing following things:

  • Set up a complete tent
  • make your dog familiar with tent
  • Implement a reward system where you give your dog a little treat every time he comes and lay down inside the tent.
  • If your dog treats you as a parent and likes to sleep with you, then go sleep with your dog for 3-4 nights inside the tent before taking your dog for the first time for a camping trip.
  • Give his meal inside the tent
  • When you do all this, the dog will become familiar with this tent and will feel like living in a home inside it.

Now you are ready for the first camping trip with your dog. 

13. Can I leave my dog in a tent?

Yes, you can leave your dog inside the tent as the tent is one of the safest places for your dog at the campsite. But, not in a tent that is not properly ventilated and not has enough windows for your dog to look outside.

I don’t know whether you like to live inside the 4×4 packed box. I feel suffocated and I think you will do the same too.

So before leaving your tent make sure that the tent is properly ventilated so that the air will flow inside out without any hard work.

To make the environment inside the tent more comfortable you can leave a little window open for your dog to look outside.

14. How cold is too cold to camp with a dog?

Your dog will be fine as long as the temperature doesn’t sink below 45 degrees F.

Once it falls below 40, now, you should think about the clothing and other gears to keep your dog warm all the time. 

15. How do I know if my dog is cold while sleeping?

If your dog shows any of these signs ,you should think about your dog warmth:

  • Shivers or trembles
  • Hold their paws up
  • It will be extremely cold if you touch the dog’s nose and ears.
  • Tucks their tail between their legs

16. What to do with dog poop while camping?

No matter if it is dog’s poop or human poop, the most important thing is to bury it. Make sure the cathole is at least 6 inches deep and 200ft away from water sources.

If your dog pooped near your tent, then grab a poop shovel and go at least 200ft away from water sources and bury it.

You can check out my other blog post where I’ve only talked about pooping while camping (Must read for first-time campers).

17. How to keep dogs warm while camping?

  • If you and your dog can’t fit inside the sleeping bag at the same time. What you can do is put a blanket over your sleeping pad. Then unzip your sleeping bag, and put that over you both like a large blanket. In this way, he can snuggle you on the top of the insulation where you both will be under the sleeping bag.
  • Consider buying a made for dogs sleeping bag or pad.
  • Buy a doggie puffy coat. If the temperature drops down at night you can put a lightweight puffy coat on top of her.
  • Place a warm water bottle (wrapped in a shirt) next to them.
  • Always bring a lightweight down blanket or fleece.
  • Do you have two dogs? If yes, then why not cuddle them. The dogs will share their body heat in between to keep themselves warm for many hours. To kick this warm to the next level, put a sleeping bag on top of all of you. This will really keep you toasty warm.

There are many other ways to stay warm outside the tent and toasty warm inside the tent during winter camping. You can check them on outdoorfavor.com.

18. How to keep dogs cool during camping

We’ve talked about winter but about the summer that is already toasty. Here are some tips to keep your dog cool during camping:

  • Pack a cooling bed
  • If your campsite does not offer natural shade, create some shade for your dog and yourself. If possible, you can go for lightweight instant pop-up canopies. It will help you to get under the shade wherever you want.
  • Go for a cooling dog bandana
  • Buy good quality sunglasses for your dog.
  • Dogs with short hair, white fur, or pink skin can get sunburns and a good dog-friendly sunscreen can protect your dog from these burns.
  • Buy dog shoes to protect their paws from hot surfaces.
  • Go and swim if you are camping near natural water sources like river or lake

19. Should I take my dog’s collar off at night?

Yes, you should take your dog’s collar off at night. He is also a life like you who wants to feel free.

I know it is not possible when camping but when you’re inside the tent at night, It is better to free your dog from this collar and let his/her skin feel the air.

20. Does my dog need a sleeping bag?

If you’re camping in summer, then most probably your dog doesn’t even ask for a sleeping bag.

But if it is winter then having a sleeping bag is way better than having a blanket as it will provide more warmth and comfort to your dog when the temperature slips down below 40 degrees F.

Either your dog can sleep with you in the same sleeping bag or in a separate sleeping bag. Go for whichever way suits you.