You’re probably thinking for some time about camping with your dog, and who can blame you?
First time camping with Fido can be a lot of fun and a great adventure for both of you.
The thing is:
You and your dog need to come prepared, or this whole thing would just be a big headache.
The key is to make sure your dog is ready, after that you can make all the decisions and adjustments you need, including packing.
However, you don’t want to pack the whole house and carry heavy bags with you. When it comes to equipment, stick to the basics.
In this post, I’ll tell you everything about taking a dog camping for the first time.
Starting with a few tips to help you plan a successful camping trip.
Tips For Taking A Dog Camping For The First Time
1. Practice Overnight Stay With Your Dog
Sleeping outside can be a bit overwhelming for most canines, especially if this is their first time on a camp trip.
The best way to prepare your dog for the adventure is to set up a tent in your backyard (if you don’t have one, do it in the living room) and sleep there during the night.
That way, you’ll have time to reassure Fido in case he refuses to enter the tent or sleep in his travel bed or sleeping bag. Also, consider training your dog for outdoor adventures.
After a while, your dog will get used to spending time with you outdoors, so don’t give up!
2. Prepare Yout Dog For A The Drive
If your dog is not used to a long car stay, now is the time to practice it and ensure that the ride is as comfortable as possible for your dog (you can always use a back seat cover for that).
3. Check If The Campsite Is Dog-friendly
Not every campsite allows dogs in it. While some campgrounds require that you keep your dog on a leash, and others require that you’ll pay a fee. Take the time to filter out sites that don’t accept dogs.
Where Can I Take My Dog Camping?
It’s important to do some research and make sure you understand the rules (and the risks) of the campground before you start your camping trip.
4. See If The Weather Is Good
Although camping is a year-round activity, when you’re taking your dog with you for the first time, try to plan it around good camping weather as this will be less stressful for your dog.
A little rain here and there is probably not going to hurt, but avoid extreme weather that includes lightning and thunders.
5. Treat Your Dog For Fleas And Ticks
Campsites are filled with fleas, ticks, and mosquitos that can irritate your dog skin and possibly expose him to diseases. So while your dog should have flea and tick protection all the time, it’s especially important when you take him camping with you.
I personally use K9 Advantix, mainly because it doesn’t enter the bloodstream like other ones. Instead, this stuff spreads throughout the skin, glands, and hair. Most owners say it keeps their dog safe on camping and other outdoor activities.
6. Make Sure The Tent Is Big Enough
Some campsites don’t your dog to sleep outdoors, so you need to get ready for the possibility that Fido will sleep with you in the tent. If it’s just the dog and you, bring a tent that will fit both of you.
However, there’s no need to break the bank. A 2 person tent would be perfect for you and your large dog. If you have a smaller dog, you can even fit another person in there.
7. Bring A Dog Bag Pack For Walks
A doggie bag pack is a convenient way to carry a bunch of essential items when you go on hiking. We’re talking about food, water, bowls, waste bags, first aid, cell phones, etc.
Obviously, a bag pack is more suitable for medium and large dogs (since they can actually carry it), and if you’re looking for a good one, I suggest checking out this one from OneTigris.
Dog Camping Packing Checklist: 11 Dog Camping Gear And Accessories
1. ID Tag
Your dog should never leave home without his ID tag.
ID tags are quite inexpensive, so consider getting an additional tag with the campsite details in case your dog went missing and can’t find his way back to the camp.
2. First Aid Kit
Hopefully, you won’t need bandage your dog, but being prepared for emergencies is important.
One of my favorite first aid kits is this pet first aid pouch.
Due to its pocket size, this kit only includes a few essentials items (which can be used on people as well), but that’s why it’s so lightweight and can be attached to a leash or backpack easily.
3. Travel Bed
Your dog will probably nap a lot on during the trip, that’s what dogs do.
Dog beds are made for indoor use, and they’re probably not the most comfortable to carry. On the other hand, a pet travel bed is more durable and usually come in a pouch for easy carrying.
Don’t forget a blanket in case it gets too cold at night.
If you’re serious about camping and traveling with your dog and plan to do this often, invest in a high-quality sleeping bag that will last for many outdoor ventures.
4. Clip-on Flashlight
It’s easy to lose track of your dog when he starts to wanders throughout the camp at night, so if you’re going to keep him off leash, it’s best if he has a flashlight on him.
This clip on led is ideal for camping considering it’s durable, weather resistant, and has a long battery life.
You can attach the light to your dog’s collar or harness, or better yet, to a LED collar. That way, you won’t even need a flashlight for yourself.
5. Dog Leash
Some campsites require that your dog will stay secure, so don’t forget to pack short leash and a stake or a tether. Keeping Fido on a leash is also safer in case he decides to wander alone at night or run after a small animal.
Also, bring a longer leash (the one you use when you go to the beach or the park) as this will allow your dog to run and play freely while keeping him under control.
6. Collapsible Bowls
When you bring your dog on a trip, you have to pack quite a few items. So any product that’s easy to carry and don’t need a lot of storage is worth the investment.
Collapsible bowls are perfect for camping as they are lightweight and take up minimal space in your bag. Each bowl is made of durable silicone and comes with a free carabiner so you can attach them to a backpack or a tent.
Notice that these bowls are quite small, so if you have a large dog, you may have to fill them more than once.
7. Food & Water
Since you won’t have a fridge out there, it’s best to go with either dry dog food or unopened cans of dog food. In the case of kibbles, I suggest measuring and packing each meal separately in a waterproof bag to make things easier for you later on.
Also, make sure you have enough dog food for the whole trip (pack a bit more food than your dog usually eats). You can also sneak a few treats and toys to comfort your dog when he’s stressed and keep him busy while you’re setting up the tent or cooking.
Bones aren’t a good treat — they pose a choking hazard and can attract wild animals. Bring a chew toy instead.
Additionally, if you’re unsure about the quality of the water at the site, buy enough water bottles to last you throughout the trip.
8. Waste Bags
It’s easy to forget about waste bags when getting packing for a trip, but you have to respect the site and the people in it by picking up after your dog.
Honestly, the only time I would use this product is on camping and similar outings as they’re smaller then produce bags and easier to carry around. I prefer to use simple poop bags and skip the scented kind.
9. Dog Coat
While it’s cold, a coat or a sweater is needed to protect your dog from hypothermia, especially if he has a short or thin hair.
Any insulated coat will do the job. This dog jacket is also reflective, so it will help you keep an eye on your dog, even in low-light environments like campsites at night.
10. Microfibre Towels
Your dog needs his own towel in case he decided to go for a swim or show up with muddy paws. Microfibre towels are super lightweight and they dry much faster than a usual towel.
Find towels that come in multiple sizes for you and your dog, some are even shipped in a little bag. Definitely recommended for camping trips.
11. Dog Booties
You need to protect your dog paws, whether it be from sharp thorns, sandburs, or rocky ground. But not all dog boots will do well in the woods, especially if it’s raining and there’s mud everywhere.
You want to look for dog shoes that will be comfortable, but also functional, and durable. These rugged boots are water resistant and will stay on the whole time, providing your dog with good paw protection and grip.
Let your dog try his shoes on and get used to them before the trip.
12. Bonus: Wireless Fence System
While not a must, a wireless dog fence is a nice addition to your camping trip as this will keep your dog nearby instead of wandering around the campsite and potentially chasing after other animals or not finding the way back to camp.
Plus, these fences are highly portable and takes just about an hour or so to set up.