Camping With A Dog: Safety & Planning Tips

Camping With A Dog: Safety & Planning Tips

Camping with dogs can be a wonderful experience for both you and your furry companion. However, it's natural for pet owners to have questions and concerns about bringing their dog along on outdoor adventures. 

If you’re planning a camping adventure, we’re here to help! We’ve put together some helpful tips for camping with a dog to get you started on the right foot.

Choose Dog-Friendly Lodging

Dog and owner curl up in tent while campfire glows

Camping with your dog requires some research. Start by finding dog-friendly campsites, cabins, campers, or vacation rentals.

Read reviews to see what other pet owners had to say about their visit. You can also contact the host or property manager to ask specific questions regarding breeds and other restrictions.

Research nearby trails, beaches, and parks to make sure they allow you to bring your dog as well. Otherwise, your activities may be limited.

Check Local Regulations and Leash Laws

Beyond your campground or rental’s rules, familiarize yourself with local animal regulations and leash laws if you plan to explore the area. Don’t assume they’re what you’re used to at home.

Rules can vary by property, and some state parks and national parks have their own guidelines. If you can’t find information easily online, call and speak to a representative so you know what to expect.

Plan a Pet-Friendly Itinerary

Camping with a dog means you have much less flexibility with where and when you go places. Planning ahead and scheduling time for breaks ensures both you, your pet, and anyone else you’re camping with has an enjoyable time. 

  • Look for trails and activities that are suitable for your dog’s age, fitness level, and health concerns. 
  • Be mindful of spending too much time in hot weather that can cause your dog to overheat.
  • Make sure your pet has consistent access to water when spending time outdoors. 
  • Schedule time for breaks for your dog to sleep and recuperate.  
  • If you’re car camping, be sure to schedule stops for your dog to stretch, run, and potty. 

For safety reasons, you should never leave your dog alone in a hot car, camper, or at an unfamiliar campsite. Temperatures can quickly rise, leading to devastating results.

Dog lays on bed in car looking out the open back window

Pack All Your Pet’s Essentials

Make sure you have all your dog’s favorite things to keep them comfortable and safe during your camping trip. We’ve put together a basic packing list to help get you started. 

  • Dog food
  • Treats
  • Portable food and water bowls (so you can take them on trails, boats, beaches, etc.) 
  • Extra water supply (in case the campsite doesn’t have water access)
  • Leash and collar (with proper identification tags)
  • Reflective or LED options for night visibility
  • Crate with bed, blanket, or mat for comfort
  • Waste management supplies (waste bags and gloves) 
  • Pet first aid kit 
  • Flea and tick prevention
  • Favorite toys or chew items
  • Weather-appropriate clothing and paw protection for extreme temperatures
  • Towel and/or wipes for paws and fur after swimming, hiking, etc. 
  • Eco-friendly pet shampoo and conditioner 
  • Brush or comb

Be sure you have a copy of your dog's medical and vaccination records handy too. They’ll be useful in case of an emergency. Some parks and campgrounds require this documentation. 

Keep in mind that every dog is different, so adjust your packing list according to your pup’s specific needs. For example, puppies and small dogs may do better with a backpack carrier than a leash on hiking trails. If you plan to spend time on a boat, canoe, or paddleboard, consider a dog life jacket for your furry friend.

Man carries puppy in backpack on hike through mountainous area

Be Mindful of Other Guests

Respect nature and fellow campers by practicing good outdoor etiquette with your dog. 

  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times (except in designated off-leash areas).
  • Prevent excessive barking or whining, especially outside of campground quiet hours. 
  • Clean up after your dog promptly, even in wooded or natural areas.
  • Maintain a safe distance from other pets, humans, and wild animals.

Even if your dog is well-trained, it’s still an animal. You never know how your furry friend will react in unfamiliar areas or emergency circumstances.

Stick to a Consistent Diet

Sudden changes in diet can disrupt your dog's digestive system, leading to gastrointestinal upset. Pack enough of their regular food to last the entire camping trip and avoid introducing new foods.

While it can be tempting to give them hot dogs, brats, and other scraps around the campfire, you don’t want your dog dealing with stomach issues on your trip. Stick to their normal feeding time and routine.

Certain human foods, like chocolate, Xylitol, and some spices, are also toxic to animals, so keep your coolers and food packs away from your furry friend.

Avoid Environmental Contaminants and Hazards

Keep an eye out for environmental factors that could affect your dog's gut health. Avoid trash, stagnant water sources, and potentially harmful plants. Your pet could easily swallow something that causes digestive issues — or worse.

Before you go, spend some time training and brushing up on common commands. Common words “stay” and “leave it” or “drop it” will help minimize the chance they’ll get into or swallow something they shouldn’t.

Consider a Pet Health Supplement

The change in environment, travel stress, and exposure to potential infections or illnesses during a camping trip can disrupt your dog's digestive system. 

Probiotics and supplements contain beneficial bacteria that help restore and maintain a healthy balance of gut flora. This can aid in digestion, improve nutrient absorption, and reduce the risk of gastrointestinal upset, such as diarrhea or constipation. But they don’t always do enough. Sometimes, artificial ingredients and additives can even cause side effects for pets. 

You can go beyond probiotics with Maya Pet. Based on ancient wisdom, Maya Pet’s targeted Smart Strains™ of good bacteria are specifically chosen to help boost your dog’s immune system and improve gut health.  

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