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Camping With Pets: How to Have Fun and Bond With Your Pet

Are you thinking about camping with pets on your next outdoor adventure? Bringing along your dog or cat can be a fun bonding experience.

However, when bringing Fido or Miss Kitty to the wilderness with you, you have plenty to consider, such as how to keep your furry friend entertained, safe, and clean.

You might even be having doubts about whether or not your furry friend should come along. We’ll help you decide that, too.

Continue reading for tips, tricks, and suggestions on how to make the most out of your camping with pets experience!

Two dogs in a tent. Camping with pets can be a great experience if you do you research and prepare.

Should My Cat or Dog Go Camping?

If you’re considering bringing your pet camping with you for the first time, you might wonder: Should my furry friend camp with me?

Maybe you’d love to bond with Fido or Miss Kitty in the wilderness, but you’re worried about all the mischief they might stir up. Or, maybe you’re more concerned about whether they would enjoy camping.

A cat lying in a camping chair.

The second concern is what you want to focus on when deciding if you should be camping with pets; we’ll help guide you through the first fear.

The biggest question you should ask yourself is: What does your pet’s personality tell you about their feelings about camping and adventure?

Is your pet excited to greet people at the door, or do they run and hide? Have you ever brought them to a friend or family member’s house? If not, this is an excellent way to gauge how your cat or dog may react to a new environment.

If your furry friend is terrified in new environments and around new people, camping might not be for them. However, you might have a new camping buddy if they’re excited or at least indifferent.

A dog lying down in the doorway of a tent.

Camping with pets is typically more manageable with younger cats and dogs because they adjust faster to first-time adventures.

Like people, animals become set in their ways as they age, and a senior cat or dog probably isn’t going to appreciate being taken out of their comfort zone.

In comparison, a curious puppy or kitten loves exploring, which is what makes young animals ideal for the best experience camping with pets.

Choosing a Pet-Friendly Location

A dog and owner camping at a beach.

When camping with pets, you’ll first want to find out the animal policy of the campground where you plan to go camping and the policies of surrounding areas, such as beaches, parks, and restaurants.

While cats may be content to hang out in a locked, air-conditioned RV while you hit the beach, most dogs will not be comfortable alone in a strange place—besides, the whole point of this trip is to bond with your pal.

A small dog in an RV.

Choose your location based on your pal’s personality. Consider the following:

  • Is your furry friend scared of loud noises? Choose a quiet campground or wilderness setting away from crowds.
  • Is your pet an introvert or an extrovert? Introverted cats and dogs may not want to be around other animals, so avoid busy campgrounds.
  • Extroverted pets may prefer a busy campground with plenty of new friends to meet.
  • Is Fido or Miss Kitty scared of fireworks? Avoid camping with pets on the Fourth of July or other significant holidays.

Tents for Furry Family Members

Dogs love having a safe play area, and some cats will appreciate it too. You’ll find the perfect pet tent for your furry friend in all shapes and sizes.

Consider getting an extra large tent to put your picnic table or camping furniture inside, allowing you to bond while camping with pets in a shaded and pest-free environment.

If you’re RV camping with pets, bring along a tent to set up. Consider packing a second tent for your pet if you’re tent camping.

Take a look at some of these tent ideas:

If you’re RV camping with pets, introverted cats may be more comfortable staying there, which is perfectly fine.

A cat resing in an RV.

Just make sure your RV has air conditioning and that you keep it on. You’ll also need to ensure your introverted cats have access to windows to observe the outdoors at their leisure.

Bring Fun Toys

Entertain your pet by bringing plenty of fun toys to make their camping experience more delightful. Think about the toys your furry friend prefers.

Does Fido love balls and frisbees? Bring plenty of his favorite toys, or buy some new ones for the trip to ensure your pal’s favorite toy doesn’t get lost or damaged in the wilderness.

Here are some more toy ideas we love and think your furry friends will too:

You can also take advantage of nature by picking up a nice sturdy stick on a hiking trail. Just be cautious of toys that could endanger your furry friend—some dogs love eating rocks and other hazardous natural elements.

Meanwhile, Miss Kitty may be more entertained by a fly or a spider than any other toy you could pack. If your cat seems bored, let a bug in your camper or tent and cross your fingers that she catches it quickly.

Pack a Comfy Bed

A cat in a tent.

Ask yourself where your pet will be sleeping. If your pet usually sleeps with you at home, then plan to have them cuddled up in your bed or sleeping bag. Bring a special, comfy bed if your furry family member sleeps alone.

Cats and some dogs may prefer sleeping in a box with a blanket, but we’ve found some comfier pet bed ideas for your spoiled furry family members:

Keep Your Furry Pal Clean

Bathing a golden retriever dog.

While cats self-groom, man’s best friend will likely need daily baths or showers. However, Miss Kitty can still get into mischief, especially if she’s a long-haired princess. It’s always a good idea to come prepared with both cat shampoo and dog shampoo.

Do yourself a favor and buy a portable pet shower for spraying down Fido and Miss Kitty easily. You can also bring a portable pet grooming station if your furry friend loves baths.

Don’t forget to bring a towel to dry them off with after you’re done bathing.

Bring some nail trimmers to keep their nails well-managed to prevent them from getting stuck in the elements.

Keep Your Furry Friend Safe

When camping with pets, buy your furry friend a light-up collar with GPS tracking, so they’re easy to track if they run off.

Your pet should also be microchipped, but please remember that microchips cannot be GPS tracked and rely on someone finding your pet to bring your cat or dog home.

If your furry friend was microchipped in the past, call the original microchipping company to double-check that your contact information is up-to-date in case your pet is lost and someone finds them.

Also, place your pet’s most recent identification tags on their collar. Cats should also wear a collar while camping.

A brown and white dog on a hike in the woods.

Before camping with pets, check that your furry friend is up to date on all shots and has received their most recent dose of flea, tick, and heartworm preventative.

Bring along a spiral pet anchor for Fido, which makes tying up your dog simple and stress-free.

Smaller dogs and cats may prefer for you to transport them in a small pet backpack, which is ideal for hiking with cats and small dogs.

Keep all animals secure with seat belt pet restraints while driving an RV or other motor vehicles for your safety and theirs.

While camping with pets, you should always pack their most recent vet records. You’ll want to prove they have their rabies vaccine in case of an unfortunate bite—even the most docile cat or dog can bite in a stressful situation.

Bring along a pet first aid kit in case of emergencies. You’ll want to be able to check your pet’s temperature if they’re acting unwell or bandage up cuts if your pet gets injured on a hike.

Two dogs lying down next to a campfire.

Bring along plenty of drinking water for your pets, as well as their favorite food. Remember to limit human food snacks, as too much human food can cause indigestion in animals.

Also, be mindful of what your furry friend eats while camping to avoid poisonous encounters.

Etiquette While Camping with Pets

Proper etiquette while camping with pets is essential!

Avoid leaving your pet alone, especially in a hot vehicle, even for short periods–both dogs and cats can get very frightened in strange locations if left unattended.

Hot vehicles are deadly to both cats and dogs, having the ability to reach 104 degrees on a 70-degree Fahrenheit sunny day in just a half hour.

A cat in a hiking backpack.

Always keep your pet on a leash for the safety of other campers as well as the safety of your pet. Some parks have a six feet leash policy, so be mindful of this rule.

Be aware of your dog’s barking if camping around others—if you have a barker, choose a more remote camping area.

To prevent the spread of disease and being an annoyance to fellow campers, always clean up pet waste.

The Perfect Family Bonding Opportunity!

A dog wrapped in a blanket next to a campfire.

Camping with pets can be a fun bonding experience for single campers or entire families. After all, pets are part of the family too!

Looking for more information on how to make your next camping trip easier? Check out the Camping page on our website for lots of guides and blog posts.