Camping in nature with your furry best friend is an unbeatable experience! Bringing your dog along on your trip is the best way to connect with nature and spend quality time with your pooch.
Preparing to head off into the wilderness with your dog can be challenging and time-consuming. There are many more considerations when camping with your pet, compared to camping with another human.
No matter where you choose to go for your outing with your four-legged friend, this dog camping essentials guide has you covered.
Research Pet-Friendly Campsites
A vital part of camping with your dog is finding a campground that allows pets. Many campgrounds do not allow dogs or other pets to accompany their owners, but there are also plenty that does allow you to bring your four-legged best friend.
Be sure to research campground regulations near you to find out if bringing your dog is allowed. Many parks, national and local, allow dogs, but there are rules and regulations. These rules and regulations keep everyone safe, so they must be adhered to at all times when camping with your dog.
Also, be respectful of other campers when camping with your dog, making sure that he/she is not becoming a nuisance to your campground neighbors.
Essential Dog Camping Supplies and Gear
For a camping trip with your dog, you will need to pack pet-specific supplies and gear.
Preparing for this trip may be a little more difficult than preparing to bring along another person, considering the preparation time and effort to get your supplies ready for yourself and your dog.
For the most part, your pet will need the same things on a camping trip that he/she needs at home—food, water, affection, and entertainment. Let’s go over the camping essentials you will need, including gear and supplies, for camping with your dog.
Your pet’s comfort and ability to sleep will be impacted by the gear you bring along. For this reason, it is best to pack extra sleeping gear for your pooch. You don’t want to disrupt his/her routine too much, or it might be detrimental to their behavior at the campground.
A tarp is a great item to bring along on your camping trip. It keeps your tent floor clean from sand, mud, or water that may be on your dog when you enter the tent.
If it’s rainy outside, it’ll keep the floor of the tent from becoming uncomfortably damp and dirty. Laying a tarp keeps you and your dog warmer during your stay in a tent, because it provides an extra layer of insulation to the floor, and it keeps the floor from getting wet, in turn keeping you dry.
A sleeping pad for your dog is important when you are camping in cooler temperatures. It provides extra insulation and cushion from the cold, hard ground. Dogs may have fur, but that will only keep them so warm during winter temperatures.
Dog Bed/Sleeping Bag
When looking for a sleeping bag for your dog, the most important things to consider are the size, whether it’s easy to clean, and water resistance.
A sleeping bag for your furry best friend should be waterproof, easy to clean, easy to store and carry, and the right size for your dog.
When camping in the winter, it is vital to bring along an insulated sleeping bag for your dog to keep warm at night.
If the temperatures are rather warm at your campsite, your dog can simply sleep on top of the sleeping bag instead of beneath the covers.
When planning out how much dog food to bring on your camping trip, you should figure it up the same way you would for yourself. More activity equals more calories.
Your dog will be walking and exploring more than normal, so it’s vital to compensate with the proper calories.
Don’t give your dog any new food or treats before a planned camping trip. It may upset their stomach, and then the trip wouldn’t be very much fun at all. Changing a pet’s food can also impact its behavior.
Pack an extra day’s food into your dog camping essentials, just in case of emergencies. You can measure your dog’s daily intake and add calories appropriately depending on the projected activity level. Be sure to compensate for the extra calories needed when active.
Bring along treats that you would normally feed your pet. They can easily be stored in a ziplock bag.
If you are camping in bear country, it is very important to remember to use containers for food so that bears cannot smell or get to it.
Treating your dog’s water the same way you treat your own water is necessary to prevent waterborne viruses or diseases like leptospirosis. Allowing your pet to drink from streams, ponds, or lakes increases its chances of contracting a waterborne illness.
Purified water is an essential dog camping item that can be packed ahead of time. Most campgrounds have water availability, but it’s best to always verify with the campground to make sure, before heading out with your pet.
Collapsible bowls for food and water are dog camping essentials. They are compact and collapsable, so they won’t take up much room in your pack and give your pet a clean surface for food and water.
Keeping your pet safe is crucial when taking them to a campsite. They will come into contact with other pets, unfamiliar people, and unfamiliar locations. Ensuring their safety is an essential part of camping with your dog.
Bring along an extra collar just in case your dog somehow breaks his or gets it off somehow. You should also bring along a couple of different-sized leashes—a short one for hiking and a longer one for securing your pet to your campsite.
While it is not a necessity, it could be useful to pack extra stakes, which can be used as a leash anchor if needed.
I.D. Tags/Tracking Device
Before trekking off into the wilds, make sure your dog’s I.D. tag has accurate and legible contact information, so you can easily be contacted if your dog happens to get loose and takes off. For this reason, you should make sure your pet is microchipped if you plan to take them on a camping expedition.
Whether your pet is microchipped or not, a pet tracking device could still help locate your precious furry friend if they happen to run off into the woods.
Another way to ensure the security of your pet is to place a temporary I.D. tag on them with information for the location of your campsite and your specific campsite number. If your dog gets lost, this temporary tag will help locate you and reunite you with your furbaby.
Backpack for Dogs
Why carry everything in your pack when you could outfit your dog with a backpack of his own? A doggie backpack can be considered a dog camping essential item, especially when you have already crammed your own pack full of supplies and gear.
You mustn’t overload this backpack. You should ease him/her into the backpacking process, rather than just winging it.
A containment system of some type is essential to camping with dogs, even with the most well-behaved pets.
If your dog is known to bark when on a tie-out or harness system, a collapsible crate can keep them safe while you sleep. Both are great choices for keeping your pet from chasing after any critters in the middle of the night.
A pet first-aid kit contains many of the same items as your first-aid kit, like antiseptic and bandages.
These usually include a pet first-aid manual that can instruct you on how to properly care for any wounds your dog may suffer. This kit will also contain a splinter picker, self-adhering bandages that won’t stick to fur, and an emergency blanket in case of hypothermia.
When frigid temperatures are forecast, outerwear is a dog camping essential. Your dog should have a layer of protective clothing for warmth if freezing temperatures are expected.
If you are in a snowy climate, or expecting rain, a waterproof dog jacket is a must! For a dry, but windy and cold environment, a wind-proof fleece dog jacket should be substantial.
Cleaning up after your dog is good camping etiquette. Keeping your pet clean is just as important.
Waste Bags and Shovel
It is important to leave the campsite and the area around it the way you found it. This means removing your pet’s waste.
Kits to make this job easier are readily available online and contain everything you need for cleaning up after your dog, including waste bags with a bag holder, and a pooper scooper.
Another dog camping essential is a few towels. Especially if you are camping near a water source where your dog may take a dip. Having extra towels will come in handy when it’s time to head back inside the tent.
Considering Other Campers
Considering other campers when camping with your dog is important, so it is probably best not to bring your dog along with you if they bark excessively or become aggressive around strangers. In instances such as these, campsite officials may ask you to go elsewhere.
New places, people, and other animals can be overwhelming for your dog, so we recommend a few practice runs before taking on the challenge.
Wrapping up Our List of Dog Camping Essentials
The only thing better than spending a weekend camping in nature is bringing your dog along for the trip!
Are you interested in taking your dog camping with you? Check out this guide to camping with dogs on our website!
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Brittany Tedford is a post-apocalyptic fiction author, an aspiring English teacher, and a writer for Apple Pie Media.
She currently lives in a small town in Northern Mississippi with her two children Anna and Eli, and her two cats Salem and Leo.
With a bachelor’s in Creative Writing and English and a master’s in the same discipline, Brittany is passionate about learning how to live off the land for camping trips, which is why she loves writing for Beyond The Tent. From the best camping gear to camping survival tips and tricks, to finding the perfect campground, there is so much information to share with others!
Brittany can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org