Camping is more fun if it’s furry - that is, if you bring your dog along! Dogs love the great outdoors just as much as you do, maybe even more, so why not bring them along on a camping trip? You don’t want to forget anything essential, so we’ve created a checklist of all of the things you should bring or consider to keep your dog safe while you are adventuring in the wilderness together.
While camping is usually fun and relaxing, it's best to be prepared for unexpected situations. Bookmark this infographic so that you’re ready for your next camping trip.
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Food & Accessories
You’ll want to bring along more than just your dog’s food. But that’s an important one not to forget.
Always bring more than you think you’ll need, and pre-portion in Ziploc bags or containers for ease or bring along a measuring cup for on-the-go portioning. Make sure your containers are airtight for pest control and to prevent food spoilage. Remember, if your pet is going to be hiking or doing more activity, he may need a little more food.
Pro Tip: Freeze-Dried dog food is an excellent option for camping and hiking because it is light, healthy, nutrient dense, and tasty! All you have to do is add water.
To keep your dog busy while you’re sitting around the campfire, get a long-lasting treat such as bully sticks or elk antlers. Frozen raw bones are also excellent choices, if you have some refrigeration or a cooler available. For more ideas, here are some ideas to keep your dog busy.
Fresh, Clean Water
It is very important to keep your dog hydrated, so bring plenty if it’s not going to be available at your campsite.
No spills or wasting water with a handy portable dog bowl. Bring it camping, in the car, for day trips, and even for longer walks. Don't let your pet drink from standing water, lakes, ponds, or streams that could be riddled with bacteria.
Camping with dogs is fun, but many outdoor activities have their risks too. Be prepared for any situation with these hiking essentials.
Don’t forget his leash at home! Actually, it’s a good idea to stash an extra leash in the car too, just in case one breaks or you find yourself in need of a spare. You won’t want to be without one. Hands-free leashes can be used for jogging or biking, but it’s also a handy leash to have if you are walking. Keep your hands free to explore, use walking poles, or whatever you like with this useful belt leash.
Safety Tip: Keeping your dog on a leash is highly recommended if you are hiking or camping in bear or cougar country. Dog's can behave unpredictably, and can encourage aggressive behaviour. Some people like to let their dogs roam in the great outdoors, but we don't recommend it for safety reasons.
Collar with ID Tags
Always make sure your dog is fitted with an appropriate-sized collar and that his collar has up-to-date ID tags. With an engraveable ID tag, you can customize the information you include. Staying out of town for a few weeks or headed to the cabin? Get a separate tag made with your vacation info on it.
Harnesses make for walking that is both more comfortable and safe for your pet. Choose a harness that fits your pet well and doesn’t allow for pulling, if it’s a problem for your pet. An excellent no pull harness for pulling dogs will definitely make the treks more enjoyable. There are many solutions, but we recommend the front clip harness options.
Have your dog pull her own weight with a hiking trail pack. Your dog can carry her own treats and water so that you don’t have to, or you can simply give your energetic dog more of a workout.
Bear Bells can help warn wildlife and other people that you and your dog are around. One of the best ways to avoid a bear attack is to prevent surprising them. While bear bells may helpful aid, they aren’t completely foolproof. Make sure you check for announcements on bear activity before camping or hiking, make extra noise around places bears like to frequent, and travel during daylight hours to prevent an encounter. You can check out more bear safety tips here.
Safety lights clip onto your dog’s leash so that he can remain visible at night, which can come in handy for passing vehicles to see your dog or for you to find him if he happens to get loose.
Be a responsible camper and hiker with your dog. Just because you’re in the wild, doesn’t mean you should let your duties slide. Keep poop bags on hand to pick up what your dog leaves behind so that other campers or hikers don’t have to see or smell it.
It’s probably going to be hot during the day at your campsite. Dog cooling vests, can help keep your pet cool for hours, so they are excellent for the campground or while on a hike. Remember not to exercise your dog too much in the heat of the day (from 11AM-4PM) and choose a campsite with shade or make your own with a shade tent or umbrella.
Taking your bike? With a bike leash attachment, you don’t need to keep a hand holding onto your dog’s leash. These attachments mount on and off of your bike, and it makes biking with your dog completely hands free.
If you’ll be canoeing, kayaking, paddle-boarding, or boating with your dog, you’ll want to get her a dog life jacket for safety.
At the Campsite
All the hard stuff is out of the way now, so let's make sure your dog can enjoy the rest and relaxation that comes with camping. Here's some of the best gear for making sure your pup is comfortable and safe at the camp site.
Bed or Sleeping Bag
Your dog will need a bed or dog sleeping bag for comfort at the campsite, and if she’s used to being inside, she’ll probably need a blanket for warmth, too. Make sure both are machine-washable and made out of a durable material.
Tie-Out Stakes are absolutely necessary for your dog if you want him to be able to enjoy the outdoors while you're out camping. Many campsites are for on-leash pets only. Get a good quality stake, particularly if your dog is a strong-puller. This is one purchase where a better quality product can make a big difference. Also choose a cable that is designed to withstand your pet’s weight and pulling instead of just going with your pet’s leash. For smaller dogs or puppies, an exercise pen can provide some off-leash entertainment. Just make sure you always supervise, in case your dog tries to climb or jump out.
Crate or Kennel
You’ll want to bring a crate or kennel along for your dog to sleep in or for when you need to keep him safely contained (and a blanket to cover at night). If you are bringing a metal crate, make sure you place it in the shade for your pet’s comfort – those metal bars can get really hot!
Coat or Sweater
Just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse, you may want to pack along a coat or sweater for your dog, particularly if she’s sensitive to cold weather. You may also want to pack a raincoat in case it rains.
For quick-drying off after swimming or if it rains. Your dog probably doesn’t mind shaking it off the natural way, but you probably want to keep the camper or the tent clean and dry. The Dirty Dog Shammy is a highly absorbent towel that can quickly dry your dog off.
There are so many fun toys to enjoy at the campsite – Kong Classic and Flyer, Nerf Toys, Rubber Toys, and Chuckit! Ball Launcher to name a few. Check out this list of our 25 Best Outdoor Dog Toys for Summer for more ideas.
Pet First Aid & Safety
Pet First Aid Kit
Purchase a pet first aid kit for your trip. This will make sure you are prepared for minor injuries, like scrapes and bug bites. Cleaning and disinfecting a wound can prevent an injury from worsening or a cut from getting infected until you get back to civilization.
To prevent your dog from bug bites and the diseases that may come with them, use a pet-friendly insect repellent. Never use DEET products on pets.
Flea & Tick Protection
You’ll want to make sure your pet is protected against fleas and ticks, particularly if you are going out camping, hiking, or into areas with long grasses or brush.
While de-wormers may not be necessary while you are away camping, you’ll want to keep a close watch on your pet once you get home. Pets can be in contact with other pets and wildlife, and the excrement of both, where your pet could pick up worms. Pay special attention if your pet consumed any prey while he was out. Different types of worms have different symptoms: you can find most of them here.
Does your pet have anxiety issues? You will want to bring along something to help keep your anxious dog feeling calm and relaxed, as anxiety can be worse in new places. The Thundershirt is an effective anxiety solution that uses gentle pressure, not sedatives or other drugs, to calm your pet.
You should always bring a copy of your pet’s vet records when you travel with your pet, especially if you are crossing provincial or country borders. You never know when you might need them.
If you’re going to be traveling in rough terrain, you might want to bring your pet’s trail boots. If you choose not to use boots, pay close attention to the condition of your dog's paws. Paw balms or waxes can help soothe rough or cracked foot pads after hikes or camping trips.
Did you know dogs can get sunburnt, too? The areas around the muzzle, ears, and belly are most prone to sunburns, and hairless, white or light-colour coated breeds are particularly susceptible. Also be careful with pets that have very thin coats, such as Greyhounds.
Our sunscreen is not safe to use on dogs, so it's best to limit your dog's sun exposure instead. Try to find shaded paths or set-up a covered area for your dog to hang out in during the day.
Regular Supplements or Medication
Make sure you keep your pet on their regular supplements or medication for their continued comfort and relief. Pet supplements for hip and joint issues, arthritis, and seasonal allergies are especially important to keep up with as these conditions can be worse when your pet is spending more time outdoors.
Ear Powder/Ear Cleanse
If your pet is going to be doing any swimming, you’ll want to make sure you bring along some ear cleaner or powder, especially if your dog has floppy ears. It’s also a good thing to clean your pet’s ears after getting home from camping. It’s amazing what can accumulate in your pet’s ears after only a few days outdoors!
A hot spot or anti-itch spray, can provide relief from minor skin irritations, bug bites, and allergic skin dermatitis that might affect your pet when out hiking or camping.
Odour Control and Cleaning
Your pet is likely to get dirty while out camping or hiking. While you may not want to bring your dog’s shampoo with you, it’s a good idea to bring pet wipes for cleaning quick messes off of your pet’s coat safely and effectively.
Now you should be set to go camping with your dog! Check out 40 Tips for Hiking or Camping With Dogs for some handy tips for your trip.
Have anything else to add to our list? What do YOU always bring when camping with your dog?
Posted by Amy Dyck