Going camping is a relaxing, peaceful activity that anyone can enjoy. It’s an experience that you’ll enjoy even more if you bring along your best friend and, for many people, their best friend is their dog.
You don’t want to plan to keep your dog at a kennel or have a friend watch him while you’re out enjoying an outdoor adventure. Your dog doesn’t want you to go without him! So why not bring him along?
Camping With A Dog In A Tent can make your adventure even more fun. Your dog will provide you with company and excitement during the days, and an added sense of security and comfort at night.
You get to spend some quality time with your companion while exploring the great outdoors!
Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to camp with a dog in a tent successfully.
Every seasoned camper is familiar with the preparation stage. You gather all your gear, fill your pack and your car, decide on the best campsite, and double-check that you have everything you need for a great camping trip.
Bringing along your dog adds an extra layer to the preparation stage. You’ll need to bring along extra water, dog food, and other accessories to keep your dog happy and healthy.
Here are some tips for what you should do to prepare your dog for a camping trip.
Your dog's health is important and you need to make sure that he’s able to handle a camping trip.
Bringing your dog to the vet for a check-up will allow you to be confident that he’s up to date on all of his shots and vaccinations, and that there are no pressing physical issues going on that would prevent him from enjoying a couple of nights out in the wilderness.
Your vet will go over your dog’s records and advise you on whether your dog can handle a camping trip. Older dogs may have arthritis or other issues that prevent them from running around for long periods of time.
Making sure your dog’s health is in a good place before you set out is the best way to make sure your companion enjoys the camping trip as much as you do.
2. Introduce The Tent
Maybe you’ve brought your dog camping before, but you’ll be using a different tent this time. Maybe your dog has never spent a night inside a tent with you before.
It’s important to give your dog a chance to experience what it’s like to spend time inside of a tent before you get to your campsite.
This will help reduce your and your dogs' anxiety over being in a new situation. The last thing you want is to get all set up at your campsite only to have your dog refuse to get in the tent!
A good way to introduce your dog to the tent you’ll be using and practice spending time in it is to set it up for a day before you go out. You can do this in your backyard or even in your living room.
Get the tent set up and tell your dog about how much fun the two of you are going to have. Be excited! Your dog can sense your emotions and will respond in kind.
Spend a night inside the tent with your dog either in your backyard or living room, so he gets used to the experience before you set out. This way you have some time to teach your dog not to use the bathroom in the tent and not to scratch or dig at it.
3. Find the Right Campsite
Before you head out, you’ll need to find the perfect campsite for you and your best friend. Not all campsites are dog friendly, so make sure you research one that allows dogs.
Most campsites will require you to pick up after your pet so you’ll want to bring along pet waste bags as well. Different campsites will have different rules about leashes as well so do your research before you arrive!
You’ll also want to look for a campsite that has plenty of space between sites. Your dog will want to play and run around as they would naturally when out in nature.
You don’t want to be squished in between other campers because it could overexcite or make your pup nervous.
best tents for camping with dogs
When it comes to camping with a dog in a tent, choosing the right tent can be tricky. You want something made of a durable material that can handle the weather and a rambunctious pup.
Here are some of the best tents on the market that can accommodate you and your best friend.
Coleman Dome Tent with Screen Room
Coleman Dome Tent with Screen Room- This 6-person tent is perfect for you and your dog. It has plenty of room to accommodate you both and can easily fit your sleeping bag and your dog’s bed.
It’s made of a tough, weatherproof material that will keep you both protected all night long.
This tent also comes with a large screen room that will provide plenty of ventilation during warm summer nights while keeping those pesky bugs away.
MountainSmith Morrison 2-Person
MountainSmith Morrison 2-Person Tent- While this tent is smaller than the previous option, it still has enough room for you and your dog if your tent is mostly going to be used just for sleeping.
It’s great for dogs who love to curl up with their owners at night and the strong polyester material is guaranteed to hold up against strong winds and rains.
Wenzel Klondike 8-Person Tent
Wenzel Klondike 8-Person Tent- If you’re going to be spending some time during the day inside your tent with your dog, then this could be the tent for you!
It’s spacious enough to fit 8 people and comes with a separate screen room where you and your pup can sit out of the sun and still enjoy the sights.
The large screen room provides plenty of fresh air and ventilation for warm days, and the sleeping area has a couple of mesh windows as well.
Also Read: Best Dog Backpack Carrier For Hiking
Finding the right tent is just the first step. Once you’ve chosen a great tent, it’s time to think about sleeping arrangements.
A good rule of thumb is to stick to what your dog knows. If they usually sleep with you at night, then you should plan to continue that during your camping trip.
In that case, you may want to ditch the traditional sleeping bag and bring along a mattress or sleeping pad instead. You’ll want something you can set up easily that will fit both you and your dog.
You also want to get something made of a strong material that won't pop easily because dogs' nails are incredibly tough!
If your dog usually sleeps in a dog bed, then bring it along! Make sure your dog’s bed has a washable cover because they’ll likely be dragging a lot of dirt and debris onto it during your camping trip.
"Make sure you pick a larger tent if you need room for a large dog bed."
best dog food for backpacking
Camping with your best friend takes a little work. You’ll need to bring along plenty of food and water for your dog, and that’s going to add a lot of weight to your pack.
It’s best to pick a campsite that you can drive up to or one that only takes a short walk to get to.
Here’s a complete guide on some of the best food for dogs while backpacking. You basically have 3 choices for dog food you can bring along camping.
You may choose to bring a combination of all three or stick to what you’d normally give your dog at home.
Regardless of what you choose, make sure you’re bringing enough to keep your friend happy and healthy for your entire trip.
It also never hurts to bring some treats along, even if you rarely give them to your dog. It can help settle them down if they get over-excited and distracted.
1. Dry Food
There’s more to dry dog food than just traditional Kibble. Some brands are advertised specifically for dogs that are experiencing a high level of physical activity like they might while camping with you.
"Look for food that’s high in protein and healthy fats for your friend."
Keep in mind that a big bag of dry food is going to be heavy and take up a bit of space. These bags aren’t always resealable as well so, if you’re worried about their food being exposed to moisture, then bring along an air-tight container to keep their bag or food in.
2. Wet Food
Most dogs love wet food and will happily eat it all day, every day. Wet food is great for keeping their skin and fur extra healthy, and it helps keep them hydrated too! Several cans of wet food will take up less space than dry food, but it might be heavier.
Do your research before you pack so you know you can handle the weight of your pack before you leave. Another thing to keep in mind with wet food is that it’s very messy.
If your dog doesn’t finish all the food in their bowl, then you’re going to have to take time out to wash their bowl thoroughly before offering them more food.
Who doesn’t love a delightful treat while sitting around a campfire? For people that treat is likely to be some roasted marshmallows or s’mores.
For your dog, that could be jerky or soft treats that are guaranteed to make them happy and give them an extra boost of energy.
Treats are also great for training and keeping your dogs' behavior acceptable. If your dog is very food motivated, then bringing along some treats can help keep them well-behaved during a long camping trip.
Dog Food and Water Bowls
You may have the perfect setup for your best friend at home, but when you go camping, you’re probably going to want to bring along something different. There is plenty of high-quality, collapsible food and water bowls for dogs that are great for camping.
These SLSON Collapsible Dog Bowls are an excellent choice to bring on your next camping trip. They’re made of tough silicone that won’t be damaged by your pet’s teeth and are super easy to clean.
You can collapse them so they fit easily in your pack, and they come with carabiners attached. You can clip them to your pack or even your belt loop for easy carrying.
Depending on where you’re hiking, you may want to invest in a good sweater for your dog. Even in the summer, temperatures can drop at night in certain areas.
A general rule of thumb to remember is that if you’re shivering, then your dog is going to be chilly too.
Whether your dog will need a sweater largely depends on its size and breed. Dogs with thicker fur, such as Huskies and Malamutes, are going to stay warm even in cold temperatures.
But dogs with short hair, such as Pitbulls and Greyhounds, are likely to need some extra warmth during long, chilly nights.
This Gooby Fleece Vest is a great sweater that will keep your best friend warm when the temperatures drop. It’s inexpensive and made of 100% polyester. This type of material helps to keep rain and moisture off your dog and keep their body heat in.
It has a solid leash attachment on the back, so if you need to leave your tent in the middle of the night to let your dog do his business, you don’t have to worry about removing their sweater.
Camping With A Dog: Safety Tips
Camping with your dog in a tent may come with some challenges, but it will be an amazing and rewarding experience.
The quality time you’ll get to spend together will strengthen your bond and make the adventure that much more fun for you both!
The last thing you want is for your dog to get injured while you’re camping together, so it’s important to make safety your number one priority.
Here are some tips to Stay Safe while camping with a dog in a tent.
It can’t be stressed enough how important it is to keep your pup leashed, especially when they’re in an area that they’re unfamiliar with.
Keeping your dog on a leash will prevent them from chasing after any dangerous wildlife you may encounter, such as snakes or even bears.
It may seem like you’re taking some of the fun out of the adventure for your dog, but they’ll be perfectly happy to walk and run alongside you on a leash as long as they’re properly trained before you set out.
Make sure you understand your campsite’s rules before you set out. Some campsites don’t allow leashes longer than 6-feet, and they may have rules about how long of a lead you can leash your pup to as well.
2. Be Attentive
Never leave your dog unattended, especially in your tent. Being left alone in a tent can cause your dog to become anxious or stressed. This could lead to them damaging your tent and getting into something that they shouldn’t.
Make sure that your food and gear are packed away and out of your dog’s reach. Don’t leave them alone near your campfire. If you’ve got your dog on a lead while you’re cooking up dinner, then make sure that they can’t reach the fire on their lead.
If this is your dog’s first time camping, then you want to be sure to give them plenty of attention and positive encouragement.
Give them treats when they do a good job on their leash or when interacting with other campers. You want your dog to associate camping with fun and excitement, so they’ll be eager to go on more trips in the future with you.
You also want to be attentive to your dog’s paws. Their paws are tough and biologically made to help them navigate the wilderness, but unless they’ve spent a lot of time outside, then their paws will not be used to running over rough gravel or rocks for long periods of time.
Don’t let your dog walk on asphalt or rocks for long when temperatures are extremely hot or cold. Make sure you check your dog’s paws at night for any scratches or skin peeling.
You want your pet to be comfortable and being attentive to their paws is one of the best ways to make sure they stay healthy and happy during your entire adventure.
3. ID Tag
You want to make sure that your dog’s ID tag has all the correct information before you set out.
Check that your name and current phone number are listed accurately.
Make sure that it’s properly secured to their collar. If their ID tag is damaged, then it could fall off while running on the trail or if it gets snagged by a branch.
3. First-Aid Kit
Bringing your dog camping in a tent with you means that they’re exposed to the same dangers as you are. That means you’ll need to add some dog-friendly items to your first-aid kit so you’re prepared in case of illness or injury.
Obviously, if your pup has to take any medications, that should go in your first aid kit. Make sure you stick to the same routine with medications while you’re out camping as you would at home. Give it to them at the same time of day, before or after they eat, just as you would normally.
You should also add some Benadryl into your first aid kit because it’s safe to use for dogs in case of an allergic reaction. If this is their first time camping with you or you’re going to be camping in a new area, then there are a lot of new plants and things that your dog will come into contact with.
It’s better to be prepared with some Benadryl than risk your dog having a reaction without you having anything that could help them.
Your dog could get scratched up if they run through a briar patch or skid along some rough gravel. Even the most well-trained dogs are likely to get excited and accidents happen, so it’s your job to be prepared.
There are dog-specific bandages designed for use while outdoors that you can find in most pet shops or online. They’re stretchy and stick to themselves so you can wrap up that scratch on their paw and keep moving.
Bringing along a good pair of tweezers can help you and your dog. In nature, there are several thorns and ticks that can dig into you or your dog’s skin and get stuck.
You don’t want to be struggling to dig them out with your fingernails! Bring along a good pair of tweezers so you can easily pull out any ticks or thorns that stick you or your pet.
There’s nothing better than kicking back in your tent at the end of a long day and snuggling up to your best friend. Camping with a dog in a tent means a ton of great quality time together, but it’s also a lot of work.
You need to find the right campsite, pick the best tent, bring along extra food and water, and make sure that your first-aid kit is stocked with dog-friendly supplies.
Don’t let the work dissuade you from bringing along your best friend. They’ll enjoy the experience just as much as you do and it’s a great way to help them get in touch with their natural selves!
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About the Author
Hussain is a passionate hiker and traveler that love the outdoor and enjoys what nature has to give, whenever he can he love to write and give tips & honest reviews to help others get out there and just seek more unforgettable experiences.