Camping with friends or family?  Fun.  Camping with your pet?  Even better!  But it’s not as easy as putting your pup in the car and heading off.  There’s planning involved – and quite a lot.  Especially if you want your outdoor adventure to go smoothly, as we know you do.  The key is making sure your dog is ready for camping, both mentally and physically.  And we can help you do that:

Prepare your pooch

We’ll start by saying your pooch needs to be comfortable traveling in a car, exploring new places and obeying basic commands (come, sit, stay, leave it) before you take him camping.  You don’t want him getting stressed because he’s out of his comfort zone or dashing off after wildlife.  Other things to consider:  Is he a friendly, relaxed hound or do you need to work with him on his “social” skills?  There will be other people and dogs around he’ll need to interact with.  And what physical shape is he in?  Is he capable of going on long walks or hikes?  If not, put him on a doggie fitness program!

Visit the vet

Before any trip, it’s smart to take your dog to your vet for a thorough check-up.  Make sure she’s up-to date-on her vaccinations and get medication refills if needed.  Ask your vet to scan for your pup’s microchip as they sometimes fall out or stop working.  While we’re talking about pet ID, think about adding a second, temporary tag to your dog’s collar, with your camp site info and cell phone number – just to be safe.

Protect your dog from fleas and ticks

Tick Habitat - Hazards of Camping

If there’s one thing that’s going to spoil your dog’s happiness in the great outdoors, it’s being attacked by fleas and ticks.  So protect your furry friend by applying a flea and tick treatment. We use Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Spot-On before we leave home, and for added layers of defense, we take along Vet’s Best Anti Flea Shampoo and Home & Go Spray to the camp site.  You can get all three in this smart buy.   We love Vet’s Best products because they’re made with natural ingredients, including peppermint oil, clove extract and cinnamon oil.  No chemical pyrethrins, permethrins, or cedar oil.  And yet, they kill fleas, flea eggs, and ticks on contact and repel mosquitoes.

Find a dog-friendly campsite

Can you believe it, not every campsite allows pets!  Luckily there are a lot that do.  The Pet Friendly Travel website is a good place to start your research.  It’s pretty thorough, listing everything from parks and forests to beaches and lakes, private campgrounds, RV parks, and more.  Read the campsite rules and regulations to see what restrictions they have before you book.  They may want you to have your dog on a leash at all times.  And they’ll definitely want you to pick up her poop!  You can stock up on doggie waste pick-up bags at

Pack a doggie backpack

We have a downloadable list of things to pack for dogs when traveling.  But you’ll need a few more items for a camping trip:  A doggie sleeping bag such as this one so your pooch can stay warm and dry inside your tent. And a portable pet fence such as this one is a good idea to keep your dog safe and contained when you’re at the campsite (remember to put it in a shaded area).  

Finally, when you arrive…

Take him on a tour so he becomes familiar with his new territory.  Keep him on a leash and close to you as he will likely become excited with all the new sights, sounds and smells.  During your stay, supervise your pet pal at all times at the campsite and control him on the trail.  When you go for a walk or hike, monitor your dog’s energy level and watch out for signs of fatigue.  By keep your pup healthy and safe during your camping trip, he’ll be eagerly waiting for the next one!