Camping with dogs is a favorite past time of many pet owners. The great outdoors are appealing and nature is calling.
Ask your dog what they would like to bring…. Okay, you have probably just received a head tilt, as they have no idea what you are talking about.
If they could reply, the answer would be treats, ball, toy, treats, food, bone, and more treats. However, there are a few more practical items you will need.
Use this ultimate camping with dogs gear packing list as a guide to prepare for your adventure with your four-legged best friend.
Food & Water
Bring 1.5 to 2 times more kibble than your dog’s regular daily requirements when camping. They will need extra energy for hiking and other activities. Bring plenty of freshwater. Some of the park’s lakes and streams may have giardia or coliform bacteria.
Collapsible food/water bowls
To save weight and space a collapsible bowl is perfect for water on the trail, and mealtimes. These are very durable, so you can take them on lots of your adventures with your dogs.
After a long day of hiking, your dog will like nothing more than to sit by you and chew on a long-lasting treat. This will keep them occupied while you set up camp. It is also nice to give treats to other hikers you meet on a trail to give to your dog.
Collar/Harness and Leash (6 feet or shorter)
A lot of the Parks and Forests have a 6 feet leash policy on many of the trails. The collar should also have the dog’s ID tag in case they go on a doggy adventure and get lost.
Lightweight Canine Tactical Vest or Hiking Backpack
Now that you have decided to go camping, you and your pooch need the gear. Not only do they look cool, but these are also very practical. They have a lot of pockets to take their supplies. They are available in a range of colors and materials. Camouflage for the tactical look, or nice and bright to help spot the explorer easier.
Extra Poop Bags
It goes without saying, as part of being a responsible dog owner we need to pick up after our dogs. Always bring more bags than you need, to cover any emergencies. When you’re on the trail the last thing you want is your poop bag to break. I recommend double bagging, to avoid any mess.
Dog Poop Canister
These canisters attach to your belt and hold any waste until you can safely dispose of it. They are airtight to prevent smells or leakage and easily washed back at camp. Most are dishwasher safe (just kidding, you wouldn’t really want poop in your dishes), and come in a range of colors and textures.
For added poop protection, double bag, then store in the canister.
Toys for Camp Play
If you are camping at a populated site that requires dogs to be on a 6 feet leash or tied to a stake, a favorite toy is a welcome distraction.
Flea and Tick Comb
It is good practice to check your pup for any ticks when you arrive back at camp. Pay special attention to their ears and faces, these are great hiding places. The flea and tick combs are a quick and easy solution. Don’t forget, ticks like people too.
Leash Stake For The Campsite
When you’re setting up the tent and getting ready to settle in, your furry friend might use the opportunity to wander off and investigate the new smells. That pesky squirrel is just begging to be chased. It only takes a few seconds and your dog will be gone. This is where a leash stake is very handy if there are no trees or rocks to tie the leash to. It is also good camping etiquette to have the dogs on a leash. Not all campers are dog people. Sometimes you will find a campground that requires it.
Canine First Aid Kit
Having a First aid kit on hand for any injury is important. It may be as simple as using the scissors for cutting out seeds stuck in their fur, or needing a thorn pulled out of their paws with a set of tweezers.
Or for more serious injuries such as a pulled muscle, a compression bandage. First aid kits for dogs have many different supplies all in one handy satchel.
Your dog will most likely sleep in your tent with you, but in case gas is a problem, you may want to buy your buddy in their own tent. They are available in a range of sizes, fabric, and colors.
Some Parks or Forests have a rule of dogs being contained at night. Instead of a portable kennel on the back of your truck, or inside your vehicle, a tent can be a good alternative.
Dog Sleeping Bag
Who doesn’t like to be nice and toasty at night? If you are camping in cold climates, your furry friend will definitely appreciate the comfort of a sleeping bag. They take up less room than a roll of blankets and come in various shapes, and sizes.
Specially designed dog boots can be the perfect solution to sore paws. Dog’s paws become hardened to everyday life, but sharp rocks or hot surfaces can cause serious damage. You can do a quick ground temperature check by standing barefoot for 5 seconds on the surface you will be walking on. If it is too hot for you, it will be too hot for your fur bestie. If you plan to hike many miles each day, the last thing you want is your pup’s paws to hurt and cause them pain.
Dog Paw Washer Cup
These are a great addition to the campsite equipment. You will be able to easily clean off the days hiking muck before dirty paws make it into the tent or back of your vehicle. Using very little water and having a towel stored inside, it is a simple, but very handy piece of gear.
All Medications, Clearly Labeled
The last thing you need is taking one of your dog’s pills instead of yours. Packing lite is good, but make sure you still have the medication in their correct containers.
Hopefully, you won’t come face to face with a bear on your trip, but if you do, bear spray is a great deterrent to the furry giants. Safety note, I think they like honey.
Bear Canister for Kibble
It’s common practice to store your food in a less than ideal nylon sack in a tree to avoid critters getting to your food. Use a bear canister instead to prevent scary wildlife like bears, wolves, and coyotes being able to steal it. Only bring food out when preparing meals for humans or your dog.
Skunk Odour Remover
So your dog is a friendly guy and he was probably only saying hello. But the skunk enjoys the solitude of nature and decided to spray your pooch’s face. No one wants to sit next to the stinky dog at camp. Having a skunk odor removal spray or shampoo in the vehicle is good insurance.
Bringing their own bed may not be the most practical idea, but if your dog is nervous or this is the first time in the great outdoors, bringing their bed is a great way to help them feel secure.
Dog coats come in a variety of sizes, styles, and colors. They can be lightweight for a warm rainy day, or heavy-duty for snowbound campers. Not only will they keep your dog warm, but also dry. A coat covers a large section of your pup’s body so there will be fewer areas to dry with your towel.
Now you have all the items you will need for your adventure together, there are a few things you may need to do before you go.
Get A Vet Check
Before setting out with your fur-bestie and exploring a chosen park, it is important that they have a clean bill of health. A quick visit to your veterinarian will ensure they are protected from some of mother nature’s less friendly creatures.
Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. Microchipping will be added peace of mind in case they decide to follow their own trail and get lost.
Keep all your dog’s records in the glove-box of your vehicle in case you are asked to provide information on current vaccinations and/or licenses.
They will be sharing your tent, so make sure they have a flea and tick treatment. Then you will both have a good night’s sleep
If your dogs taking any medication, be sure to ask your vet to give you refill prescriptions. If your dog’s medicines get lost or damaged, you will want to be able to refill them while you are camping with your dog.
Get Your Dog Ready to Go Camping
If you can think back to the very first time you went camping, you probably remember being a bit nervous. If your pet is a bit on the jumpy side, all the new gear and sleeping arrangements might make them nervous.
Here are some great tips to get your dog ready to go camping with you:
While your dog may not seem anxious, you will want to make sure that they are okay with sleeping in a tent before you go. With the potential for wildlife being around the camp at night, co-sleeping with your furry friend may be best.
I am sure they will appreciate cuddling with their bestie too. Set your new tent up in your backyard and call your dog in. Make sure it is fun for them and practice going in and out, laying down, getting up and sleeping inside.
If you have brought some hiking boots for your dog, put them on them so they get used to the feeling. Practice going on walks over grass, concrete, rocks, sand and any surface you expect to see on your trip. The last thing you need is your mate wanting to go barefoot 5 minutes into the trail.
Hiking boots for dogs can prevent your fur-babies feet from getting burnt or cut. Being prepared for some of the rougher terrains is a necessity.
If your pooch has FOMO (fear of missing out) which let’s be honest, most dogs do, it could be a good idea to give them their own backpack. Why should we have all the fun of carrying the supplies? Once you have picked out a suitable dog backpack, you will need to get them excited about their latest practical fashion accessory.
Get your pup used to the feeling by putting it on for your daily walks. Not only will this make the other neighborhood dogs envious, but you will be able to slowly build up the contents of the pack. A maximum load of 25% of their body weight is recommended.
SAFETY NOTE: If your dog’s still a puppy or is a senior dog, be sure the trails won’t be too strenuous or long. You will want it to be a pleasant experience for both you and your pooch. Overtaxing your dog on a big walk while camping can be disastrous and leave your bestie reluctant to take another trip. It is best to wait until your puppy has developed sufficient bone structure before attempting a long hike.
What Season Will You Go Camping with Your Dog
When camping or hiking, always check the weather one last time before you leave on your trip. Check the park or forest website to see if there are any special notices posted about the weather, fire or closed tracks due to slips.
Each season has its own conditions to consider. You may need to pack extra items or some of the ones you bring with you won’t be necessary for the time of year you chose to camp.
Gear Required for Camping with Dogs in Hot Weather
Some of the parks and forests are in hotter climates. The Petrified Forest in Arizona can reach an average of 93 degrees Fahrenheit in July (34c). Considering your pooch’s ability to tolerate the hotter climate will determine if you can bring your furry friend at that time of year. Dogs with a shorter snout or a thick double coat don’t fare as well as other dogs in these conditions.
Dogs don’t sweat as people do. They sweat by panting and through their paws. Dogs can easily get heat stress if the weather gets too hot on the trails. Heat stress happens quickly and can be fatal, so keep a close eye on your pooch if the temperatures rise. knowing the signs could save your dog’s life.
A dog cooling vest is an easy way to help your dog stay cool on a strenuous hike. As on any hike, be sure to pack plenty of freshwater for you and your dog.
Camping Gear for Dogs in Cold or Wet Weather
While idyllic winter snow-covered mountains may be a theme that is on your camping hitlist, not all parks allow dogs on the ski trails. Dogs paws punch holes into the tracks, soon rendering the trails difficult to navigate for other hikers. We recommend you look at the specific parks or forest website when choosing your destination.
If your dog loves playing in the snow, that’s a good start to camping in colder climates. A 5-mile hike in the snow is very different from a romp in your yard. Having the appropriate gear is a must. Your dog’s paws will soon become cold and begin to ache with each footstep, so quality boots designed for snow and icy conditions can be a wise investment. They are widely used by hikers and search and rescue animals.
A warm coat can increase the miles you hike a day. With your dog comfortable, he or she will be happy to go further.
A quality backpack that doubles as a harness and a jacket is ideal. Choosing a brightly colored item can help with visibility in the shorter quality daylight hours.
Once the day’s hiking is over, a warm bed to keep them off the snow will be another item to add to your camping checklist. A dog sleeping bag instead of blankets can also be a good idea, taking up much less room than multiple blankets. Don’t forget to pack an extra towel to dry off your dog. No one wants wet dog odor in the tent at night or muddy paws in your vehicle.
Escape the stresses of modern-day life by venturing out into the great outdoors. An even better option is to bring your dog camping with you. There is nothing like waking up to the sunrise gently filtering through the nylon your tent, seeing your breath rise in the crisp morning air…or your dog sticks his or her wet nose on your face, because they think it’s time to get up. Bringing fur bestie along will definitely make the trip more enjoyable but it will also greatly increase your bond.
Now all that’s left to do is to download the camping with dogs gear list, pack the family (dogs included) and enjoy the great outdoors.
If you are stuck on where to go check out our article here.