There’s nothing better than going on a camping trip with your family. You get to detach yourself from the stress of the world and reconnect with nature.
Although, not all aspects of camping are relaxing. For example, you have to take many safety precautions, and packing can be tough.
This is especially true if you’re traveling with a dog. Canines require special care when you’re out in the wilderness.
So, if you want to learn more about camping with a dog in a tent, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about spending the night with your pup outdoors.
Choosing the Perfect Tent for Camping With a Dog
Going on a camping trip with your dog can be an incredibly relaxing experience. However, to ensure you get the most out of the adventure, there are a few considerations you have to take into account.
For example, you’ll need to find a tent that’s suitable for your pup. There are quite a few factors that go into picking the right tent.
In this section, I’ll cover the most crucial elements you need to keep in mind.
1. Size of the Tent
The first thing you need to think about is the size of the tent. You need plenty of space for you and your dog to move freely.
Because of that, when it comes to tent size, the bigger, the better.
Not only will this ensure your pup is more comfortable, but it’ll also give you more room to stretch out your legs.
That way, if you’re stuck in the tent for a few hours because of rain or strong winds, you won’t feel suffocated.
This is especially crucial if you’re traveling with a medium or large dog.
2. Material of the Tent
We all know that dogs can get a little restless if they have to stay in an enclosed space for a while. They’ll start fussing and pawing at the tent.
That’s why you have to take the material of the outdoor shelter into account.
If you choose a tent with mesh walls, chances are your pup will scratch the surface. The canine will also be able to rip a hole in the material easily.
For that reason, you want a fabric that can handle a fair bit of wear and tear. A great example of that is partial nylon walls.
The material should be durable enough to withstand your dog’s claws
Most people know that dogs have a higher body temperature than humans. On top of that, canines can struggle with cooling down since they have few sweat glands.
So, keeping your pup in an enclosed space for a long while is never a good idea. They may end up overheating, which can bring your camping trip to a sudden stop.
To avoid this outcome, you need to find a tent with proper ventilation. You should ensure there’s enough airflow coming into the shelter to keep your dog cool.
An easy way to do that is to use a battery-operated fan.
Most indoor dogs are used to sleeping in the quiet. So, when you take them on a camping trip, it can be difficult for them to ignore the sounds coming from the wild.
It can be something as simple as the wind blowing through the leaves. This can lead to an endless night of barking.
The only way to completely eliminate this issue is to soundproof your tent. Although, this is much easier said than done.
That’s especially true if your tent is well-ventilated. Instead, you can try a battery-operated white noise machine.
It should be able to drown out the ambient noise and allow your pet to sleep in peace.
5. Sleeping Arrangements
Before you head out on your camping trip, take a minute to consider the sleeping arrangements. You want to provide an environment that’s similar to the one you have at home.
For example, if your dog is used to sleeping with you, it’s best to make room for them in your sleeping bag.
Other than that, if your dog enjoys napping in a bed, bring their favorite pillow or dog bed along with you.
There’s nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night to find that your dog has gotten out of the tent. You’ll have to get up and spend a good chunk of the night looking for your pup.
That’s why security is exceptionally crucial. You have to find a tent that you can secure from the inside to stop your canine from escaping.
Tips for Camping With a Dog in a Tent
Now that you know how to pick a tent, I can move on to a few tips. These will ensure that your camping trip with a dog goes smoothly.
Here are a few tricks that can make your life a lot easier.
1. Choose a Dog-Friendly Campsite
Right off the bat, the campsite you choose will have a major impact on your trip. You may assume that all outdoor spaces are suitable for dogs, but that’s not the case.
There are some areas that may prove too dangerous for your pup. So, you need to pick a location that’s dog-friendly.
Luckily, the National Park System (NPS) offers many locations that are open to dogs of all shapes and sizes.
Plus, NPS can provide you with a map of all the dog-friendly parks in your area. Although, before you choose a spot, it’s best to contact the location directly.
That’s because each park or trail will have specific policies surrounding pets.
2. Take a Trip to the Vet
Before you head out on any long trip with your pup, it’s crucial that you schedule a visit to the vet. This is especially true if you’re going to stay in a remote location with few amenities.
That’s because you won’t be able to do much about physical ailments in the middle of a forest.
So, take a trip to your local vet and ask them for a complete check-up. This may include a full physical exam and ensuring vaccinations are up-to-date.
Besides that, it’s a good idea to get your dog micro-chipped. That way, if you get separated for any reason, you’ll have a much easier time finding your pup.
Finally, the outdoors is the perfect place for your canine to pick up a few pests like fleas or ticks. For that reason, consider asking the vet for some form of flea prevention.
3. Take Your Dog to the Groomer
It’s best practice to take your dog to the groomer before you head out on a camping trip. This may seem a little strange since your pup will inevitably get messy on the journey.
Yet, grooming can make your trip a lot easier. For instance, a simple haircut will ensure your dog won’t overheat.
Other than that, ask the groomer to trim your canine’s nails. That way, your dog will be less likely to snag on debris or your tent.
4. Pack the Essentials and Plenty of Familiar Items
There are a few essentials that you’ll need to bring with you when camping with a dog. These include:
- Dog food
- Waste bags
- Medications (if applicable)
- Dog bed
With these items, you should be able to provide a comfortable environment for your pet. Yet, some dogs face anxiety when they have to stay in a strange place.
In that case, you’ll need to bring along a few familiar items that can calm down your pup. A great example of that is your dog’s favorite toy.
It’ll distract the canine and help it get used to the new environment.
5. Try a Practice Run
If your dog has never been on an overnight trip, camping can be a bit stressful. The pup will find it hard to adjust to the new environment, which can lead to a sleepless night.
So, to avoid an anxious puppy, consider doing a dry run of your trip.
Set up the tent in your backyard and spend a night outdoors with your pet. Not only will that help them get used to the sleeping arrangements, but it’ll also give you a better idea of how to handle your dog.
6. Choose a Location That’s Close to Home
Ideally, when camping with your dog for the first time, you should pick a campsite that’s relatively close to home.
That way, if your pet struggles with adjusting to the new environment, you can leave without worrying about the drive back.
On top of that, with a short trip, you’ll be able to pack more since hauling will be easier.
After a successful local camping adventure, you can decide whether or not an out-of-state trip is right for you and your pet.
7. Don’t Forget Your Dog’s Leash
Most people think that as soon as they arrive at the campsite, they can let their dogs roam free and explore the countryside. Sadly, this isn’t the case.
You should always keep your pup on a leash when staying in a National Park. There are a couple of reasons behind this.
For starters, it’s the simplest way to make sure you don’t lose sight of your pet on the trail.
Besides that, a leash can keep your dog away from danger. That’s because it’ll be less likely to run off chasing a snake or a porcupine.
As a general rule, the leash should be about six feet long or less. Although, this will depend on your campsite.
So, before you head out on your trip, it’s best to contact the camping location and ask.
8. Bring Plenty of Water
One of the best parts about camping with your dog is seeing it run around and enjoy the landscape. Plus, you get to explore all sorts of new terrain together.
While this can be incredibly fun, it’s exceptionally draining. You and your pup will use up a great deal of energy running around and setting up camp.
That’s why you need sizable water reserves. Not only will that help keep you energized, but it’ll also reduce the chances of your canine overheating.
Typically, it’s best to pack a few extra gallons of water as a backup. That way, you’ll be sure you and your pet stay hydrated.
9. Maintain a Strict Feeding Schedule
When heading out on a camping adventure, the last thing on your mind is organizing schedules. The whole point of the trip is so that you can disconnect from the world and find a way to relax.
For the most part, living on your own timetable should be fine. Yet, when it comes to your pup’s feeding plan, a strict schedule is a must.
This can be helpful in a couple of ways. First up, it’ll create a stable environment for your pet, which should make adapting to the outdoors easier.
Other than that, the feeding plan will have a significant impact on your dog’s bathroom schedule. There’s nothing worse than having to get up in the middle of the night to take your pup to go potty.
10. Give Your Dog Plenty of Space
There are certain periods when you won’t be able to keep a close eye on your pup. For example, if you’re busy setting up campfires or pitching your tent.
In these cases, a leash isn’t ideal. The tether will make it harder for you to move around, and it may leave your dog feeling restless.
That’s why it’s a good idea to pack a long lead. You can secure it to a tree or stake next to your campsite.
This will help you keep an eye on your pup without making the canine feel trapped.
11. Create a Space Specifically for Your Dog
Even though dogs are exceptionally friendly creatures, they like to have their own private space. They need a designated area to hide if they feel anxious or scared.
So, clear out a space inside your tent or right outside. It doesn’t have to be much. Just a small area where the dog can feel comfortable and safe.
Then, fill the space with your pup’s favorite toys and bed.
12. Plan Several Activities
Dogs usually have a lot more energy than humans. In fact, some pups can have up to 10 times more stamina than the average person.
So, it’s likely that you’ll tire out long before your pup does. This can mean a sleepless night filled with barking and whining.
The best way to avoid this issue is to plan many dog-friendly activities. That can include hiking, swimming, walking, and foraging.
These will ensure that your dog is ready for bed by the end of the day.
13. Bring a Dog-Friendly First-Aid Kit
It’s never a good idea to go camping without a first-aid kit. It can be a lifesaver when you’re out in the wild, away from any healthcare facilities.
The kit can help you resolve countless mishaps that may occur on a camping trip. It may include:
- Adhesive tape
- Rubber tourniquet
These items can come in handy in many situations. Yet, when traveling with a dog, there are a few other supplies you may need.
- Pet-safe eyewash
- Tick nipper
- Digital thermometer
- Your pet’s medical records
Besides that, it’s a good idea to pack Benadryl. It’s an antihistamine that we use to treat allergic reactions.
Thankfully, this medication should be safe for you and your pup.
14. Bring a Picture of Your Dog
Most dog owners have hundreds of pictures of their pups on their phones. They have shots of the pets running around and in all sorts of adorable poses.
While these pictures are amazing keepsakes, they’re not ideal in an emergency.
If you happen to lose track of your dog on a camping trip, you may need help to find them. So, you’ll need a recent photo that highlights any defining markers or features.
15. Upgrade Your Gear
If you’re traveling with your dog for the first time, there are a few pieces of equipment that can make your life much easier.
For example, you may want to invest in a reflective harness. This will make finding your dog at night a walk in the park.
Besides that, it may be best to buy a floating dog leash. These are tethers designed specifically to withstand water.
That means the buckles won’t rust, and the collar can float. That way, if your dog goes for an impromptu swim, you won’t have trouble fishing them out.
If you’re planning on camping with a dog in a tent, there are a few helpful tips that you should be aware of.
First up, you need to spend some time finding the best tent for your trip. That includes taking the size, material, ventilation, and security of the shelter into account.
Other than that, there are several tricks you can rely on to ensure your trip goes off without a hitch.
For example, you need to pack a few essentials and your dog’s favorite toys and bed. Moving on, it’s also a good idea to try a practice run in your backyard before you head out to a campsite.
Finally, don’t forget to plan many activities to keep your dog busy and ensure they’re ready to sleep by the end of the day.