5 Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe and Happy While Camping

Camping can be a fun summer getaway for the whole family when you arrive prepared. There are lots of dog-friendly campgrounds across the U.S. too, so you can bring your beloved tail-wagging family member along for all the fun.

Dogs obviously have different needs than humans and can get into all kinds of mischief when visiting an unfamiliar place — especially if it’s outdoors. With this in mind, every pet owner should be encouraged to do some extra homework and safety planning before getting on the road toward their campsite.

If you’re planning a camping trip this summer or later this fall and intend to bring your dog with you, make sure you’ve gone over the following must-dos so that you’re properly prepared for a fun and safe trip.

Research your park or campground’s pet restrictions.

Even if you know that the park you’ll be camping at is dog-friendly, there may still be some restrictions for certain activities and around certain areas. For example, many parks have a 6-foot leash policy, but they’ll vary according to where you’re staying. There may also be pet restrictions in and around park facilities, beaches, backcountry, trails and natural areas that are protected — so be sure to look into your park’s specific policies, regulations and restrictions to know what to expect.

Have lots of extra water on hand.

It’s important to bring enough water for the whole family, but plan to bring a lot more if the dog is joining you. Dogs don’t sweat, so they need to drink a lot of extra water to help them cool off. This is especially important if you plan to bring your dog on hikes or other physically demanding activities. There are lots of different collapsable water bowls you can get that are lightweight and built for traveling.

Keep your dog leashed somewhere far enough from potential hazards.

Some common camping hazards to consider include the fire pit, thick forested areas where fleas and ticks thrive, the busy road where other campers are driving by and areas that don’t get enough shade in the heat of the day. Keeping your dog leashed is important, but so is being absolutely sure that the area he or she can roam around on a leash is safe and comfortable too.

Do a full body examination of your dog at the end of every day.

After a day of outdoor fun, it’s always a good idea to do a complete check of your dog’s fur for ticks/fleas and paws for injuries. You can take preventative measures for insect bites and injuries by getting a tick/flea-repellent collar and making sure you and your dog stick to marked trails when getting active. Make sure your dog is up to date on all vaccinations and add the necessary pet-related items to your first aid kit in case your dog needs it.

Don’t leave your dog unattended.

If your intention is to leave the campsite to go do lots of activities that aren’t exactly dog-friendly, you’d be better off leaving your dog at home to be looked after by a friend or relative while you’re away. Dogs need to be included in your vacation with a watchful eye kept on them at all times to prevent signs and symptoms of general distress, dehydration, heat exhaustion, injury and other camp-related accidents. Make sure your tent is big enough so that your dog can sleep safely with you at night and avoid coming into contact with wild animals.

Above all, know your dog’s specific needs. You wouldn’t bring a big shaggy Newfoundlander camping on a super hot and humid weekend with absolutely no access to air conditioning, nor would you take a senior dog with physical disabilities out for an extremely active camping adventure. Nobody knows your dog like you do, so consider how you can tailor your trip in a way that he or she feels most comfortable and secure.

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Photo Credit: Brittany Woiderski


Christine J
Christine J1 years ago

Good advice to check your pet every day when you're in a tick area.

John B
John B2 years ago

Thanks Elise for sharing.

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jessica whitfield
Jessica w2 years ago


Elizabeth O.
Elizabeth O2 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Alison A.
Alison A2 years ago

Thanks for posting.

Jim Ven
Jim V2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Valerie A.
Valerie A2 years ago