Taking Your Dog Camping for the First Time

Going camping is fun and exciting, and the best company you can have there is your furry friend. Adventure, games, and hiking are all fun things dogs love, so your little pup will have a blast. 

However, taking your dog to the campground can be a little overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. Pets follow a strict routine while they stay inside. In the wilderness, it may get a bit difficult for them to adjust. 

So before you go camping with your canine, here are a few things you need to know. Taking proper precautions will ensure that your dog enjoys camping as much as you do so that you bring home a happy puppy back.

If you need to get some camping gear for your dog, here’s a list to get started:

First Thing First Get the Essentials Ready 

You are carrying your dog out for the first time; the worst thing you can do is go without preparation. Exposing your pup to the outside environment will need extra preparation. So here is a list of things you must consider to have the best time ever- 

Book a Vet Appointment 

Your canine will be exposed to the wilderness for the first time, so you need to discuss every possible thing with the vet. First and foremost, your dog must be up-to-date on the vaccines. Most pups are not fully vaccinated till they get five months old, so it’s better you don’t go camping with a puppy that’s five months or younger. 

If you’ve adopted your canine from a shelter, make sure to take a full update on its vaccination status. Some vets advise you to take flea and ticks medications along as camping grounds are home to fleas and ticks. 

If you have shortlisted your campsite, don’t forget to discuss the weather with the vet and ask for necessary precautions or medicines you need to carry. 

yellow labrador retriver sitting next to a campsite

Do Some Research and Shortlist Dog-Friendly Campsites 

Not all campsites welcome pets with open arms. So it’s imperative for you to search dog-friendly camping areas. But getting for a camping spot that has the least restrictions on activities is again a daunting task. 

You may find a dog-friendly campsite, but it may not allow your dog on long trails, hiking, etc., as you may encounter uninvited wildlife. For example, many US national parks don’t allow pets in backcountry areas. 

It means even if your pet is allowed in the campsite, they won’t be permitted to go hiking or participate in many other activities. 

So it would be best if you pick national forests, state parks, or private campgrounds where they let your dog accompany you everywhere you go. But it’s your responsibility to stay alert and take necessary precautions for your pet’s safety. 

Once you make your to-do list, it is time to sit-down and browse campsites that have minimum restrictions on pets. But it’s totally up to you whether you’re fine with restrictions or not. 

Carry Dog Gears 

You can’t afford to go camping with your dog without dog gear. Once you decide on your campsite, it’s time to go shopping for your pup. Here is a list of gears you can’t afford to not carry- 

Dog Leash, Collar, and Harness

While you may already have a leash and collar, it’s best to get adequate camping varieties. A leash and harness combo makes it easier to control your pup on the hikes or tails. Moreover, most dog-friendly camping sites make leash mandatory. 

It’s convenient to carry your furry friend with a dog harness. Besides, it puts less pressure on the dog’s neck as well. Your pet might take a few days to adjust to this new gear so make sure to make your dog comfortable with the harness a few days before the actual camping day. 

Finally, We would suggest you get a neon dog collar. It will help you track your pup’s movements in the dark. 

Dog Bowl

Just like you feed your pet in a dog bowl at home, you will have to carry the same to the campsite. But carrying the home bowl is not always convenient. So go for collapsible bowls for easy portability. 

You will get to choose between a silicon bowl and a nylon bowl. Silicon one is an affordable option, and the nylon one is slightly expensive but durable. 

First-Aid Kit

We hope that you don’t have to use the first-aid kit, but you cannot go without it as well. Canine first-aid kits are easily available in pet shops, but you can make one yourself too. 

You will be staying far away from your nearest vet, so it’s better to carry your essentials for any unforeseen situations that may occur. If you are making a kit yourself, here are a few items to include- 

  • Antibiotic ointment– it helps prevent infection in case your pup gets a cut or scratch. 
  • Scissors, tape, rubber gloves, and gauze– these tools are vital to stop bleeding in an emergency situation. Gauze even works as a temporary brace if you suspect a fracture. 
  • Hydrogen peroxide- you need to induce vomiting if your dog consumes anything toxic this is when you need hydrogen peroxide. We would advise you to consult with the vet first and learn about its usage. 
  • Wet wipes- these come extremely handy when you have to clean muddy paws or your dog encounters a bathroom situation in your car. 
  • A pet blanket or towel- a soft towel or blanket when your dog wants to rest in between hikes. If the pup gets injured, wrapping it in a towel will comfort and calm your little baby. 
  • Medications- as we have mentioned in the vet section, carry useful medicines that you might need during your stay. 
  • A comfort toy- this isn’t ideally a part of the first-aid kit but will come in handy if you face any harsh situations. For instance, if the weather conditions are harsh, there is lightning and storm, a comforting toy is always a good idea. 
  • A first-aid guidebook- you may not be an expert in treating your dog, and you are living in the middle of nowhere. So to brush up on your skills, keeping the first-aid guidebook in the kit can be a rescuer. 
mixed dog breed playing in the grass by a couple canvas tents


Camping preparations with your pet will be incomplete without a flashlight. Not just for the night, you may need extra visibility to find something during the day as well. It’s also helpful to scare off wildlife if your dog finds it disturbing. So while packing your bags, make sure to put the flashlight in. 

Carry All Paperwork

You must carry paperwork like vaccination certificates, prescriptions, etc., for emergencies. If your canine needs immediate medical attention, keeping the records ready will help the vet understand his medical history. 

Moreover, most campsites do not allow pets without vaccination certificates. So don’t forget to pack all the paperwork before rolling on the wheels. 

Now that you know the essentials you need to sort out let’s talks about things you must consider before taking your dog camping for the first time- 

Must Consider Things Before Taking Your Furry Companion Camping

Do a Trial Training 

It’s your first time taking your dog camping; you must ensure everything goes right. Hence, take a training expedition in your backyard to understand how your pup reacts to the outside environment. 

Some dogs tend to get a bit nervous in camping tents which may affect their sleep at night. So try setting a camp in your backyard and train your dog to explore and get comfortable with the surroundings. 

Try sleeping in the camp for a couple of days which will help your pet get used to nighttime noises as well as outdoor sleeping. 

Carry More Food and Water 

Your camping days are going to be filled with sports and adventure. You will possibly go hiking or on long trails, which are quite energy-consuming activities. So it’s best to pack more food than you otherwise would. 

Both you and your pup will burn more calories in outdoor activities, which will surely make you hungry. Likewise, it’s important to keep yourselves hydrated so carry enough water.

Generally, a dog needs 50% more food while staying outside. However, that may vary considering how active your canine’s day was. Make sure to provide food and water to the dedicated collapsible dog food and water bowls. 

silly puffy dog looking around a campsite for camping snacks

Carry a Bigger Tent

We all know that dogs need relatively more space in the bed. So you must consider carrying a bigger tent. For example, if your friend is going camping with you, you should carry a four-person tent instead of a two-person one. 

Dogs somehow end up taking all the bed space; if you don’t want to end up squeezing yourself in a small corner, consider sizing up.  

Don’t Leave Your Dog Alone in the Tent 

Leaving your dog in the tent alone, even for a few minutes, is a big no no. Even pet owners who have been camping multiple times with their pets don’t make this mistake. You can leave your dog inside the home’s safe walls for a few hours, but that’s not the same in the wilderness. 

Wild animals are always on the look for easy prey, and they won’t hesitate for a second to pounce on your helplessly tied pup. Even while you both are at the campsite, always keep an eye on your dog’s movements. 

No matter how much you’ve trained your dog, exposing it to camping for the first time will make it outrageously happy. It will try to run here and there whenever it gets a chance, so it’s your responsibility not to let that happen. 

Do Regular Tick Checks 

Both humans and dogs are equally affected by ticks. Unfortunately for canines, they can impose lifelong health hazards. Ticks can cause diseases like- canine ehrlichiosis, canine anaplasmosis, Lyme disease, rocky mountain spotted fever, canine bartonellosis, canine hepatozoonosis, and canine babesiosis. 

So make sure to do tick checks every now and then. If they go unnoticed, they can sometimes be fatal for the dog. You definitely don’t want this first camping experience to be the last one for your fur baby. 

Practice Some Basic Commands 

These are some primary commands that will help you a lot on camping days- 

  • Sit 
  • Down (to put the dog in a passive position)
  • Watch me 
  • Stay 
  • Heel 
  • Wait 
  • Come 
  • Drop it/ take it/ leave it
  • Off
  • Out 
  • Stand 
  • No 
  • Settle down 

Wrapping Up

Taking your dog camping for the first time involves a lot of responsibilities. Although it seems like a lot at first, you and your dog will get used to it within a few trials. That’s why it’s vital to take a couple of practice sessions before going actual camping.


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