Camping with Pets: Tips and Tricks

camping with pets tips

I’ve found that camping with pets usually goes one of two ways. It’s either really awesome or really terrible. Lucky for you, I’ve put together some tips and tricks over the years based on my time camping with my animals. Use these to make every camping trip with your pets turn out really awesome.

10 Tips and Tricks: What You Need to Know to Camp with Pets

Tip #1: Choose Pet-Friendly Campgrounds

pet friendly campgrounds

The first thing you need to know about camping with pets are the campground rules. Hopefully, you checked these out before you made the reservations. The quickest way to lose your overnight location is by bringing an animal to a no-pets campground.

Typically, public campgrounds allow you to bring your furry friends. They usually just have a few rules for you to follow. Here are the most common I’ve found in my travels:

  • All pets must be accompanied by owners at all times
  • All pets must be kept on a leash outside of the tent or RV
  • Any pet that consistently disturbs others will have to leave
  • Always clean up after your pet
  • A list of vaccinations

National Park and private campgrounds may be more restrictive. National lands tend not to allow domestic animals due to the wild animals. Private campgrounds may simply not like dogs or cats. BLM land does not usually specify, and 9 times out of 10 pets can be off the leash as long as they are not bothering other campers.

Tip #2: Practice Your Etiquette

The best way to stay at your campsite and keep your neighbors happy is to be courteous. Keep your dog near you at all times and clear of anyone else’s campsite. Even though I like animals and have my own, I don’t appreciate other people allowing theirs in my rented space.

Tip #3: Prepare a First Aid Kit

prepare a first aid kit for your pet

Your pet could get injured at any time on the road, at the campsite, or on the trail. If you are camping off the grid, it might take you too long to reach a vet’s office. That’s why preparing a first aid kit for your pet, just like yourself, is important.

The Humane Society has a comprehensive list of everything you should have in your pet’s first aid kit.

Tip #4: Check the Site First

Before letting your animal out of the vehicle, check out the area first. Make sure there is nothing around the site that could injure your 4-legged friend. Any leftover foods, trash, or potentially harmful liquids should be disposed of before you let your pet out.

Tip #5: Pack for Your Pet

pack for your pet

There are a few things you should always pack for your animal. Here is my list:

  • Food
  • Bowls
  • Snacks
  • Water or filtration system in the backcountry
  • Bed
  • Sleeping pad or kid-sized sleeping bag (if cold)
  • Blankets
  • Leash
  • Chew toy
  • Towels
  • Lead/tie out
  • Tags
  • Kiddie pool (if hot)
  • Doggie backpack
  • Favorite toy
  • Any comfort item to help your furry friend to feel at home

Tip #6: Monitor the Temperature

Prime camping time is also the hottest time of the year. Make sure you give your animal enough water throughout the day. There should also be a place where they can go lie down to stay cool. If you have a choice of campsites, opt for ones with shade. If the temperature gets too hot for reasonable humans, do not take your pet out!

Tip #7: Protect Against Insects

protect your pet from insects

Chances are the time you are camping with pets is the time when insects are at their worst. Mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, no see ums, and other parasitic bugs are out there and waiting to jump on your pet! So how do you protect them?

  • Do your research. Find out what kind of parasitic insects are going to be in the area where you are camping.
  • Use chemical protection. There are a lot of different medications on the market. Some you can purchase through your veterinarian, while others can be bought at pet stores.
  • Groom your pet. Giving your pet a good brushing can help you find fleas and ticks quickly.
  • Check your animal thoroughly each evening, after your babies get back from playing in brush, and after a hike. It’s a good idea to check yourself as well!

Tip #8: Carrier Train

If you want to make your time in the car and at the campsite easier, carrier train your animals. This is a great skill to have regardless of whether or not you go camping. It makes transporting your animal much safer. I have a special, soft-sided carrier I use to keep my pet secure at the campsite. Crates also help the pet feel more secure if they are already trained.

Tip #9: Do a Run-Through

Before you set out on your first camping adventure, do a run-through. Set your stuff up in the backyard or apartment and let your pet get used to the new sights and smells. To get your pet to play nice, use treats. Put them inside the tent and anywhere else you want your pet to get used to!

It’s a good idea to run through the night just like you would on your trip. This includes going on evening walks with headlamps. The light can scare some animals.

Tip #10: Know Your Pet

know your pet

The best thing to do when you are camping with animals is to stay in tune with them. This goes double the first few times out. It may take your animal some time before it gets comfortable, so know your pet. If your furry friend doesn’t like to spend nights outdoors, then don’t push the issue.

By Sofia Muñoz
about author

I'm a traveler, photographer, writer and adventure lover. I like to bike, swim and prepare food a lot. When I'm not doing all this stuff, I write about my adventures and thoughts.

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