15 Tips for Taking Your Dog Camping For The First Time

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Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Rose Morah

Camping with your dog for the first time can be daunting. You could end up making many costly mistakes.

It can also be so annoying to other campers if the dog keeps constantly barking or is in their business all the time.

Everyone loves to have a good time when camping and hence the reason why most people invest a lot to enjoy and have a peaceful camping experience.

This article provides tips to help you camp with your dog and avoid ruining other campers’ experiences.

Related: How To Plan A Road Trip With Your Dog In Under 5 Minutes.

The following are the tips to consider when taking your dog camping for the first time:

1. Ensure your dog is well trained before the camping trip

Training your dog makes camping easier, especially when you are taking it camping for the first time.

Off-leash training is one of the best ways to train your dog before going camping.

This training ensures that your dog is off-leash capable. This means that it will safely roam around the camp and at the same time remain attentive to its owner.

An off-leash trained dog should understand the following commands:

  • “Leave it” – This helps the dog understand what’s off-limit.
  • “Left” and “Right” – This makes it easy for you and your dog to navigate around.
  • “Down” – Being able to tell your dog to stop and sit down from a distance help in so many ways.
  • Whistle – train your dog to come to your whistle.
Your dog is not a robot that will follow every single command even when something that’s very tempting comes on its way. 
I would recommend that you always be prepared for a leash fail. This mostly happens when the dog is prey-driven.

2. Not all dogs are great for camping

Some dogs are great for camping. Others are not. You should never just assume that your dog will love to camp with you.

For instance, dogs that get overly anxious/nervous can actually ruin your camping trip, especially if you were not prepared. 

Therefore, I would recommend you go camping at a place that is close to home, so that if things become unbearable you can easily head back home. 

However, keep reading to find out how to make camping easier if you have a nervous/anxious dog.

3. Prepare your dog before the camping trip

To effectively prepare your dog, you can start setting up things at home to make it look like you are camping.

For instance, if you have a backyard you can camp outside in a tent together for a night.

This way you will get to see how the dog will behave during the night, and most importantly how well it will sleep in the tent.

I have a friend who tried this and discovered that the dog would never have been a good companion because it did not like sleeping in the tent at all. 

However, after sleeping in the backyard for a few days in a tent, the dog was finally okay to sleep in the tent. This helped ease their camping together.

4. Dog grooming is very important before the camping trip

When grooming your dog, make sure:

  1. The nails are short

This will help prevent your dog from ripping off your tent and mattress. This is common behavior, especially when the dog is anxious or does not enjoy sleeping in the tent

  1. Ensure the dog is well trimmed, especially down the leg wisps and the underbelly.

This will help prevent it from bringing dirt and mud into the tent.

It also helps avoid a situation where the dog fur spread all over the tent and on your bedding.

See also:

15 Best Portable Showers for Camping.

13 Best Ways To Shower When Camping.

5. Get adequate information about the camping grounds

Make sure that you do some research about the camping ground before going. This is mainly because some campgrounds are dog-friendly while others are not.

Additionally, most campgrounds will have regulations for pets and some national parks have requirements such as, “Pets are not allowed off-road or on trails”.

6. Look at the hunting map of the area where you will be camping

Make sure you look at the hunting map of the area where you will be camping even if you will not be hunting.

This is not only for the sake of your dog’s safety but also to avoid ruining other hunters’ adventures, especially if your dog is the kind that likes exploring in the forests.

If you happen to go through the hunting zones while hiking with your dog, this may result in the following:

  • The dog may scare the wild animals away making it hard for the hunters to hunt them.
  • The hunters might end up injuring the dog while hunting.

This is as it runs through the bushes when the hunters are already in a shooting position.

Additionally, hunters tend to set dangerous traps that could be very few feet from the edge of the trail.

  • If you are constantly calling the dog from a distance, this would definitely scare the wild animals away and will also piss off the hunters.
  • The dog will be leaving its scent everywhere thus scaring the wild animals away.

7. Carry a longer leash if you are going to tie the dog

From experience, securing the dog with a long leash that is about 30 feet helps create a much better experience for the dog. 

This is because the dog will have a wide area to explore and run around while staying secure without bothering other campers.

Additionally, bring a backup leash just in case your dog does not like being leashed and ends up chewing the ropes just to break free.

See also: 8 Best Pet Transportation Services – Best Pet Shipping Companies.

8. Bring some dog treats to keep the dog’s mouth busy

Even if you love your dog so much, it can get so annoying if it is constantly barking when camping.

Carry with you some dog treats that will keep the dog’s mouth busy, so that everyone around can peacefully enjoy their camping adventures.

I would recommend you carry some long-lasting chewing dog treats such as cow ear and bully stick.

Additionally, carrying CBD dog treats will help calm your dog’s anxiety. These treats help the dog to relax.

You may also like these 13 Must-Have Dog Camping Accessories.

9. Take your dog on long hikes

If it’s an anxious dog, make plans to take it on long hikes when camping.

From experience, I realized that if your dog is nervous, taking long hikes that make it tired actually helps to exhaust the nervous energy.

10. Get a rabies tag and collar with your name and number

This helps in case the dog gets lost in the forest, especially when you go camping during the hunting season.

Alternatively, microchip your dog just in case it gets lost.

11. Pack the right dog supplies

When camping for the first time with your dog, the following essentials are a must-have:

  • Lots of drinking water.
  • A first aid kit that contains some dog medications such as antiseptics, tweezers/tick pullers, bandage spray e.t.c.
  • Mosquito/tick repellent. I use this tick repellant from Amazon and it works very well.
  • Waterless shampoo wipes to wipe off the grim before going to sleep.
  • An extra blanket. Lay it down to protect your tent from the dog’s claws. It will also help prevent the tent from getting the dirt, mud, or water that the dog picks up from outside.

12. Make sure the tent is big enough to fit you and your dog

Don’t underestimate your dog’s size.

I remember my first camping trip with my dog. The tent was a small one-person tent. My dog slept for the whole night stretching all her legs out leaving me less space.

After that camping trip, I knew I had to get a new tent that would fit both of us comfortably.

13. Don’t leave the dog’s food outside

I realized that when I leave the dog food outside it attracts bugs and wildlife too.

14. Properly introduce the dog to the camping site’s surroundings

I recommend taking about 15 minutes to walk the dog around the campsite. Let the dog sniff everything and get acclimated to the ambiance and sounds of the surroundings.

This will help the dog adapt faster and relax, especially if it is its first-time camp.

15. Practice not leaving the dog’s waste unattended

Carry a bag or bury the waste, depending on the rules of the camping site, so that other campers can also enjoy their stay.

Hey, I'm Matthias. I am passionate about adventure travel, EVs, and tech in general. I am open-minded and pretty curious. But you know what they say, blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures!