5 Camping Essentials For Dogs (Detailed Packing List Included)

Camping can be a thrill, and it can be even more fun when you bring your dog along. Camping with your dog gives you companionship and gives your pet the chance to exercise and experience new environments. But to ensure their safety and comfort, there are a few necessary items you should pack.

5 camping essentials for dogs are:

  1. Food
  2. Water
  3. Adventure gear
  4. Hygiene and welfare
  5. Medication

A camping trip with your dog requires a lot of planning since your pet will be spending time in an unfamiliar environment. Because of this, it is important you do everything you can for their safety and comfort. Below, we discuss everything you need to know about camping with your dog.

How To Prepare Your Dog For Camping

The success of a camping trip with your dog is determined by the level of preparation that you put in. Preparing your dog for camping entails everything you need to do before setting out for the trip. Below are the steps to take when preparing your dog for camping.

Vet Appointment

The safety of your pet is the most important thing, and you must ensure this by visiting the vet before traveling.A vet appointment before a camping tripmight involve vaccinations and a regular check-up, and grooming if necessary.

The first thing that the vet will do is check the health of your dog to see if it’s fit for camping. Once your dog is deemed healthy enough for camping, vaccinations may follow. The importance of vaccination prior to a camping trip cannot be overemphasized, because your dog will be exposed to potentially unsafe water and wild animals that can carry diseases.

On a camping trip, your dog may be near other dogs whose medical history you are not aware of. This makes up-to-date vaccinations a requirement, before every trip. The DHPP vaccinations and shots for tick and flea prevention should be administered to your dog before you go camping.


Grooming is important as well because it keeps your dog’s hair short and clean. A good grooming will also help keep them cool in warm weather. Your dog should have a microchip implanted if they don’t already. While it is not usually a requirement at campsites, microchips make it easier to find your dog if they go missing.

Campsite Research

A mistake that most pet owners make is failing to check if the campsite they intend to visit is pet friendly. There are many things that can go wrong if you take your dog to a campsite that does not cater to pets. Make sure to read up on the area to learn if there are animals and plants near the campsite that can harm your dog.

Bigger animals like bears, snakes, and coyotes pose a potential threat to your dog. Be sure to research the flora and fauna beforehand in order to have safety measures in place so you can protect your dog from these animals. Plants like poison ivy and stinging nettles can pose a problem as well.

You also need to research the dog policy of the campsite. Find out about the leash requirements because different campsites have their own regulations on leashes. While most campsites stipulate that the leash should not be more than six feet long, others do not accept retractable leashes. Confirm what the requirement is so you can avoid leaving home with the wrong leash.

Another thing to be sure of is the campsite’s policy on barking. Some campsites are not accepting of dogs that bark loudly and might ask you to vacate the premises. If you have a loud dog, it might be best to take them somewhere that is more accommodating.


It’s good practice to test your gear before a camping trip. In the same vein, it is important to train your dog for a camping adventure. Training your dog entails spending more time outdoors, creating simulations of camping activities, and socializing.

The fact that your dog is well-behaved at home has little bearing on how they will conduct themselves outdoors. This is because of the abundance of new sounds, smells, and sights, which might get them overly excited and reckless. Start the training by taking long walks. This will give you enough time to practice leash commands, as you will need your dog’s full cooperation at the campsite.

It’s important for your dog to spend a lot of time outside in preparation for the camping trip. For dogs that are used to being indoors, let them spend more time on the porch or in the yard. You can put their toys outside in order to provide a semblance of what to expect on the trip.

Simulate The Experience

Taking your dog on play dates will give you a full understanding of your dog’s social skills and attitude around other humans and animals. You can then determine if they need more training or if they are good to go. A trial run of a camping trip should follow the play dates. This can be done in your backyard with your tent, a campfire, and a group of friends.

Simulate a camping experience with a fire ring, food, and interactions. Keep your dog on a leash so you can see how they react. You can also sleep outdoors for the best results. You should also practice commands. Commands such as “sit,” “come,” “stay,” and “lie down” should be perfected before the trip. This will help to keep them in check during the trip.

5 Camping Essentials For Dogs

1. Food

Food should be the first item you think about when packing the camping essentials for your dog. You do not want your dog to be hungry and having to wander around looking for something to eat. Do not travel with the intention of giving them leftovers from your food. Instead, travel with their usual dog food, travel bowls, treats, and long-lasting chews.

Dehydrated dog food is a great choice for a camping trip, as it is lightweight. Travel bowls are also lightweight, allowing your dog to eat without making a mess outside your tent. Treats and long-lasting chews serve as snacks, especially on days when you go on any excursions away from the campsite.

2. Water

You do not want your dog to be dehydrated either, so it is important to travel with fresh, clean water. When you’re hiking or camping, watch your dog at all times to prevent them from drinking from ponds, streams, puddles, lakes, or any standing water around. These water sources might contain pathogens and parasites that are harmful to your dog. This is even more reason to pack a water filter.

3. Adventure Gear

Just as you need your gear, your dog will need its own gear too. Be sure to leave home with a leash – or two in case one breaks. A collar is important for identifying your dog, as it holds their ID tags. This way, your dog can be brought back to you in case they go missing. You can also consider a harness if your dog is used to them.

Dog backpacks come in handy if you intend to go hiking with your dog. Your dog can carry all their supplies including snacks, water, and poop bags. A safety light will make your dog visible at night, so it’s easy for bears and other wildlife to recognize their presence and avoid them.

Most people do not think much about it, but hiking boots are important for dogs too in many cases. These boots can protect them from harmful substances, bad weather, and foot injuries. It is therefore best to take a pair along for your dog. If you intend to engage in water sports, be sure to pack a life jacket for your dog as well.

4. Hygiene And Welfare

After considering their food, water, and adventure gear, you must ensure your dog is clean and comfortable at all times. Make sure to go along with poop bags, in order to dispose of your dog’s waste. This is crucial for the hygiene of everyone in the camping site. Also, consider cooling vests to keep your dog comfortable whenever it is hot.

A dog bed and a blanket should be packed so your dog can have warm and peaceful sleeps at night. If your dog sleeps in a crate at home, bring the crate along as well so your dog will have a known, comfortable place to sleep. Other things to carry include dog towels, sweaters, and toys.

5. Medication

The closest vet may be far away from your campsite, which is why it is essential to travel with any medication your dog may need. The first thing to tick off the list is a pet first aid kit. This kit will help you to handle cuts and scratches, and prevent wounds from becoming infected until you can visit the vet. Don’t forget insect repellent, as they protect your dog from bug bites.

While you might not use a dewormer on the trip, it doesn’t hurt to travel with it. Your dog might come into contact with excrement that contains worms, so it’s best to travel prepared. The vet records of your dog should be in your luggage, as some campsites require them before admitting your pet.

Other things to pack for your dog’s camping trip include sun protection, regular medication, and any supplements your dog may need. Shampoo is important as well for odor control in case your dog gets into something it shouldn’t or encounters a skunk. These items will keep them clean, safe, and healthy.

12 Safety Tips For Camping With Your Dog

1. Plan Ahead

Camping requires a lot of planning, even more so when you are going along with your favorite pet. It’s not always the best option to go on a spontaneous camping trip with your dog. You need to put things in order to so you can have a safe experience at the campsite. You should visit the vet for a check-up and any necessary vaccinations in advance of your trip.

It’s important to research the campsite too, in order to determine if they have a pet-friendly policy. You also need to prepare your dog for camping by teaching them commands, doing leash training, improving their social skills, and allowing them to get used to spending more time outdoors.

2. Take A Picture Of Your Dog

You probably have several pictures with your dog which you can find within seconds, but it’s important to take a picture of your dog just before you leave for your camping destination. The main purpose of this is for easy identification of your dog in case they go missing. Make sure that the picture is taken in good light, after the dog has been groomed.

Ensure that all unique markings or spots on your dog are featured prominently in the picture. This will help others to easily identify your dog. After you have taken the picture, print a hardcopy so you can keep one on you at all times.

3. Always Keep Your Dog Close

It’s important that you always keep your dog close to you during your camping trip. Leaving your dog unattended at any point can leave them in harm’s way. Keep them close to you during the car trip, at the campsite, and during any camping activity. This will ensure their safety throughout the duration of your camping trip.

4. Maintain A Balanced Ratio

The tip above says to always keep your dog close. In order to achieve this, it is important to maintain a balanced human-to-dog ratio. The perfect balance is one person per dog. Dealing with one dog can be stressful enough, and handling any more than two can be nearly impossible in some cases!

If you are taking more than one dog on the camping trip, make sure that there is at least one person for each dog. This will ease your burden so you can focus on having fun during your trip, and it also helps to have an extra person around in case of an emergency. If it’s just you (perhaps your family/friends) and your own dogs, you probably know how to handle them, so tune this ratio as required.

5. Bring Lots Of Toys

Dogs enjoy playing, so being idle at the campsite will only lead them to mischief. Bring along your dog’s favorite toys in order to keep them occupied at all times. Suitable toys for a camping trip include tennis balls, rope chews, and plushies. Make sure your dog does not wander too far whenever they are playing with their toys.

6. Look Out For Wildlife

Your dog’s biggest danger on a camping trip is the wildlife they can encounter. Wildlife to be wary of is not limited to the big animals like bears and coyotes, but it also includes harmful plants like poison ivy and stinging nettles. Always wear a safety light at night in order to alert wildlife (and other people) to the presence of your dog. Be sure to keep your dog leashed at all times.

7. Hydration

Your dog requires more water when camping outdoors than inside in the home. This is a result of the often high temperatures and levels of activity that they engage in when they are camping outdoors. Take enough clean water along with a bowl for easy drinking. With access to clean water, your dog is unlikely to go near unsafe water bodies at the camping site.

Make sure to check your dog’s water bowl from time to time and clean it out when it is dirty. Try to find a shaded spot for the water bowl in order to keep the water clean and cool for your dog’s consumption. Keeping your dog hydrated will also keep your dog more comfortable.

8. Don’t Forget The First-Aid Kit

Your dog’s first-aid kit is one of the first items that should go into your luggage. It’s essential for your dog’s safety and well-being. The first-aid kit should contain a digital thermometer, gauze, non-stick bandages, and your dog’s vet records and regular medications.

Any injuries to your dog can be quickly treated and disinfected using the items present in your first-aid kit. Vet records may also be required by the campsite before they let you in.

9. Take Breaks

Regular breaks are needed for your dog’s safety and well-being while camping. Your dog might be very energetic, causing them to keep moving even when they are feeling weak. This is why you should make it a habit to give them water once every hour.

Allow them to take breaks to rest and cool off. If you can hear your dog panting irregularly, it’s best to let them take a break. Use these breaks to check their body for injuries, scrapes, and ticks. Examine their head, neck, legs, toes, ears, and nose, especially if they’ve been playing in the rougher terrain.

10. Clean Up After Your Dog

Do not leave your dog’s waste laying around the campsite. Not only is it unhygienic to do this, it makes other campers uncomfortable and can ruin someone’s camping experience. Failing to clean your dog’s waste is an invitation to wildlife, too, as the smell attracts them.

If the area advises burying human waste, you can do this with dog waste (not including the bag) at least 200 feet from any water source. Be sure to follow any area-specific rules on this practice.

11. Fire Safety

While you can sit around a campfire with your human companions, it is not suitable for your dog. Keep your dog away from fires as even the smallest embers can hurt them. Seeing as a lot of food is cooked over fire while camping, it is important to keep your dog leashed when preparing a meal. Keep your dog in a cool spot away from the fire, where they can be safe and comfortable.

12. Have A Routine

Although the campsite is a new environment, your dog may need a sense of normality to feel comfortable. Doing things without any form of routine will affect your dog by causing anxiety. Try to carry out activities in a way that will keep your dog calm and comfortable. Have a set time for daily activities such as feeding, baths, and play.

Also, it might help to bring their best toys from home. These are a familiar item that will make it easier to settle in at the campsite. Having a set routine may go a long way in determining how much your dog enjoys the camping trip.

The Best Camping Activities For Your Dog

Once you have sorted out the safety and comfort of your dog, decide on what activities to engage in when camping. You need to keep your dog active, so why not have some fun? The list below suggests the best camping activities to engage in with your dog.


This is not a new game to your dog, and so they should have no problem participating in it. The open area of a campsite makes fetch enjoyable and one of the best camping activities for your dog. You can play fetch with a ball or stick, or anything else you find lying around that you don’t mind throwing away!


It’s hard to go wrong with this choice, as hiking is one of the highlights of camping. Ensure that your dog is physically fit and ready before you decide to go on a hike. In addition, carry out a survey of the hiking trail to be sure that it is free from dangerous wildlife and harmful plants.

Prepare your dog for the hiking trip by setting up their supplies in the dog backpack. Their supplies should include food and water.Make sure to put their hiking shoes on if they have them to protect them from hazards on the trail. Carry their first-aid box in your backpack in case of unforeseen emergencies.


Swimming is a fun activity for most dogs. If there’s a clear body of water at the campsite, then swimming is another activity that you can engage in. Be sure to put your dog in their life jacket before getting into any deep water. Other water sports to engage in are kayaking and canoeing. If your dog has no experience swimming, it is best to start in the shallow areas.

Final Thoughts

These camping essentials for dogs are for their comfort and safety. Although camping with your dog can be a fun experience, it often takes more planning than if you were to camp with other people. But if you do things right, your next outing with your furry friend will be a blast for both of you!