Camping with Dogs

Camping with dogs can be a challenge but also some of the best camping experiences.

We have two beagles, Brisco and Delilah, who LOVE going camping with us. If you have ever owned beagles, you know just how much they love all those new smells. Both have their own needs and we try our best to accommodate for them.

Delilah and Brisco

Food & Water

How complicated can food and water be? Consider these questions when you begin planning your trip:

  • What type of wildlife will you encounter?
  • How are you going to carry/store food?
  • What feeding system do you have?
  • How much extra water do you need?

The type of wildlife you encounter will greatly effect how you store your dog’s food. If you’re in bear country, you really need to take extra precautions to prevent attracting bears to your camp.

Rebel and Brisco

For car camping, we use sealed tubs to store food. It is more convenient than hauling the bag around and also keeps their food dry in case of rain. We pre-measure the amount of food required for the days we will be gone and add two or three extra days just in case something happens.

There are many factors when it comes to water. If you are planning on bringing all of your water with you, try to pay attention to how much water your dog needs at home. Then bring that plus extra. After all, they are going to be more exposed to the elements and may drink more while camping.

Delilah hiking the Slate River

If you’re lucky enough to have access to clean water at your camp, you have a little more flexibility. We usually bring our water with us in our MSR Dromedary Bags and refill them with stream or creek water. We purify the water with our MSR Guardian Filter system. This puts less pressure on us to bring the proper amount of water.

We never allow our dogs to drink directly out of streams or lakes because the same parasites that effect us can effect them too. If it’s not safe for you, it’s not safe for them.

Brisco and Rebel

One of my favorite camping items is my Ollybottle. This water bottle has a detatachble bowl for dogs. It makes it much easier to provide them with water when we are out on our hikes.

Ollybottle

Shelter

In the past, our dogs have slept in our tent with us. When we switched to hammocks, we had to come up with another solution. My ideal option is to have them sleep in the hammocks with us. However, Brisco and Delilah are not fond of the hammocks.

Delilah in a Hammock

Instead, we have been leaving them in the car at night. We make sure we always park in a very shaded spot that will keep the morning sun off of the car. We also put up reflective material over the car to help insulate from heat.

To help with air circulation, we keep the windows cracked and place bug netting over the car to prevent biting insects from making their way in and bothering the dogs.

Brisco bug free in his old crate. We have a larger one for him now that folds down for easy of packing.

If keeping your pup in you vehicle, remember to put away all food items and anything that they may get into. Delilah is notorious for getting into things. Our last trip, she opened a box of graham crackers and ate an entire package. We also make sure to put all bug spray and any essential oils we have out of reach.

First Aid and Medicines

When Brisco was a puppy we were staying at a rental house up north. Upon arrival, he managed to get his nail stuck in his kennel and tore it. Luckily, we had our first aid kit. We were able to clean and wrap his paw to stop any bleeding and protect from infection.

Brisco with his bandaged foot

I cannot stress enough how important it is to modify your first aid kit to include extra or special items that might be useful for your dog. Be sure to include any special medications they have or if it’s around that time of the month, their heartworm medications. Check with your vet for ideas of what items would be good to include in your kit.

It is also a good idea to know where the nearest vet clinic is and have their number available in case of emergency.

Additional Considerations

Brisco at Bond Falls

While planning your adventure make sure you check to see what the pet policies are. There is nothing more disappointing then planning trips and finding our your dogs aren’t allowed to do most it. Be sure the hikes you plan are appropriate for your dog’s health. Just like with people, pushing your dog beyond it’s physical abilities can cause harm.

Brisco with a raw hide

Additional items we pack for the dogs vary depending on the activities we are doing.

  • Delilah’s Kennel (she gets car sick and being in her kennel sometimes helps)
  • Towels, especially if we are going to a lake
  • Extra Blankets for those chilly nights
  • Life vest (optional, lake or water activities)
  • Toys (something they can spend hours chewing on)
  • Tie outs or rope lines for at the camp
  • Baggies
  • Extra leash and collar (experience has taught us that leashes sometimes get destroyed)
  • Picnic Blanket for laying on outside (helps keep biting bugs off of your dog)
  • Flea comb (helps find ticks)

What items do you take with you for your pets when you camp?

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