Camping with a dog

One of the best memories in life is to go camping with your dog. It is absolutely wonderful to spend some nights under the starry sky where you are free from all the disturbances of life, no telephones, no messages, only you with your loved ones around you and your beloved dog.

Summers are the best times to relax and rejuvenate. You will see the National Parks being flocked by thousands of camping enthusiasts during this time of the year. But it’s not just limited to the summers time alone these days. Winter Camping has become very popular and with the many variances makes camping a 4 season affair.

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Camping with a Dog Tip #1

Attach a temporary dog tag (can be bought cheaply) along with your dogs regular tag, naming the park where you’re staying, the campsite number and the phone number of the nearest ranger station if in a wilderness area

is camping world dog friendly

Camping with dogs can be as challenging to say the least. So, before you actually take your dog out for camping to one of these places there are certain essential things that you must keep in mind.

There are essentials that you must be aware of. A little information and research will help you greatly. In this article we will help you with some very vital information on things to keep in mind while camping with a dog.

What are these important things to know? Let us find out.

Camping with a Dog Tip #2

You need to be able to safely restrain your dog when you’re setting up camp, pitching a tent or your neighbours cooking is driving your dog crazy with desire. So bring a tether that can easily be moved from place to place. This will keep your dog close, happy and safe

camping with a dog checklist

Regulations to Know

There are many things that you must be aware of while going for a camp with your dogs. This includes things like knowing the rules and regulations in the states regarding camping, camping essentials that you may need for your dog. In identifying all this you might have to ponder on the type of camp you are going on.

To list these – first thing to do is to ensure that you are abiding by the rules and laws of the state you are in while in a camp. Before embarking on that camping journey you must ensure that you check the laws prevalent in the state that you are camping in.

You must check if it is even allowed. Check if you need any kind of paperwork or any special approval for the state you are residing in. If there is anything required ensure that you have all necessary approvals and paperwork before proceeding on your camping tour.

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Camping with a Dog Tip #3

Along with your regular lead, bring a short lead as well. In heavily wooded areas it is a good idea to keep your dog close so that you both don’t get wrapped around a tree or worse…

camping with a dog in hot weather

FAQ – How Can I Take My Dog Rooftop Camping?

The biggest problem is getting your dog up into the rooftop tent. Most rooftop tents have human friendly ladders to get atop your vehicle and into your tent. We haven’t found a manufacturers solution so far. Most people build some kind of ramp for the dog. Not the most portable solution. We will keep looking for you and update this FAQ when we find an answer worth sharing.

Second – you must ensure that you have all the essentials that you need for your dog while on the camp. This includes things like – leashes, sleeping bags, and other accessories, dog lights, etc. These are bare necessities you must have in every camping trip you go on with your dog.

Based on the type of the camp the essentials that you need will also vary. So you will have to list out your essentials on the basis of the camp type. For instance, adventure or hiking camps will need different kinds of equipment and accessories than required in an RV van or camp.

Let us look at all the essential information in detail.

Camping with a Dog Tip #4

Pack a collapsible water bowl for your dog. Dehydration is a real danger for dog and human alike when going on hikes. The collapsible bowl becomes a great way to hydrate your dog and also serves as a way to scoop and deliver a substantial amount of water to your thirsty pooch.

camping with pets queensland
FAQ: How can I prepare my dog for camping for the first time?

The best thing you can do is start preparing at home. Aside from taking them for walks in the bush near home to get them used to that kind of environment, there are other things you can do. Set up your tent in the back yard and let them get familiar with the in & outs of  the tent. They will recognise it when camping and feel better about this strange new place.

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Rules & Regulations for Dog Camping in Different States

Thankfully for you, your pets are allowed in almost all the state parks and forests in the United States. All that is required is a leash that should not be more than six feet. Some of the states also offer cabins for visitors that wish to stay overnight with their pets. There are 15 national parks that are declared as epics which include Fall Creek Falls Park in Tennessee, Ecola State Park in the state of Oregon along with Palo Duro Canyon State Park in the state of Texas.

Along with the state parks, in about 38 out of the 50 US states, pets are allowed. And the same rule applies – they must be kept in a leash that does not exceed more than 6 feet.

Let us look at the rules that are applicable in some of the states:

Camping with a Dog Tip #5

Ticks can be a real threat to the health of your dog in the great outdoors. Make sure you have given your lovable hound some tick protection like Bravecto before you go. A single does can last 12 weeks.

camping dog enclosure

Alabama – The state of Alabama is full of parks for the camping lover in you. Some of the State and the County parks like the Cheaha State Park and many other county and city parks allow dogs with a leash not more than 6 feet.

The Alabama State parks however require the pets to be caged, crated, or with a 6 feet leash. The best part is that the dogs are allowed in the campgrounds as well but not in the pool, bathhouse, or swimming pools. Many State Parks also offer dog friendly overnight cabins to make your camping an experience of a lifetime.

Alaska – Pets are allowed in Alaska State parks and campgrounds and in recreational areas such as picnic spots, trail heads and parking lots. The dog needs to be leashed and accompanied by the owner at all times. If unleashed they need to be within the reach of the owner and guided by voice commands. 

No restriction on the leash lengths is specified for camping in this state. Though authorities may need you to produce Rabies Inoculation documents on a case to case basis but you may want to check with them beforehand.

Camping with a Dog Tip #6

Along with a first aid kit for yourself, bring your dog’s first aid kit. You may think camping activity is going from your tent to the campfire, but your dogs sense of exploration may involve a whole lot more activity and an increased chance of injury.

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Arizona – Arizona has quite a few state county and city parks where you can take your dog for camping. These include Arizona State parks,county parks in Maricopa and Pima, city parks in Mesa, Phoenix and Tucson. All these parks need the dog to be leashed with a leash not more than 6 feet in length.

California – The state of California has a lot of state, county and city parks. In general in all the parks you can take your dog out on camping provided the dog is leashed with a leash not exceeding 6 feet in length. As such the rules are pretty relaxed for camping with dogs California and for camping with dogs northern California. So, taking your dog out for camping in the State of California is one of the easiest things to do.

Camping with a Dog Tip #7

Bring an all-weather tarp to place under your dogs bedding. Hyperthermia is a real possibility in colder weather, especially for short haired dogs. This will reduce the amount of body heat absorbed into the earth and will keep your furry buddy nice and warm.

camping dog tie out

Colorado – Colorado has some beautiful parks such as the Colorado State Parks, the Denver City Parks and then the County Parks and open spaces in Larimer. While the rule remains the same for State and County parks i.e. leash not exceeding 6 feet, for City parks and open spaces a leash not exceeding 10 feet length is required.

Florida – The state of Florida is again one of the states that has always remained a favorite summer holidays spot for people around the world. For Americans who love camping in the summers, all the State, County, and City parks, the rules are pretty much the same as other states. The rule being that dogs need to be leashed at all times and the lead length should not exceed 6 feet. There are designated day use areas for the pets in most of the Florida State Parks.

Camping with a Dog Tip #8

Don’t forget to bring more food than you think you’ll need for your dog. All that running around will surely increase your dogs appetite. Also if you’re in bear country, be reminded to pack your dogs food along with our own, in your bear box….you did bring one didn’t you?

Be Your Own Dog Whisperer 

camping dog house

Illinois – The state of Illinois has dog friendly designated areas in its State, County, and City parks. In State parks, the dogs have to be leashed and should not exceed more than 10 feet in length. You may even take your dogs to the Mackinaw Wildlife area and experience the excitement and adventure of real camping with the only condition of having them leashed.

Kentucky – The Kentucky State Parks allows the pets in designated areas only as long as the pets are leashed. The pets may be allowed in campgrounds too but obviously leashed. Pets are however not allowed on park trails or areas where the land is being shared with the State’s Natural Preserves or in areas of archaeological areas.

Massachusetts – Massachusetts is one another state with some of the most famous State, County, and City parks. While there is no specification on the leash size for county and city parke, the State Parks need the dogs to be leashed in leash sizes not to exceed 10 feet. Some of them may want you to produce a Rabies Inoculation Certificate as well. So be sure to take the proofs and certificates along.

Camping with a Dog Tip #9

We’ve mentioned the reason for a short lead and now you’ll need a long lead. these leads are great for around your campsite so the dogs can run around and have fun without getting lost or in trouble munching on your neighbors hamburger patties. They’ll get into restrained mischief with a long lead

camping with your dog

Nevada – The state of Nevada has some of the most sprawling open spaces and campsites. In the State parks pets are allowed with the usual 6 feet limit on the leash length. However dogs are not allowed from 15th April till 15th October at Sand Harbor as the number of visitors during this time of the year is very high.

New York – New York as well has hoards of state, county and city parks all known for their beauty and serenity. If you are a summer camping lover, the state of New York has an exhaustive list of parks that let you take your dog along with you. They have to be leashed and the length of the leash as usual should not exceed more than 6 feet. Some of them might even want you to provide a proof for rabies inoculation but that is not always required. But ensure you carry all pertinent paperwork relevant to your pet while moving to your camping location.

Camping with a Dog Tip #10

Buy a good quality dog harness. Some of thesse harnesses come with saddle bags so your dog can carry stuff for you and for themselves. Some harnesses come with handles so you can lift your dog into the back of a truck or even LED lights so you can keep track of them in the evening hours while hiking. Harnesses have too many features to mention them all here

Calm That Yappy Dog Like Yota 

tips for camping with a dog

Pennsylvania – In Pennsylvania, the State, County, and City parks as well as the forest systems allow camping with dogs. The general 6-feet leash rule for dogs apply on all parks along with a few norms, rules and regulations that may be required to be followed in the respective parks as per the respective park authorities. Some State parks allow the pets in only designated areas and are prohibited in some other areas such as swimming areas, overnight areas etc.

Tennessee – In the state of Tennessee, the dogs are allowed in all major State and City Parks. There are no restrictions as such on the leash length as well. However the dogs you are taking along must be leashed at all times. There are some off-leash areas as well where you can let your dogs be, but apart from that the rule-book wants them to be leashed.

Camping with a Dog Tip #11

Take your dogs vet records with you when you travel. You never know when you’re going to need them and wouldn’t it be great if you had them in an emergency. You also look like a boss to the vet who’ll be treating your dog. Yeh baby!!

camping with dog brisbane

Texas Texas is yet another dog-friendly state that allows dogs to be taken to its parks. Be it the State, the City, or the County parks dogs are allowed everywhere provided they are leashed with a leash no more than 6 feet length.

Utah – In the state of Utah, you can visit the State parks or the city parks of the Salt Lake City. No matter where you go hitch hiking or camping, you can take your dogs along without any issues. The condition remains the same – the same 6 foot leash rule applies and then you will have to also ensure that the pets are not left unattended to. The pets are allowed only in the campgrounds and nowhere near the buildings or establishments including developed beaches.

Camping with a Dog Tip #12

If you’re camping and hiking in country that has a lot of sticker burrs or any such things designed to stick to animal fur, you’ll like this tip. Bring a spray bottle of Showsheen with you and spray your dogs fur before you head off into burr country. The burrs will just comb out when the hiking is all done

camping dog leash

Washington – The state of Washington is full of beautiful parks that make for an exciting campsite. In all its parks and trails the dogs are allowed. They need to be kept leashed at all times. Certain parks such as the Kitsap County Park have different rules for different reserves you are visiting. Some allow pets in a leash while some do not allow any pets. You better check with the park authorities beforehand to avoid any last minute hassles.

For more information on the rules for all the states you can visit the website below:

Now let us look at some other essential things that you must know based on the types of camp.

Camping with a Dog Tip #13

A self filling spill proof dog water bowl is an essential item to bring for your dog. It not only insures that your dog stays hydrated over an extended period of time. It simply makes less work for you and gives you peace of mind

camping sites with dog kennels

Types of Camping

Before you decide to take your dog out for camping, you must also determine the things that you may need while you take your dog out on camping. That is because there are different types of camping and based on the nature of campsites you would be visiting the needs and requirements and the prerequisites may change.


Question: How can I control my dog from being so reactive and from barking uncontrollably when camping?

Answer Tips:  Reactivity and excessive barking may be resolved with prior training. Train your dog in advance of camping so that learn to be comfortable outside their home environment. Long walks on a lead in a wooded area near your home is a good start. Also when choosing a campsite choose one that has some distance from other campsites and has a nice buffer of trees between camps

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For instance if you are simply visiting a State Park for a summer camping, the things that you might need to pack for your dog will be different from going on a campsite near the mountains or going for hiking. So based on the type of camp you are going on your needs will vary. Let us list what all you may need based on some of the camp types.

Camping with a Dog Tip #14

It’s a no brainer for you to bring enough life jackets for all the people boating with you. what about one specifically designed for your dog? Especially if you like to Kayak in fast water, then inreasing the safety of your dog by having a lifejacket just makes too much sense.

camping with a dog nz

Tent Camping – If you are putting up tents in a campsite, ensure you put up one for your dog as well, a spacious one so that it can get enough space too. Ensure that you have plenty of good dog food and water for your dog available there.

Make sure you have packed dog food bowls as they will be required. The portable ones are a good option to carry. Do not forget to carry several leashes with you – remember the dog has to be kept in leash at all times almost everywhere in a campsite.

RV & Van Camping – Since you and your dog will be sleeping inside the van during the nights, and may be during the lazy summer afternoons as well, you may not be needing sleeping bags. Be sure to pack lots of dog food, dog bowls, leashes and of course dog poop bags to keep your RV clean.

Camping with a Dog Tip #15

If you’re tent camping, what size tent should you bring? If there are 2 humans and 2 average sized dogs, then bring a 4 person tent (dogs are people too right!). It only makes sense to give everyone room to move and sleep. Lets face it, your dog is sleeping in the tent with you. Goes without saying.

solo camping with a dog

Backpacking – If you are on a backpacker expedition ensure that your dog’s collar has an ID tag that is updated with legible and accurate information. Though this is a requirement for all camping types, with backpackers special care need to be taken lest the dog may get lost. You can also think of having a GPS beacon installed for your dog.

Survival Camping – These are interesting campsites to take your dogs to. But ensure you are taking good care of them. Before taking them to such a camp get them up to date with all the medications and shots they need. Carry a copy of the medical records along with you. Some other things you may need to keep your dog safe and healthy will be a sleeping bag, dog food, along with a first aid kit.

Camping with a Dog Tip #16

dont forget to pack a good quality fur brush with you. Once the dogs get a wiff of all those wonderfuls scents, they will be going “walkabout” and bringing home burrs and unmentionables galore inbeded in their fur. Bring a brush!

camping with a dog exmouth

Car Camping – When car camping, you would certainly won’t like your dog to wander too far away from the car. As such you can carry a stake and cable leash combo for your dog that lets it stay around without letting it disturb any fellow campers. The other needs of food and other supplies remain the same.

Winter Camping – When the weather gets colder, camping in tents may get difficult provided you have ample arrangements to keep your dog cosy. For camping in winters it is always recommended to get a sleeping bag for your dog. It can sleep on it too in summers if it wants to avoid the hard floor of the tent. For protecting it from cold you can get outerwear as well for your dog.

Camping with a Dog Tip #17

If you’re tent camping, what size tent should you bring? If there are 2 humans and 2 average sized dogs, then bring a 4 person tent (dogs are people too right!). It only makes sense to give everyone room to move and sleep. Lets face it, your dog is sleeping in the tent with you. Goes without saying.

camping with dog ottawa

Hiking – Hiking is one other camping activity that needs special care on your part for your canine. So, think of getting your doggie’s own backpack. Other things you can get for your dog can be a pair of dog boots so that it does not have to do all the hiking barefoot.

Adventure Camping – In adventure camping trips bringing your dog along is a good idea provided your dog is ID tagged, you have plenty of dog food stacked and it is in its best health. The other requisites still remain but those are a few in this camping type.

Rooftop Camping Rooftop camping serves best when you have a car or a pick up van. Since this is more or less similar to tent camping, the requirements remain the same – plenty of dog food, dog food bowls, dog poop bags, among other things.

For more information on dog camping requirements follow:

Camping with a Dog Tip #18

Doggy zip lines are a great idea when all the hiking, boating, and frolicking is done. You may be winding down but your dogs may still want to patrol and survey their protectorate. So a zip line contains them with the illusion of freedom. They know it’s their duty to protect their human family. You’re just helping them be all they can be. Everyone is happy. Is it Miller time yet?

Whisper your dog to be a happy camper  ▶︎

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