Let’s face it – there’s not a ton we’re able to do this year in terms of travel. Staycations are seemingly the most feasible option this summer. Our choices are limited and international travel is out of the picture. What better time than to explore our very own good ole USA? But what about travel and hotels and restaurants? We still can’t travel and go to those places. Enter the perfect solution – camping. Not only do you bring and cook your own sleeping quarters and food, in my opinion it’s one of the best ways to see the most beauty in any given state. The biggest perk? You get to bring your dog.
In case you’re someone who just got a dog during this quarantine (woohoo!) or have just never taken them camping before, I had a few quick tips to think about when planning a trip where you’ll be camping with your dog.
Tip #1: Research
A lot of campgrounds allow dogs and even have small dog parks. However, if you’re wanting to stay in a national park – definitely do your research. Some are fine with dogs visiting but not staying, some are totally dog friendly. Do your research and know going in that you might be limited in your activities. Each park’s website clearly states its rules and policies so make sure to check it out. Here is a helpful map that shows where dog-friendly parks are at and which ones don’t allow them.
Tip #2: Your Dog Will Be Your Shadow
This goes with tip #1 but be prepared that your dog will always be with you. Leaving your dog at the campground or in a car (obvs) is not an option. You won’t ever be without your dog so keep that in mind when planning activities. This also includes sleeping. Most campgrounds require your dog to sleep with you in the car or in a tent.
Tip #3: Remember to put their food with yours when storing it.
The smell of their food will attract wildlife. On the note, only take their food out when they’re feeding. Don’t leave their food out at the campground for them to graze over the course of the day. Feed them intentionally and then put the food away to be on the safe side of any wildlife wandering into camp. If you’re camping with other dogs, I would recommend feeding them away from the other dogs in a different space especially if the dogs do not live together normally. That could be the car, the tent, or just a little ways off. Dogs get protective over their food, especially in a camping setting. Scout often won’t feel comfortable enough to eat until we’re in a different space.
Tip #4: Double-Check Your Dog is Protected
When taking your dog to new environments, it may be exposed to new things. For example, I live in Southern California. There isn’t a tick problem there so Scout doesn’t get automatic protection for them. However, if I’m going to take him to Northern California, tick protection is just one I can’t forget. Also, you don’t know what wildlife (or scat) they’ll come across or even other people’s dogs! Make sure your pup is up to date on all vaccines before heading out.
Tip #5: Keep your dog on leash at the campground
Obviously this rule doesn’t apply if you’re on private land but keep your dog on leash at the campground – most of them require it. 2 options that make this easy are to either get a stake in the ground to hook them up to or get a hands free leash so they are attached to you around your waist but you have both hands free.
Tip #6: Don’t forget your poop bags
It may seem counter-intuitive to pick up dog poop when you’re in the great outdoors but since you’re sharing the space with other people, no one wants a hike ruined because they stepped in dog poop. Keep those bags handy! I have a holder for mine that hangs on the outside of my hiking backpack so they are ready to go.
Tip #7: Cherish this!
Camping with a dog isn’t hard. You will have to pack more and plan a little more but what a privilege to have an activity or trip that your little pup can go on. For me, Scout enhances the whole experience TEN FOLD and I never regret maybe missing out on a trail because Scout couldn’t go. I’m just happy that not only I get to experience but I get to provide this experience for him.
Bonus Tip: Have a Packing List!
I’ve made a complete packing list for everything I bring for Scout when I take him camping. Just enter your e-mail down below and you will get the printable PDF so you can check off your items as you pack ’em for when you want to go camping with your dog. If you have any questions, comment them down below or comment on one of my pictures on Instagram and I’ll get back to you!