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The Beginner’s Guide to Camping with your Dog

dog camping and hiking on mountain

If you haven’t noticed, Nathan and I really enjoy camping. And the first thing a lot of people said when we talked about getting a dog was, “what are you going to do with it when you camp?” or “your tent will REEK of wet dog though”. Of course, this didn’t dissuade us from getting our little pupper, and after several nights camping with us so far this summer, I’d say our little Mosley is becoming a seasoned pro.

So, as I’m rather impressed that we were able to get the MOST hyperactive dog (border collie/aussie shepherd) to chill out in the campsite and learn to love the tent, I thought I’d share my successes (and failures) with you lovely people.

camping with dog, sleeping in tent

What To Bring:

The packing step is the first step in your dog camping journey, and may I say, the most important step. Make sure you bring the things listed below, or you’ll be left trying to improvise like we did.

  • a long leash – this will allow you to tie your dog up to trees or picnic tables and not have to worry about them running off or bothering other dogs. We forgot our 20ft leash at home, so had to improvise with Nathan’s magic rope tying skills and Mosley’s regular leash.
  • portable food and water bowls – once again, we are terrible dog parents and forgot to bring anything for Mosley to eat out of. He ended up drinking out of Nathan’s portable hiking cup, and eating out of a togo french fry box until we finally bought a tupperware for him.
  • a blanket – this will be a lifesaver while driving and in the tent. There’s nothing worse that dirty dog paws walking all over your back seats, and at night, you can take the blanket and put it at the foot of your tent for your pup. (This is if you’re like us and haven’t splurged on the ever confusing “dog sleeping bag”. Like how the hell does a dog stay in a sleeping bag???).
  • a towel – unless you want the dreaded wet dog smell to linger around you your whole camping trip, a towel would be smart.
  • your worst tent – until your dog is used to being in a tent, I wouldn’t recommend bringing your fancy shmancy tent. Maybe even buy some cheap thing from Canadian Tire if you don’t have anything that can get a claw through it. The first few nights in the tent can be a bit intimidating, and ours definitely got a hole in it from Mosley’s desperate attempt at clawing his way out…
  • bug spray for pets– this is something we didn’t do for our last camping trip, and man, I felt so bad. Poor Mosley had bug bites on top of bug bites on his nose. He had so many all over him I felt like a terrible mother, but we didn’t know if we could use our bug spray on him. So, don’t be like us and bring some bug spray for your pet…

camping in yukon, canada tent view

While At Camp:

  • be aware of the timeĀ – there were a few nights when we were out having a nice stroll before bed, and of course, Mosley decided to leap in a river, or romp around in a muddy puddle. This led to us going to bed a bit later than planned because we had to dry off our dumb little pup.
  • make the fire less scary – when Mosley first saw the fire he was NOT impressed. We slowly showed him how it wasn’t scary and eventually (after a long-ass time to be honest), he relaxed enough to be near the fire and get the benefits of mosquito repellent smoke.
  • make use of the picnic tablesĀ – picnic tables were our best friend on our camping trips recently. We would tie him up to the table leg with a few feet of leash and let him do his thing. Just make sure that your dog has enough room to roam, but not enough to go knock your camping chair into the fire pit…

During The Day:

The best advice I can give for bringing your pet camping is to TIRE THEM OUT during the day. It will be such a blessing if you get back to camp after a long day of hiking and your dog just goes to sleep for the night after dinner.

Other than that, having a dog while camping is the best! You get a constant form of distraction and it allows your dog to explore new things and places too!

Will you ever go camping with your dog? Let me know! And make sure to pin this post for later!

dog sleeping in tent












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