camping with pets

The Ultimate Guide to Camping With Pets

According to a survey done by the American Veterinary Medical Association, 85 percent of dog owners and 76 percent of cat owners consider their pets to be members of their families.

In many ways, we regularly treat our furry friends like our children. We feed them, bathe them, take them to the vet, and spoil them with toys and treats.

So it makes sense that when it comes time to take a camping trip, you will want to bring your best animal friend. Camping with pets can be fun and memorable for you and your pets. But how can you make sure that camping with your pets will be fun and safe for everyone?

If you’re unsure how to adjust your camping plans to include your furry sidekick, read on to find out how to camp with pets.

Are Your Furry Friends Welcome?

The first thing to consider is choosing a campsite that allows dogs and other animals.

This is very important!

It would be a waste of time and money to show up at a campsite with all your gear only to realize your animals aren’t allowed on the premises.

Check a campsite’s rules and regulations before you book any camping spaces. If your animals aren’t allowed, rest assured it is probably for a good reason. And it is best to adhere to those rules since they’re in place for your pet’s safety.

When choosing a campsite, there are many things to consider, but the most important thing is to make sure everyone can come in.

Make More Space

Think of your animal as another person when it comes to making space for them in your car, tent, or RV. You want to give them enough room in all these places so that they are comfortable and feel as cozy as you do.

While traveling in the car, make sure your pet has enough room in their seat or carrier. If they are sitting in your backseat or passenger seat, make sure your camping supplies aren’t crowding them and that they are secure and safe.

When it comes to your tent, give your pet the same space you would give another person. That may mean bringing a bigger tent if you have a small one or sharing your tent with someone.

This rule should apply to any space where you will be spending time.

Are you planning to go kayaking? Make sure you have a kayak big enough to fit you, your pet, and whoever is coming along comfortably. Don’t forget a towel for your pet, too!

Pack Smart

One of the biggest camping tips is to make sure you pack smart!

Camping with dogs, cats, or other animals means you will need to pack everything essential to ensure they are safe and enjoy the great outdoors with you.

You will want to bring items that will withstand outdoor weather and aren’t easily breakable. For example, you will want to get reusable, collapsible water and food bowls made of durable, easy to wash metal or plastic.

If you are bringing your dog or cat, you will want to make sure to take their regular leash and a backup.

Your animals should never roam a campsite by themselves. Letting them off-leash leaves them vulnerable to being attacked by animals, stolen by people, or able to run towards danger while chasing a squirrel or bird.

You will also want to bring a couple of weatherproof sweaters for them. Bring shoes for them if their paws are exposed to too-hot surfaces, snow, or anything else that will be painful or harmful.

Bring a durable bed for your pet so they can opt to lounge in it when you sit outside or sleep on it in your tent. Make sure to bring a mattress that you don’t mind laying on the ground. If possible, find a water-resistant one.

If you plan to hike, invest in a small backpack for your pet. You can even buy one that they carry themselves. Then, you can put light supplies inside to take on your hike.

Make sure to bring plenty of poop bags, litter, or anything else your pet uses to do their business.

Food Duties

It makes no sense to bring an entire bag of heavy food with you—unless you have many pets, of course!

Take the right amount of food on your camping trip, then pack some more just in case. Your pets will likely be using more energy than usual when camping, so they may be hungrier than usual.

If you’re worried about carrying heavy food, freeze-dried or dehydrated food is another option and will be much lighter. Just make sure to test the food on your pet before your trip to make sure they approve of it.

Make sure also to bring a good amount of treats for your pets, so they don’t feel left out when the humans are roasting marshmallows. Bring a variety of treats, so they don’t get bored of the same flavors day after day.

It’s essential to ensure your pet’s food is stored in an airtight plastic bin—if you can find a waterproof one, even better.

This will make it easy to transport, store, and keep bugs out of the food. That last one is critical because you don’t want to attract insects and other animals to your campsite.

You also want to make sure that when you give your pets treats, they eat them and don’t leave them out or on the ground for other animals to find.

Bring bottled or filtered water for your pets. It’s smart, safe, and will ensure they never go thirsty while you’re exploring the great outdoors.

Don’t forget to pack reusable plastic cutlery to use if your pet requires any wet food.

Safety First

Your pet will need emergency and safety supplies just like you do.

First, if your pet requires any medications, make sure to take them all with you. Keep them in a safe, sealed place where they won’t be exposed to sun or rain.

You should also put together an emergency bag for your pet that is separate from yours, so you’re not stuck rifling through items in case of an emergency.

Your emergency bag should contain some essential tools:

  • Tweezers to remove possible insect stingers or ticks
  • Benadryl in case of a reaction (this is only for dogs or cats, and make sure to give a safe amount)
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Gauze pads
  • Antibacterial pain-relieving ointment
  • Vet medical tape

You will also want to put a bandana in your emergency bag. This can be used to wipe your dog down with water or help create some shade for them if they are hot. You can also use it to cover and tie around any open wounds that might happen.

Consider packing a muzzle for your pet. For example, if you need to remove porcupine quills from their skin, you may need a muzzle to make this easier and keep everyone safe.

Invest in a collar light for your pet if applicable. This will help you see them in the confusion that is the woods and keep them visible to you for night hikes when you want to stargaze.

Don’t Forget the Toys

You bring activities to entertain yourself when you go camping, so your pets should have things to keep them busy and happy too.

Make sure to bring durable toys that outside elements will not ruin. If your pet’s toy has smaller or easy-to-lose parts, it’s best to leave those at home. If your pet has a favorite toy, it might be best to leave that at home, too, in case they lose it.

Make sure to monitor the location of your pet’s toys, so you don’t accidentally leave them behind. If your pet tends to rip up their toys, make sure to collect any fluff or stuffing that comes out of them.

You can also invest in entertaining toys or games for your pet, like laser pointers. There are also toys you can hide treats in and leave for your pet to try and fish the treat out.

A pet with toys is a happy pet!

Time to Go Camping With Pets

Now you know the in’s and out’s of taking your pets camping with you; it’s time to enjoy your time together outdoors.

Camping with pets can be done if you’re prepared, packed, and ready for anything. At Camping Buffs, we offer information about everything you need to know before going on your camping trip.

Check out our camping page to read up on everything you need to know for your next trip!