What you need to know before camping with dogs

Dog-Camping motto: be prepared

Be prepared!
Be prepared!
OK, you know how to pack for a camping trip. But add a dog to the family mix, and there are extra things to consider. For starters, how will he/she travel, as camping equipment takes up a lot of space in the SUV? Sleep (crated or pacing around your tent)? Stay put at a campsite (dogs wandering loose can get you in trouble)? And what about bears? Here are some thoughts.

At the campsite: Leashed dogs are allowed in campsites, but don’t let Bella wander around loose. How to keep her contained? A leash around a picnic table leg or other object will work, but you might want to consider a ground cable or stakeout to give her more freedom of movement while you’re grilling those hot dogs and burgers.

Before you go, be sure to review California leash laws for forest servicestate parks and other public lands. Individual RV Parks and campgrounds may impose other regulations. Review campfire regulations, too, as at many locations, wood and charcoal fires are prohibited during fire season.

How will your pup travel, and where will she sleep? Dogs can get hyper when they sense something new is going on, and you don’t want them hopping around inside your vehicle or tent. Your pup might be crate trained, but even so, unless you have a minivan or such, those heavy plastic cages can block visibility.

If you don’t have a collapsible wire crate, you might want to invest in one. They fold down flat and are great not just for hotel and motel stays, but for your tent, as well. If your dog is crated (either in the tent or in your vehicle), she won’t be tempted to bark at wildlife or otherwise pace around in the night. Trust us, you’ll both sleep better!

About those bears: No 1 rule: Keep a spotlessly clean camp! That means locking food up in bear-proof boxes (not in the car) and not leaving so much as a bite of kibble in the dog bowl outside. Always be bear-aware – and raccoon-aware, too. 

Dog first-aid kit: Before you take off, take time to assemble a dog first-aid kit. DogTrekker.com lays out the essentials here.  

Posted on: July 26, 2022

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