Molly Hitchings

Camping with Dogs

Molly Hitchings
Camping with Dogs

Although our dog, Rye, is quite the outdoor connoisseur, he's also quite the diva. He doesn't enjoy sleeping in the dirt, and would like to be tucked into bed. But then again, who doesn't.

We absolutely love being able to bring our pup camping. Most campsites we have found, state and national parks, are pet friendly -- the restrictions are mostly on the hiking trails. Here are a few tips and tricks for camping safely with your barking buddy.


 Medical Attention

  • First Aid: You should always know what your dog is allergic to, their medical needs, and then be prepared for the worst. Just like you bring a first aid kit for yourself, having a dog first aid kit is just as important. The only other person who knows your dog’s medical needs and history, is your vet. Asking your vet for any insight is a good place to start when you are making a list of things to put into your dog’s first aid kit. Also wouldn't hurt to take a dog first aid class to be knowledgeable in case of emergency. Especially if you're a few hours away from the nearest dog hospital. Which brings me to...

  • Know the nearest hospital or vet to where you're camping. Nothing would be worse than not having cell service at the time of an emergency (which has happened to us before at Colorado Bend State Park). 

  • Have a copy of your dog's most recent vet records in your car in case you have to get to a foreign hospital at an odd hour. This will help the process at an emergency center or another vet run a lot smoother if they don’t have to wait for patient information.

  • Pet insurance: Get it now! There is generally a 30 day waiting period from when you register. We use

  • Know your surroundings!! Dogs are notorious for getting into stuff they probably shouldn’t. If they run into bushes with poison oak or poison ivy, have a plan. Talk to your vet about this. They can most likely provide some sort of remedy. Having some gloves and dog shampoo in the first aid kit could be a good start.

Dog Goodies

  • Light-up Collars: Although we keep Rye on a leash most of the time, it's a good idea to be able to keep track of your pup in the dark. A few light-up collar ideas:

  • Sleeping pad, bed, and blanket: Like I said, Rye is a diva and loves to curl up in his bed next to the fire. Since Rye has short hair, when temperatures drop, he needs a little something extra.

  • Dog booties: for hot or uneven ground. Definitely get your pup used to these before trying them outdoors.

  • Dog lifejacket: great for trips that involve rivers or lakes. We have this Outward Hound one for Rye

  • Backpack / harness: Have your pup carry their own gear. Ground Bird Gear is a great example

  • 30-50 foot lead for safe roaming. You can get these on amazon or at WalMart for cheap. You can also set up a “runner” using a rope 5 feet off the ground between two trees. Use a carabiner and your dogs leash and voila, you have a runner.

  • Collapsable water/food dish. Great for backpacking and saves on space.

  • Microfiber towel

  • Don’t forget the poop bags!!

To sum it up; we treat Rye like a human. Anything that we may need for ourselves, he'll probably need as well. We know Rye loves running free but it’s more responsible to keep him on a leash, and for the majority of the time, that's what we do. Once we learn the area or make friends with our neighbors, we tend to be more lenient and let him off. Please keep in mind that not everyone likes dogs, and not every dog likes other dogs. Recall training should be at the top of your list if you are planning to let your pup run free. However, keep in mind that not all places legally allow this, especially National Parks and State Parks.