As soon as the trees and flowers start blooming and I can walk outside without my big puffy coat and simultaneously NOT freeze, I get super excited. Spring is here! And for us, it also means the start of our camping and hiking season. If you are at all familiar with how the seasons work, then you very well know that after spring comes summer and then finally fall. Both of which are equally as amazing seasons for exploring the great outdoors.

While of course you can still do these things in winter months, we just don’t find it quite as enjoyable and have a few more concerns about bringing the dogs along. My dogs are certainly not “snow dogs”, so they would much rather be snuggled up by a fire than outside in the cold and snow.

That’s the first rule of going on an outdoor adventure with you dog – know their temperament. If your pup is more of a sunshine and warm weather kind of dog, then take full advantage of when the weather is nice. Conversely, if they are built for cold and struggle in the heat, avoid summer months when it’s too hot. No matter what, camping with your dog should be an experience you can BOTH enjoy! To make sure your trip is extra enjoyable, prepare by reading the rest of our safety tips below.

18 Safety Tips For Camping with Your Dog - #sponsored by Sleepypod - {hiking, outdoors, pet safe}

This post is sponsored by Sleepypod. I am being compensated to help share information about Sleepypod, but Beagles & Bargains only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers.

Are you just starting out camping with your dog? Check out Camping with Dogs for Beginners for even more tips!

Safety Tips For Camping with Your Dog

Camping Site Selection

Before you go anywhere, do a bit of research to find the ideal campsite selection for you and your plans. If you are new to camping, I recommend checking out local state or even county parks. Usually these parks have dedicated spaces for you to park, pitch your tent, and even start a campfire. Many also have amenities such as restrooms and picnic tables. Bigger parks may also even have activities to keep you busy during the day like hiking trails, canoes, kayaks, scenic overlooks, and more. Starting with a park is a great way to give back and to get both you and your dog accustomed to the camping experience.

After you have a few trips under your belt, you may want to consider visiting new places and consider private campsites or even public lands. No matter where you go, make sure dogs are permitted!

Emergency Contact Info & Vet Records

Before adding outdoor adventures to your dog’s regular routine, make sure they have visited the vet recently for a wellness exam and are up to date on any necessary vaccines. If you are thinking about adding camping to your lifestyle, bring it up at your dog’s next vet appointment because your veterinarian may have some location specific advice.

When packing for your trip, research the local area a bit and look up contact information for a veterinarian office near your destination in case of an emergency. Also, make sure to have a copy of your dog’s records and contact information for you regular vet on hand.

Travel Safety

When prepping for a dog friendly camping trip, don’t forget about safety to and from your campsite. To keep your dog safe, I recommend looking into a crash tested containment device or harness. We’ve been using the Sleepypod Clickit Sport for several years and though we luckily haven’t been in a crash to truly test it out, I feel much more comfortable with Ralph & Luna in the car because of the safety ratings of their harnesses. The harness connects to the car using the seat belt, so it also prevents scared (or eager) dogs from escaping and fleeing the car. I love that I can open the door without having them jump out right away and I know they won’t get lost in the event of an accident.

Sleepypod also makes crash tested carriers for smaller dogs and other pets. Recently they also launched the Clickit Terrain harness, which is crash tested just like the Clickit Sport. One of the main differences is that you can purchase a backpack attachment that could come in handy for working dogs and dogs who just love to hike.


Research the weather during the duration of your camping trip ahead of time, so you can plan accordingly. Always make sure that there is enough shade for both you and your dog to rest. Having a cool place to sit or lay will help you both recuperate faster from whatever adventures you did that day. It will also help prevent sunburn (yes, dogs can get it too!) and heat exhaustion.

I recommend bringing along an outdoor roll or bed for your dog and some cooling towels. We use the Kurgo Loft Wander Dog Bed (affiliate link) and the Alcott Explorer Sleeping Bag (Interested? If you use my link then you get 500 points which is worth $5 towards your purchase!). I found our set of cooling towels off of Amazon (affiliate link) for pretty cheap!

18 Safety Tips For Camping with Your Dog - #sponsored by Sleepypod - {hiking, outdoors, pet safe}

Don’t forget that even if it’s hot during the day, the temperature might drop dramatically at night. Be sure to bring jackets, blankets, and insulated sleeping bags to keep yourself and your dog warm enough.

If you do need to pack it in a day early because of surprise weather or too harsh temperatures, don’t feel bad! Just plan another trip when you get home. I’ve been there and as disappointing as it may be to head home early, keeping yourself and your dog healthy and safe is much more important.

Rest Up & Take Breaks

While out camping, you won’t quite have all the comforts of home with you and you’ll be a bit more exposed to the elements during your day activities. Be sure to set aside enough time to rest for both you and your dog, so that you can keep going the next day. If you go out on a hike, take a break here and there. You don’t have to hike the whole trail straight! It’s okay to catch your breath. Plus, it gives you the chance to stop and take in all the natural beauty around you.


How much water you need is going to depend on where you are and what you’re doing, but I wouldn’t recommend being caught anywhere without water. For yourself, pack a water bottle or even consider getting a hydration pack. I just picked up the High Sierra Cragin from Costco for myself. I couldn’t find the exact one online, but High Sierra makes several other great hydration pack options (affiliate link)!

For your dog, I recommend having a large bowl that helps avoid spillage for the campsite as well as a travel water bottle or pop up bowl for when you are on the go or out on a hike. For our campsite, we’ve been using a Yummy Travel Bowl from Sleepypod. I love that it has a large capacity (22 oz) and has a lip that prevents spilling. I’ve also found that the shape and structure of the bowl prevents my dogs from flipping it over completely.

During hikes we use a Dexas Collapsible Travel Cup (affiliate link), but I’ve also been eyeing the Kurgo Gourd Water Bottle & Bowl set (affiliate link).

18 Safety Tips For Camping with Your Dog - #sponsored by Sleepypod - {hiking, outdoors, pet safe}

Feed the Right Food

To prepare your dog to go on a new adventure each day, you want to ensure they have enough energy by feeding them the right food. Ideally it shouldn’t be too different from what you regularly feed your dog. While kibble is relatively easy to transport, a raw diet is a bit more complex. Plan accordingly for your cooler space or find an easier alternative. I wouldn’t recommend feeding your dog something new while on a camping trip, so if you do need to use a travel safe alternative be sure to try it a few times at home first.

If packing space or weight is a concern, I recommend the dehydrated recipes from The Honest Kitchen. If you are interested in having your dog try their dehydrated food, you can save $8 off a 2 lb box (affiliate link) from The Honest Kitchen with our promo code AMBBGJS7123. Be sure to enter the code in your cart to get the discount!

Flea & Tick Care

How prevalent fleas and ticks are will depend on where you plan to camp. We certainly ran into them a lot more frequently in Virginia than in Colorado. Regardless, you should come prepared with whatever flea and tick care that works best for you. We currently use natural flea and tick care (you can read more on why here) and have trusted in Wondercide for several years.

After each outing, you should do a quick check all over your dog and yourself. I’d suggest bringing along a flea comb to make this a bit easier. While you’re doing your pest inspection, it’s a good idea to check your dog for other possible issues such as small cuts and bumps to help catch any issues before they become emergencies. Don’t forget to check their paw pads for any cuts or signs of cracking.

First Aid

Any time you find yourself doing something where an accident might happen, it’s a good idea to have a first aid kit for both you and your dogs accessible. A few years back, I put together a first aid kit that has BOTH first aid items for people and dogs. Even if you don’t use all the products it’s important to keep an eye on expiration dates and do a general inspection of everything that’s in side every once in a while. You can see what I put in our kit here.

If building your own kit isn’t for you, you can also find some pressembled kits for purchase like this one from Alcott. (Interested? If you use my link then you get 500 points which is worth $5 towards your purchase!).

Whether you buy your first aid kit or make it yourself, you should remember to add any medications you and your dog may need during your trip or in the case of an emergency. I also recommend throwing in a set of dog booties or Pawz (affiliate link) in case your pup injures their paws. You can also use these as a preventative to protect their paws from harm.

18 Safety Tips For Camping with Your Dog - #sponsored by Sleepypod - {hiking, outdoors, pet safe}

Fire Safety

One of my favorite parts of camping is the campfire! As much fun as it is to sit and relax by the fire or even cook a “gourmet” camping meal, fire is still dangerous and can be a hazard if not set up or put out with properly. Make sure to follow all fire safety rules (these may change based on where you are camping!) and please, please, please keep your dog out of reach of any fire or other dangers. Channel your inner Smokey the Bear and keep your whole family safe!

Keep Food Tightly Stored

This is a pretty standard rule of camping. Tightly seal your food and waste, so that you don’t invite unwanted critters into your campsite. You may even want to consider putting your food in your locked car for extra protection. This will help prevent unwanted guests, but also keep your dog from eating everything you brought to eat for a few days in a few minutes. (If you’ve ever had a hound, you know this CAN happen.)

Leash Laws

Research and respect leash laws. Many campsites in parks will require your dog to be on a leash at all times. Even if you believe your dog would stay close by without a leash, PLEASE respect this. It will prevent your dog from bothering other nearby campers and keep them out of harm’s way. Breaking these laws sets a very bad example and may hurt other pet parents chances of bringing their dog camping in the future.

If you really don’t want to keep your dog on a leash, find somewhere that allows it.

18 Safety Tips For Camping with Your Dog - #sponsored by Sleepypod - {hiking, outdoors, pet safe}

Tie Outs

Keeping your dog on a leash doesn’t mean you have to hold it the entire time. In fact, that seems completely unreasonable! I highly recommend looking into a tie out that will keep your dog safe, but still give them the freedom to roam about a bit. In the past we’ve utilized an in ground tie out (like this one – affiliate link), one on our car’s hitch, and even wrapping a long leash around a tree or picnic table. I’ve been also eyeing this new Knot-a-Hitch system from Ruffwear (affiliate link) and hope to try it out again soon.

When placing your tie out, be sure your dog will have access to shade, a comfy bed, and water while keeping them away from fire and tall grasses (where those pesky bugs might be hiding). Depending on what we’re doing at the campsite, we might move the dogs from one location to another to keep them close and safe at the same time.

ID Tags & Microchips

Ensure your dog’s tag and microchip information is up to date. You should be doing this anyway, but upcoming travel is always be a good reminder. If they aren’t wearing tag, put one on them! If you are opposed to putting it on their collar, adding one to their harness work too.

Collars & Leashes

Invest in a quality collar and leash for your dog, so it won’t break or get snagged while your out on your adventure. Alcott makes some of my favorite ones on the market today. They are super durable, comfortable, and come in fun, bright colors. You can read more on why here. (If your pup would like one, don’t forget to use my link for 500 points or $5 towards your purchase!).

If you plan to do any water activities with your dog or tend to live in a rainy area, you might want to consider a quick drying collar and leash set. West Paw just recently launched a new waterproof collar, Jaunts, that I think would be perfect. You can also find a bunch of biothane dog collar and leash options on Etsy. We got ours from the shop DogWalkies (affiliate link) and love it!

18 Safety Tips For Camping with Your Dog - #sponsored by Sleepypod - {hiking, outdoors, pet safe}

Basic Training

Before you set off on a new adventure with your dog, be sure to brush up on their basic training. For safety, it’s important that your dog will listen when called. I recommend perfecting (or getting as close as possible) with come, sit, stay, down, and leave it commands. Be sure to pack training treats and bring them along on any hike if your dog needs extra motivation.

Before you go you might also want to consider how your dog will do inside of a tent (or whatever else you plan to sleep in). If they are a camping expert, great! If not, pitch the tent in your own backyard or living room and do a trial run. The last thing you want is your dog tearing a hole through an expensive tent because they were spooked or just unsure about being trapped inside!

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

No matter if you are in the back country or on a campsite in a state park, be aware of what’s going on around you. If you have neighbors, ensure your dog isn’t bothering them. If you are more away from it all, keep an eye out for wildlife. Don’t let your dog engage with any wildlife at all. Keeping your eyes open will help you all stay safe and happy. Plus, you just might catch a glimpse of a unique animal or rare plant!

Never Leave Your Dog Unattended

Throughout this post, we’ve talked about a lot of reasons that your dog shouldn’t be left alone – fire, wildlife, first aid, neighbors, weather, hydration, and more. If you forgot, go ahead and go back to reread those points. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

In summary, don’t leave your dog unattended. Just don’t do it. Bring them along. Camp with a friend. Do whatever you need to do to keep everyone safe.

Want more camping with dogs tips?
Camping with Dogs for Beginners
Top 5 Camping Essentials for Dogs
Bring a Flea Comb When Camping with Dogs

Have you ever taken your dog camping? Tell us about your trip!

Like this post? Help spread these safety tips for camping with dogs by pinning the image below on Pinterest!

18 Safety Tips For Camping with Your Dog - #sponsored by Sleepypod - {hiking, outdoors, pet safe}

Disclaimer: I am being compensated to help spread the word about the Sleepypod Clickit Sport and Yummy Travel Bowls. I received no other compensation or additional benefits for mentioning the brands or products in this post. The opinions and ideas in this post are my own and are uninfluenced by any other person or business.

Affiliate links are used in this post and I may receive a commission if you click and/or purchase from the link to help support this blog. Do not worry, these links do not affect the price of products.

Jessica Shipman
Share →