Taking Your Pup Camping: What You Need to Know

Taking your dog on your next camping trip can be quite rewarding for the both of you. But, if you do decide to bring him along, it’s important to remember that the key to a great camping trip is being prepared.

There are many factors to consider, including:


When you issue a command, does your dog listen to you? While training your dog can be time-consuming, it’s important that your dog that your dog does what you tell him to do.

Tricks like play dead or roll over, while cute, are only good for the entertainment value that they provide. Instead, you must make sure that your pup responds consistently to the following commands:

  • Stop
  • Come
  • Lay Down
  • Drop it

If your dog will be on the leash the entire time, it may not be necessary for him to learn these commands. But, keeping your dog leashed when out in the woods will really diminish his enjoyment of the experience.


Whether it be towards other dogs, humans, or wild creatures, an aggressive dog shouldn’t be in the wilderness. If your dog shows aggressive behavior, or has demonstrated aggressive behavior even once, leave him at home. There are too many potentially dangerous things that can happen, and you don’t want to take that chance.

Temperament and Breed

The dogs who handle camping the best tend to be compliant and intelligent. For instance, retrievers, and Chesapeakes do quite well in the wild. Sporting dogs also tend to fare well, but it depends on the temperament of your dog.

Physical  Capabilities

Just like a BMW sedan may not be the best vehicle to go off-roading, a basset hound would probably be a poor companion if you wanted to go backpacking over rough terrain. This pastime is more suited for larger, active dogs. If your dog is smaller, consider canoeing (with a life vest) or trekking over smoother trails.

Trail Etiquette

It’s no secret you love your dog, but this doesn’t mean that everyone else will as well. If you’re out backpacking, proper trail etiquette is to get off the trail and keep your dog in control when encountering others. An overly friendly pup can knock a backpacker off her feet, causing embarrassment at the least and injury at worst.

Doggie First Aid

First aid for dogs is generally the same for humans, but the biggest difference concerns pain management. Dogs are not able to tolerate human NSAIDs and other pain relievers, however, your vet can prescribe some good pain relievers like Tramadol and Rimadyl to ensure your pup’s comfort if an unfortunate incident should happen.

Other Animals

Other animals may pose a threat to your pup. Larger mammals (like moose and bears) tend to avoid humans if we stay out their way, but a curious dog doesn’t know to avoid these large animals. You will have to monitor your pup’s whereabouts closely to keep him safe. For instance, one moose kick, especially from a protective mom, can prove to be deadly for your furry friend.

It’s also important to note that ticks can be a problem, so it’s wise to do a tick inspection every night. It may sound tedious, but certain ticks can cause Lyme disease. If you do find ticks on your pup, remove them and throw them on your fire grate for easy disposal. You may also want to consider immunizing your pup against Lyme disease.

Although this is a lot of information, don’t be discouraged when taking your furry friend on a wilderness excursion. Yes, it will require more planning, as well as some awareness of your dog’s capabilities, but you may find out that your pre-trip planning may actually make you and your pup closer. Happy Trails!



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