Your dog is the ultimate companion for any kind of adventure. They are loyal, eager, and always ready for the next big thing. When you take them camping, you have to make sure you are prepared. Not only do you need to ensure all of your essentials are packed away nicely in your backpack, but you need to ensure theirs are too. Your dog doesn’t need a great deal in the big scheme of things, but each of the items listed in this ultimate checklist is absolutely essential. So, when you plan your next camping trip with your pooch, make sure you are prepared, and refer to this list.
Food and Drink
#1 Food and Water
The first rule of packing food for your dog is to always bring more than you need. After all, you never know what will happen, or you may want to extend your trip by a few days. Each portion of food should be in a pre-packaged Ziploc bag.
You should try to bring dry food as opposed to wet food as the kibble will be lighter and easier to store when you are hiking. Fresh water should also be packed, with more than enough for both you and your dog throughout the journey. Always bring extra, just in case water is not available at your campsite.
#2 Travel Bowls
Travel bowls are key for a quick drink and feeding when you are on your trip. If you purchase travel bowls from a brand like Beco, you will find that they fold flat into an incredibly compact disc. Beco travel bowls are also incredibly lightweight and made from all natural materials, which still remaining tough and durable. Saving space is key when you are hiking, and travel bowls are the best solution.
Treats are an essential thing to bring with you when you are camping. If anything goes wrong, they will help keep your dog close or tempt them back if they run off. Plus, they are a great source of additional energy to keep them going throughout the day. Keep them in a separate pouch that is attached to your belt loop or another location that is easy to access.
#4 Bones and Chews
Antlers and filled bones are a great way to keep your dog busy in the evenings when you are sat around the campfire. If you worry about them getting bored, one of these will not only lift their spirits, but keep them occupied for hours. Try to stay away from rawhide chews, however, as these are made with a large quantity of harmful chemicals.
#1 Collar with ID Tags
Make sure your dog has a collar that is comfortable and fits them well, as well as engraved ID tags. These should have your dog’s name, your name, postcode, and phone number on them. That way, if your dog gets lost, it is easier for you to be reunited at a faster rate. If you are staying in a holiday home, have additional tags made with the holiday home information on it to maximise your chances of being reunited.
#2 Short Lead and Extendable Lead
The lead is something you must not forget at home. Some areas that you hike in will require you to keep your dog on a lead, and if you are hiking abroad, then you need to be wary of animals like bears and mountain lions. A short lead and extendable lead are good options to keep close, and you should always have a spare lead in your pack in case one breaks.
The short lead is good for areas where your dog needs to be tightly controlled, such as fields with livestock in them. The extendable lead is ideal for freer areas where your dog can wander a little. If you want to keep your hands free, however, you can also buy a belt lead. This attaches securely to your waist so that you can use a map and compass, for example, while also keeping a close eye on your dog.
Some dogs are more comfortable wearing a harness than they are a collar. For dogs that tend to pull a lot when they walk, a harness will put less strain on their necks and can also help to prevent pulling in general. Dogs with broad chests also tend to benefit from wearing harnesses, and they can make controlling them with the lead a lot easier. Plus, the majority of harnesses are nicely padded for your pooch’s comfort.
#4 Poo Bags
If your dog decides to do his business on the trail path, be a good citizen and make sure you clean it up and dispose of it in the nearest bin. No one likes to step in it when they are out walking. Of course, if your dog decides to find a spot in the undergrowth or long grass, you’re not likely to be able to find it.
If you are concerned about the environmental impact of plastic poo bags, brands like Beco offer environmentally friendly and 100% degradable options that are also pretty strong – so your hand won’t accidentally pop through the plastic when you go to pick it up.
#5 Safety Light and Warning Bell
Safety lights and LED collars are excellent for walking at night with your dog. It ensures that they remain visible not only to you, but also to any passing vehicles. Road safety is important, even when you are hiking, so make sure you remember to pack one of these.
The warning bell isn’t really necessary unless you are hiking abroad with your dog and there are bears in the area. The best way to avoid a bear attack is to ensure you do not surprise them, and that is why some owners choose to have bear bells on their dog’s collars. Of course, if you are hiking in an area with bears, make sure you check out the latest notices and announcements before you head off.
#6 Trail Pack
These are an optional part of the checklist. Some hikers like to have their dogs pull their own weight, especially if they are highly energetic. The solution for this is a trail pack, a little dog rucksack that allows them to carry their own treats and water. Aside from being adorable, it can also save a little room in your own hiking pack.
#7 Life Jacket
If you plan on canoeing, sailing, or engaging in any form of water sports with your dog, then they need a life jacket. Even dogs can get panicked and drown, so make sure you are prepared for a potential doggy overboard situation. Dog life jackets fit your canine companion comfortably and do not restrict their movement in or out of the water. Just make sure that the life jacket you buy is an approved one.
#8 Doggy Boots
Booties for dogs can be an excellent option when it comes to protecting the pads of their paws from rocks and other sharp debris – as well as keeping paws cool in the summer and protected from snow and ice in the winter. Some dogs also suffer from allergies, and dog boots can help protect them from these irritants while they are walking.
If your dog’s paws are fragile and prone to injury, these are also a great option for added safety and protection. As long as you get boots that are the right size and fit well, you won’t need to worry about them being uncomfortable or overheating.
For the Campsite
If it rains or your dog goes for a swim, having a few towels to hand to dry them off is a definite must. Of course, they might be ok drying off in the natural way, but it is better for their health to be towel dried before they settle down for the night.
Of course, your dog needs somewhere to sleep, so a bed and blankets are definitely in order. Make sure that these are not only durable in terms of material, but also that they are machine washable. This makes them quick to wash when you return home so that they can be used again next time.
Make sure there are enough blankets to keep your dog warm, as even in the summertime, the nights tend to get a little chilly.
#3 Waterproof Tarp
This is very important for your campsite. Make sure that the waterproof tarp is placed under your dog’s bed (even if they are sleeping inside the tent). This prevents moisture and condensation from reaching the bed, as well as stopping them from losing the majority of their body heat. This helps to prevent conditions such as hypothermia due to close contact with the ground. Remember that they get cold too, so ensure that measures like this are taken.
Some dogs prefer to sleep in their dog crate, so bring it along to give them an added sense of security on the campsite. It is also a great place to put them if you need to keep them contained for their own safety at any point. Just make sure the crate is placed in the shade, as the metal bars can get very hot very fast.
Most dogs love toys, and you should definitely bring a few to the campsite with you. Aside from the usual stuffed toys and chews that keep them quiet, you should also consider things like ball throwers and Nerf toys to keep them entertained, but also to give you two some extra bonding time. Toys are perfect for mental and physical stimulation, so don’t forget them.
#6 Outdoor Stake
The outdoor stake is perfect for any campsite. It means that you can secure your dog to it on a long lead, and then cook, eat, or generally relax without worrying about them potentially running away. Make sure you get a good, strong, model just in case they start to pull a little too hard.
If you have a puppy or small dog, a playpen might also be an option for you. You can simply place them inside this and let them run around freely. Just make sure you supervise your dog when using either of these options to reduce the risk of escape.
#7 Coat or Jumper (small dogs only)
If you have very small dogs, or a sighthound, coats can be an excellent companion to keep them warm and dry during your hikes in the summer or winter, as well as at the campsite. Dogs like this tend to get cold much faster than others, and so a coat or jumper will help them maintain a normal body temperature. Pack a raincoat and a jumper to stay doubly safe.
#8 Grooming Brush
Going hiking is no excuse to stop grooming your dog for a few days, in fact, camping and hiking are even more of a reason to ensure you do it every day. Regular grooming once you get back to your campsite, or in the evenings, means that you can keep an eye out for ticks and other parasites that your dog may have picked up on their walk with you. Plus, if they have longer hair, hiking and camping will produce a few more knots and mats than usual.
For Pet Safety
It might sound a little odd at first, but some dogs are more prone to sunburn than others. On all dogs, pet-safe sunscreen should be used on the nose and ears (and sometimes the belly if there is very little hair there). For dogs who are white or have very thin coats, such as sighthounds, sunscreen should be regularly applied as they are the most susceptible to sunburn.
#2 Flea and Worm Treatment
If you have not de-flea and wormed your dog before leaving and they are due their next tablet or drops during your trip, you should make sure you bring some with you. Fleas and worms are not a pleasant experience for your dog, so make sure you are prepared.
#3 Medication (If Any)
If your dog is on any form of medication that has been prescribed by your vet, make sure you bring more than you will need – just in case anything happens. If your dog suffers from allergies and you are bringing some allergy relief, the same rule should apply.
#4 Bandages and Waterproof Surgical Tape
Accidents happen, and if your dog is injured while you are hiking, you should have bandages, gauze, and surgical tape to keep the wound protected while you find the closest vet. It’s also good to have around in case another camper’s dog gets into trouble, and they do not have a first aid kit.
You can purchase this from your vet or Amazon. It is an amazing scrub that keeps wounds clean and disinfected without causing your dog discomfort. Every pet owner should have some around for their animals as it comes in handy a lot more than you might think.
#6 Tick Tweezers
Tics are the bane of any dog’s existence. No matter where they are, they always seem to get one attached to their body. Of course, ticks can be dangerous for both dogs and humans, so it is vital that you have a pair of tick tweezers on you at all times. This only costs around £2 from your vet, and you get two sizes in a bag, so you can tackle any size tick.
#7 Vet Records
Having your vet records with you is essential. Hopefully, you will not need them, but if your dog has a pre-existing condition, allergies, or is injured on your trip, your vet records will help the veterinarian that you visit to determine the best treatment for your dog. Keep these in a waterproof folder in your pack at all times.
Hopefully, this ultimate camping checklist for your dog has provided you with everything you need to know for your next trip with your canine companion. Your dog’s comfort and safety is paramount during any trip, and it can be hard to determine what you need. So, with the help of this guide, you and your dog should be good to go on your next great adventure.
What did you think of our checklist? Is there anything you would have added? We love hearing from you, so let us know in the comments below.