3 Ways to Make the Most of Camping with your Pup


Your Summer, Reimagined

You may have had big plans for this summer – a cruise, a big trip, or a family get together – but it may have been cancelled or otherwise disrupted. The reality is, no one’s summer plans seem to have survived unscathed.

Since COVID-19 hit the US, events have been cancelled and postponed, summer camps and theme parks have temporarily closed, and hotel room and airline bookings have hit record lows… but the demand for outdoor recreation has skyrocketed. After being cooped up inside for too long, the nice weather (and loosened restrictions) are finally bringing people outdoors.

Unlike previous summers, department stores are suddenly having trouble keeping pools, bicycles, and fishing gear in stock. In happier news, now that many people find themselves home more often, there has been a pet adoption boom, causing shelters to run out of dogs.

Luckily, you have summer recreation options that will keep both you and your pooch happy! Camping remains a popular (and pup-friendly) pastime, with over 77 million households in the United States containing someone who camps. Camping equipment like tents and hiking gear are still in ample supply, so you shouldn’t have a problem grabbing up some necessary items if you want to hit the road.

Road Tripping

According to a SpotOn survey, 43% of dog parents take their pups with them when they travel, but they also acknowledge that traveling with their pooches can sometimes be a little inconvenient – especially when it comes to finding a good pet-friendly hotel. This may be why only 10% of dog owners surveyed had ever taken their dog on a plane, and as many as 59% had never taken their pooch with them on an overnight trip.

You don’t need to let hotels and pet policies limit your travels. If you prefer to make your own rules, are strictly social distancing, or just love the great outdoors, you might be more comfortable packing up your bags and grabbing your tent or piling into your RV. In fact, 39% of campers admit that they’re more likely to consider living the full-time RV life once restrictions are lifted.

Three Tips to Make Your Next Camping Trip a Breeze

1. Do your homework! If you’ve never been camping before, there are a few basic things you’ll need to consider before you set out. First, you’ll need to pick a location. Check out the Reserve America website to see if state parks and campgrounds are open; they’ll also clearly note whether or not they allow pets, if they are near water, or have electric and/or sewer hookups.  Or check out these pup-friendly campgrounds.

Once you’ve settled on a location, you’ll need to gather some basic equipment for you and your pup. If you have an RV, you won’t need as much – ample changes of clothing, toilet paper, food, soap and other toiletries. Camping in a tent, however, and you’ll need a little bit more. Don’t forget your sleeping bags, a mattress pad, flashlights with extra batteries, a pail for water, and other necessities. Your dog may require some accessories of his own, too, like booties or paw wax for rough terrain. KOA recommends packing a brush or comb, just in case your pooch has a run-in with burrs or cactus spines!

Finally, do a little research on the area you intend to camp in. What is the weather forecast, and are you adequately prepared for it? What is the local wildlife like – any predators or venomous creatures you’ll need to be on the lookout for?

2. Containment, it's the name of the game!  Though your campground will be your home away from home for the duration of your trip, it will be a completely new territory for your pup to learn! Be sure to check the specific regulations at your campground to see if leashes are required. If not, camping can be a great way to let your dog to become one with nature, follow his nose, and enjoy some freedom.

If you are planning to use your SpotOn fence while camping, remember to do a little training refresher. Check out our two training videos first - Learning the Tones & Boundary and Proofing the Boundary Just set a fence around your campsite, get your pup suited up with his SpotOn collar, make sure he knows where his boundaries are, and then let him get the lay of the land! For a speedier setup, use one of the instant circular fences - from 150 feet wide to 950 feet wide. But since a circle is a new shape for your pup, you'll still need a training refresher and test!

“Our last camping trip was a big success, Finn had freedom to move around and do what she wanted, as long as I could see her.” 

- Toni, SpotOn customer and mom to 3 year old, German Shorthaired Pointer, Finn

While some other containment systems are portable, they require you to plug in a base station in order to create a circular containment area. If your power source is unreliable, your pup may not be secured at all times. With SpotOn, the collar will need to be charged overnight like a cell phone, but will then work for the full day. You’re not limited to charging the collar from a wall outlet, either; you can use your portable battery pack or car charger, and it should only take about an hour to fully charge.

3. Dog Friendly ~ It's not just for hotel rooms anymore! 

When you’re looking to beat the heat, swimming is a good option. Although many swimming pools are closed, there may be a river, lake, or stream near your campsite for you and your dog to play in. With SpotOn, you won’t need to worry about your dog venturing too far out into the water – you can build a map that includes the water (check out our article on the Pause feature for more info on that!) and the SpotOn collar is waterproof to IP67 standards.

If you enjoy spending time out on the water, you may want to invest in some life jackets for both of you. In addition to making your good boy more buoyant, the bright colors of life jackets like Outward Hound’s Stanley Sport Life Jacket will also help you keep an eye on him in the water, and the double handles allow you to lift him easily and quickly if the situation calls for it.

If you’re planning to take your dog on a hike while you’re out camping, make sure your dog is able to hike safely – not all breeds are created equal! For some breeds – like beagles and dachshunds, it’s not safe for them to exercise on an incline, as they can be prone to intervertebral disc disease and arthritis of the back… so keep that pooch on flat ground! Certain breeds can be more sensitive to heat, too, so be sure to be conscious of this. No matter what breed your pooch is, make sure you bring along ample drinking water and scout out some shady places to rest.

Whether you’re cooking over a camp stove or eating snacks in the RV, you’ll need to make sure you bring along some safe treats for your pup. Remember to steer them away from pork ribs, bone-in chicken, and corn on the cob… but watermelon is safe to share! Find more dos and don’ts here.

Camping is sure to be a popular option this summer as lots of people rush to fill holes in their vacation plans – according to the KOA, nearly half of leisure travelers who camp say that they will replace one of their cancelled trips this year with a camping trip. Many campgrounds require reservations, so act fast in order to save your spot and make sure your pup is ready for the next family adventure!

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