3 Expert Tips to Make the Most of Camping with a Dog


Ready to sleep under the stars with your pooch? 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 and love the great outdoors, you might be more comfortable packing up your bags and grabbing your tent or piling into your RV. 

Three Tips to Make Camping with a Dog 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! 

Camping somewhere that's away from cell service or Internet connection?

Use SpotOn's Off-grid mode!  This feature allows you to create an offline fence and load it to the collar with Bluetooth, even when you don’t have any service. With Off-grid Mode, the SpotOn collar will contain your dog in an area so that your dog can roam free, remaining safely off-leash while you camp.

“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 won't allow dogs, 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 fence that includes the water 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 pup more buoyant, the bright colors of life jackets like Outward Hound’s Stanley Sport Life Jacket will help you keep an eye on your pup in the water, and the double handles allow you to lift them easily and quickly if the situation calls for it. Just make sure the water is algae free and safe for swimming before diving in. 

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.

Let SpotOn Secure Your Next Camping Adventure!

SpotOn is proud to be the dog fence of choice for Happy Campers across the US and Canada! Bring home SpotOn today, and start living life unleashed.

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