Dog Camping Checklist

Dog Camping Checklist
A good dog camping checklist is not just for the overly cautious. When taking your beloved friend camping, it is important to ensure you are prepared for the worst, especially for the first time. This detailed camping checklist for dog owners will ensure you are on the safe side.

Here are some camping supplies to bring for your dog while camping:

Dog License ID Tags/Rabies Tag/Papers

Refer to Prepare Before You go Camping with Your Dog for a full description as to why these items are so important to have on/with your dog when camping. Make sure they are on your Dog Camping Checklist and you bring them along.

Leash and Collar

Bring a nice strong leash and collar which will hold up if your dog suddenly decides to lunge for something. You will need to have your dog on a leash for most of the time, so it is important that it is durable and you are able to control your dog. It is wise to bring an extra leash and collar as it is surprising how often you might need a second one on hand. Retractable leashes are a good option for small or well behaved dogs, especially if there are not many other dogs in the area; this will give your dog more freedom to sniff and explore.

20- Foot Long Lead/ Tether

A long leash/cable leash/chain or tether are good for when you are at the campsite enjoying your day. You can tie your dog up to either a stake, tree, picnic table leg or other strong object which will give him more freedom to explore his surroundings. Note that many campsites do not allow you to tie your dog to a tree so you will need to bring a stake. If you have two or more dogs, we suggest that you tie them up slightly apart from one another. The last thing you want to do when relaxing outside is to have to untangle a giant knot of rope. Another option to keep your dog contained at a campsite is to bring a portable fenced pen. These fenced pens keep your dog in a designated area with some space to sniff around. If you think your dog is likely to jump the fence it may be wise to tie him up as well.

Stake for Ground

A stake to put in the ground at your campsite. You can attach a long lead to it so that your dog can roam the designated area, and still allow you to relax and know he will stay put. If you have a large or high-energy dog you will need a large stake and a mallet to ensure it is firmly in the ground.

Dog Carrier/Crate/Harness (for car)

Rather than having your dog roam freely throughout the car causing havoc, stressing you and your dog out, put him in a dog carrier, dog crate or harness him to the seat. Having your dog loose in the car while driving is not safe for him and it is not safe for you; it is likely to distract you from driving, leading to an accident – injuring you, him or others. I do not recommend having your dog in the open bed of a truck; it is extremely dangerous for your dog can lead to serious injury and death. If you care for your dog, secure him.

Hand wipes/Baby wipes/Paper towels/Air freshener

It is recorded that 50% of dogs get car sickness when in a moving vehicle so you can almost expect some regurgitated food to pop up sooner or later. Be prepared with paper towels to remove it, carpet spray to clean it ( I highly recommended Folex carpet spray), a plastic bag for garbage, handwipes for your hands and air freshener for the aftermath.

Food/Water and Dishes

Well, this is an obvious requirement, but it needs to be mentioned. Bring an extra amount of food and water for your dog. Although you may be close to a water source, such as a stream or a lake, be aware that some water may be contaminated with bacteria, chemicals or parasites which could cause your dog to become sick. It’s best to contact the local campsite ranger to determine if the surrounding water is safe. Bring extra water for your dog if the water in the surrounding area is not safe; if the water is safe for you to drink, it is safe for your dog. You will need to bring an extra amount of food and water as your dog, like you, will become very hungry and thirsty from exerting high amounts of energy and from being in the outdoors. Bringing a few days of extra dog food will also prepare you if you unexpectedly end up camping longer than you had planned. To keep your dog with what he’s familiar, you may want to bring his food dishes from home to keep things consistent. If you are planning on hiking or taking long walks, bring along collapsible dishes for your dog that are small and lightweight to carry.

Note: Always store your food as well as your dog’s food in a sturdy and waterproof food storage box. To avoid all wildlife – great and small – put the food storage in a bear box at the campsite (if provided), hang your food box in a tree via rope (if there are bears in the area) or if bears are not a threat put the food box in your vehicle. Please note that if you leave any type of food, even toothpaste, in your tent or around campsite it is more than likely something will get into it such as insects, squirrels, raccoons, birds, chipmunks and – worst case – bears. Even if you secure the food safely in a sealed box, animals will get into it. If you put it inside the tent, animals are likely to venture into your tent and ultimately into the box. Please take food storage seriously if you are serious about keeping critters out.

Poop Bags

Poop Bags/ plastic bags are a must if you take your dog camping. If you are taking your dog camping you need to be responsible for your dog and what your dog leaves behind at all times. No one likes stepping in a big pile of poo and nether do you, so pick it up before it gets smushed under your shoe. Campsites/trails are very strict on this matter, so obey the rules to avoid getting in deep s*%”. Remember, being an owner of a dog camping reflects the idea of dogs camping. If you are not responsible for your dog, campsites/people will form an opinion and ultimately ruin camping with dogs for others. Please clean up after your dog.

Bed and Plastic Tarp

Bring your dog’s blanket or bed to provide your dog with a warm, safe, quiet space just for him. Use it in the car when driving, during the day in his designated area, as well as for him to sleep on at night whether in your tent or outside. It is essential that you bring a plastic sheet/tarp to put under your dog’s bed, otherwise the cold and moisture will come up from the ground to his bed and could chill him. You don’t like sleeping in cold and wet, neither does your dog.


On you Dog Camping Checklist should be a towel. This will come in very handy on your camping trip; a towel will keep you, camp items, the tent and, most importantly, your dog clean while camping. When your dog gets wet and dirty – yes, not if, when – you will need something to clean/wipe him off. This is where the towel comes into play. Trust me, you will be happy you brought it.

Toys/ Treats

Like kids, dogs like a fun toy or a tasty treat. Bring your dog’s favourite toys for him to play with to prevent boredom, calm fear and add something familiar to camping. Treats are great, because, well, they are tasty. And you know your dog loves them so why not? Camping is supposed to be fun for everyone, right?


Like you, your dog will be having fun which will likely include getting dirty. You can almost predict that your dog will have collected a bunch of little treasures in his fur or coat. Bring a brush so you can comb out all the leaves, pine needles, thistles, dirt, etc. You can even use a small black men’s comb which will remove most things from your dog’s hair easily.

Glow Stick

You might never think to bring glow sticks while camping with your dog, but after you try it you might never think to go without them again. You can buy standard glow sticks/light sticks from Target, Wal-Mart, or home improvement stores which you can manually activate by bending the stick. Once you bend the glow stick, the chemicals inside mix and cause a neon light to glow; you can expect it to glow for several hours. These popular Halloween favours are perfect for keeping track of your dog in a large, dark campground. Simply bend the glow stick to activate the light and attach it to your dog’s collar. This way you will always be able to spot your dog in the dark -it’s the eerie green glow making its way around the campsite. Glow sticks are also fun for kids while camping in the night, just make sure you know which colour glow stick is your kid’s and which colour is your dog’s.


Typically, only small dogs or dogs with minimal fur wear jackets and booties (dog shoes) to protect them from the cold/icey elements. If you are camping/hiking in a cool climate it may be a smart option to have a jacket and booties for any dog. This will keep him warm and protected. Booties might also be useful if you are camping in an area that has fire ants. If a dog steps on a fire ant hill it will be painful. You may be able to prevent the pain if he is wearing booties. Booties are also a good idea in snowy conditions as dogs tend to get snow clumps in between their paws. Booties will prevent these snow clumps and keep his feet warm. If you are hiking with your dog and the terrain is particularly rocky, consider buying some booties to protect your dog’s feet. Nowadays you can purchase the original long term dog booties or you can try the new disposable reusable dog booties

First Aid Kit

It is important to pack a First Aid Kit especially for your dog, there are certain items that are specifically for dogs and not for humans. For detailed information please read the article Safety For Your Dog While Camping and for a checklist on what to pack in your dogs First Aid Kit read First Aid Kit Checklist for Your Dog.

Read more on:

Author: Kaitlyn
(The CampTrip Team)

Join the Community If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.