How To Have a Happy Camping Trip with Your Dog

Dog camping A shout out to my big sister who recommended an article about camping with dogs. We were heading out to the local lake to enjoy the last outdoor, bearable weather in the Phoenix area for awhile.

I have camped with my dog, Marshall, a couple of times and he always gets anxious because it is different from our usual routine. But like anything else, he just loves hanging out with me. It is so nice to be loved. We both prefer the comfort of an RV, but have also been camping in a tent.

Anyway, I thought I would share with you what and why I carry things for Marshall to make our lives more comfortable on the dusty trail. I also added a couple of things I should have taken and will do so next time.

Marshall’s Happy Camping List:

  • Dog food

Brilliant, right? Actually, to make it easier, I measure out the food for the number of meals I expect he will eat while we are traveling into a large plastic bag. Don’t forget the scoop!

  • Dog treats

Marshall has me trained to give him a dog bone every day at noon when I have lunch. One for each day of our trip.

  • Leashes

I always carry one short and one long leash with a Gentle Leader Headcollar. The short leash is for quick walks and hanging around the camp site together. The long one is when Marshall demands a little privacy to do his business or while hiking. The Gentle Leader helps to hold him back from chasing the rabbits and quail in the area. My luck, he would crash into a cactus. The Gentle Leader, as the name implies, helps me to maintain control him in a gentle way. Marshall weighs over 65 pounds and is much stronger than I am.

  • Poop bags

A friend gave me several rolls of these doggie poop bags. The trick for me is to remember to stash them in my pockets when we are out and about. There are even little dispensers for the bags that I may give a try and attach to his collar or the leash. A lot of outdoor places have the bags available when they know there will be dogs in the area to encourage us to pick up after our pets.

  • Food dish

I think it is important to have consistency for Marshall so I always bring his regular dog dish. He is less anxious when he has his things around.

  • Water dishes

I actually carry two water dishes, his regular, large bowl and a soft, small folding water dish that I throw into my back pack and can pull out to give him a water break when we hike. There are several choices for traveling water dishes, I just like the soft one because it is so light and easy to stash. I actually have a couple of them.

  • Towel

Being outdoors I know he will get dirty, so this just helps keep him clean. I found a folding towel in the pet store made of a microfiber material. I carry one with me all of the time. Actually, any old towel will do. I always look for durable, compact options when I travel or camp.

  • Medicines

Marshall has been bitten a couple of times by insects and swells up as a reaction. My vet recommended using Benadryl in the event he has another allergic reaction. Being outdoors, this can happen at any time, so think about what you need and check with your vet for the best advice.

  • ToyBear 2

I always bring Marshall’s favorite toy, Bear, along for any trip we take. This is like his security blanket and has been washed and sewn together on many, many occasions. (Yes, I know, this really is a beaver, but once I figured that out, we had already named him and Marshall had already learned the name. So, Bear it is.)

  • Bed

While dogs are probably content to just sleep on the floor, I am happier knowing Marshall is comfortable sleeping in his dog bed. I found our dog bed at Costco a couple of years ago and it is exceptionally well made and it goes where ever we go. In fact I bought two, one for our bedroom and one for my living room.

  • Water

I carry a gallon jug with us when we travel so we always have water with us. In Arizona, I always carry water in the summer, no matter where we are going.

  • Booties

I did not have any dog paw booties when we went hiking but wonder if these will be of any benefit. Some of trails were pretty rough and it would have been much easier on the pads of his paws if I had thought about this. I did notice that Marshall watched the hiking paths and maneuvered around some of the rough rocks.

  • Blanket

On our last camping trip I realized that I needed to bring along an old blanket for Marshall to lay down on while we were outside. I have an old Army blanket that is quite durable and provides some protection for my camping buddy from the rocks and stickers. It also helps to keep him a little cleaner as he moves in and out of the RV camper.

  • Microchip records

Anything can happen, so having your dog micro-chipped is a small price to pay to ensure you get your dog back home. I keep all of Marshall’s records together and include this tracking information as well. I use Home Again and have comfort in knowing if I should lose Marshall, this will help others to bring him home.

  • Shot/medical records

This is in the event of an emergency and you can’t get to your favorite vet. It just helps to have all of the information available in one place. Also, if you need to board your dog for daycare or overnight because of pet restrictions, you will need this information. An example is when we are touring National campgrounds that generally do not allow pets on hiking trails.

  • List of nearby emergency vet clinics

I didn’t think about this until after the fact, but I will for sure do it the next time we go camping. In remote areas, the cell phone does not always work, so having this information written down sure makes it handy.

Our pets are our family members and you know that if anything happens to them, we can easily get upset and want to rush to get them the right help they need.

Surprisingly, I have learned to pack all of these things into one little tote bag. knowing they are all in one place makes it easy to pack and look for when I need to pull something out for my happy camper, Marshall.

So, did I miss anything? What things do you pack for your dog when you go camping or traveling?

Thanks for joining us and Happy Camping!

The RV Lady and Marshall