8 Tips for Camping with Pets

Everyone loves the thought of camping with pets!

By Shelby Kisgen

On a general basis, people go camping with their dogs and horses; cats are rarely taken into the woods, and if you are determined to bring Fluffy, do so at your own risk. This list of 8 tips for camping with pets is geared towards campers who want their dogs and horses to enjoy nature with them as well. Before you load up your four-legged pal, scan over this list to make sure you are prepared for a fun and safe time for everyone involved.



Mandatory H20: Dogs who live outside year long have fantastic digestive systems; they can eat a rotten skunk and be just fine. However, if your dog is an inside pet who is unaccustomed to eating whatever he finds, his system might be more delicate. Make sure you bring clean water for your pet if you are not camping near a fresh source of water. Lakes and rivers are clean enough for dogs and horses. Stagnant ponds should be avoided. Only allow your animals to drink from clear looking water. If it has a layer of filth or pollution, share your own water with your pet. Plan ahead with extra tubs of water if you are unsure of the conditions of your camping location.


Food Rules: If you feed your dog a delicate diet of wet and dry food, do not forget to pack it. Do not assume he can live happily on human food for the weekend; though his taste buds might like it, doing so is unfair to his digestive system and it could lead to vomiting or diarrhoea. The best bet when feeding dogs and horses camping is to stick with what you feed them at home. Keep in mind that poisonous plants exist in the vegetation that might not be local to your back yard. Keep an eye on what your dog or horse is munching on. Also, review the guidelines for hay or pellets that you bring into the backcountry; many forests have regulations on what sorts of foliage can be packed in to feed your horse, as they do not want alien seeds mingling with the native plant species.



Wildlife Warnings: Most dogs like to chase squirrels and birds; let them have their fun, but do not let them take on skunks, porcupines, bears, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, deer, elk or anything too big or peaceful. Do not let your dog harass the wildlife or attack or kill the wildlife. Good-natured barking at animals that can escape is one thing; fighting wildlife is another. Most horses get along well with wildlife but keep in mind that if a horse is overly spooky, a predator might be nearby, so get control of the animals and vacate the area if necessary. When in doubt, trust your dog or horse’s instincts when it comes to predators.


Tick Control: When you return home from your trip, check your pet’s coat for ticks and fleas. Also, check them for skin conditions such as rain rot or poison ivy.



Lost Pets: Please put a collar with identification tags on your dog. That should include your phone number and name. For horses, put a plate on their halter that offers your contact information.


People Friendly: Keep in mind that some people are scared of dogs and horses from traumatizing previous experiences. If your dog jumps, restrain him when others are approaching. If he bites, keep him on a leash. If a horse kicks, tie a red ribbon in their tail as a universal danger sign to warn people away. Respect other campers when bringing your pets. If your dog is a notorious barker throughout the night, do not camp near others and keep them awake. Camping with pets is a privilege that should not encroach upon the enjoyment of other campers.


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Obedience Matters: Animals are unpredictable. That is both forgivable and understandable. However, make sure that you have a basic level of control over your pet before taking them camping. The wilderness is a place to test your skills and bond as partners, not the place to create ground rules. Your dog should come when called; your horse should halt when asked.


Fitness Level: If you run three miles every day while your dog naps on the couch, respect the fact that his fitness level might not be up to climbing mountains. If you have not ridden your horses in a month, do not expect them to trot for five miles on the trail. Respect the fitness level of your pet, no matter where that level is. If it inconveniences your preferred pace, get them in better shape before you take them camping again.


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Pets can liven up any camping trip. Dogs provide security against predators and unwanted humans. Horses provide quick transportation and fun gallops among the hills. The biggest tip for camping with animals is this: Take good care of your pets, and they will take good care of you.


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Blogger & Multiple Contributor at

Shelby Kisgen is an experienced camper and hiker from Wyoming, USA.  She is a true nature enthusiast who enjoys sharing her experiences through freelance writing in her first blog: naturepreserve.me

When she is not enjoying the great outdoors she is duelling her husband in tennis, eating, or reading a book.

Shelby was the first of many to write articles for the Camping for Women website.

She just loves to combine her love of the outdoors with her passion for writing.  Her current blog is https://shelbykisgen.com/

9 thoughts on “8 Tips for Camping with Pets

  • April 30, 2020 at 3:53 am

    I find it quite amusing when I see families travelling with their dogs. This shows how much they care. To be honest, pets are like family members and that’s probably why people want to take them along too. Going through your post makes me realize how much thought and preparedness happens before they make the decision and while they are travelling. I during my travel have seen some breeds which I have not seen before and found it all quite enjoyable.

  • April 29, 2020 at 2:21 am

    Thank you so much for including the part about being considerate of others when bringing a dog camping. I love dogs and all animals! However, I’m severely allergic to dogs. If they jump on me, I get hives and my throat swells.

  • April 28, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    While i don’t own a pet, a lot of my friends do, and while one of the reasons i visit my friends is to meet their pets, the whole idea of taking the pets out camping in the wilderness excites me so much. And i agree, before any pet owner can even think of doing so, they should have properly trained their pets, in a lot of different areas, which makes things easier, when on the road, and camping in the woods.

  • April 28, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    If only I have a dog, I would be happy to bring it to outdoor camping around Australia. I’m not sure if my Siamese cat will fancy going out, maybe the local sheriff won’t permit us (to protect the local birds!). More water always needed for both of you, your camping team, and for your pets during this outdoor activity.

  • April 28, 2020 at 9:50 am

    I don’t have animals, because I travel too often. I often fly by plane. But this is an exciting guide for people traveling with animals. Interesting tips. Dogs can certainly be useful; they sense the threat of wildlife. But as you said you should know your pets very well, before you take it with you. And people camping with pets should respect others who are camping nearby without it. I had a situation that dogs without leash came to me from the next campsite, and I wouldn’t feel comfy with that; however, they were friendly.

  • April 28, 2020 at 8:33 am

    I have No pets to date because my husband doesn’t like them!! sigh! But the points you described are so important. If you are camping, one should take care if the pets are loud or not plus their capability to adjust the surroundings! We just need to take care while we are out as like we are taking care of the precautions as our babies.

  • April 27, 2020 at 8:56 pm

    Our son always goes comping with his dog. Since he hardly goes anywhere without her, he has a whole packing list and supplies in his car. Regular water stops were something we got used to when we travelled with him and the dog. Especially important when camping for days. I can just imagine his dog wanting to chase after skunks and small deer. He loves to play with everything. Ticks are an issue he had to deal with the last time they were out camping. The dog was sick when he got back and they found a tick had burrowed in. Lesson learned! And since Gypsy is a large but overly friendly dog, we all learned about keeping her in check around small kids and those who looked scared. Some good reminders about taking your pets camping. Many apply for taking them out in parks too!

  • April 27, 2020 at 4:14 pm

    To be honest I had never thought of taking pets for camping before. But yes, if we take them, we need to be very careful about what they eat and their comfort. I also agree that respecting others boundaries is also important while camping. I think just as we need to keep an eye and take care of our babies, the same is required for our pets as well. Thanks for sharing these tips. btw, the last picture is quite funny!

  • April 26, 2020 at 6:50 am

    I do agree with the fact that it is necessary to know your pets very well.
    The point about respecting the space/comfort of others who are camping nearby is very important I feel. And in order to do that, one needs to know if his/her pet is loud or not! Also, I do agree on the fact that it is important not to judge their capability of living up to the expectation of the owners by being willing to hike or run along with them…It may be so that the pet may not be adaptive to nature ..Hence it is vital to focus on little details like this.


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