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5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Camping with Your Pet

 If you’ve been yearning for a taste of the great outdoors but are hesitant to leave your beloved pet alone at home, it’s high time to consider simply taking them along to a pet-friendly campsite. Camping with your dog isn’t only a fresh way for you and your fur baby to get much-needed exercise and mental stimulation, but also a potential deep bonding opportunity.

Of course, taking your pet along on a camping trip also comes with its fair share of risks and challenges. You’ll want to pack and prepare carefully to avoid any setbacks that might put a damper on your time together. While planning a campout with your pet might feel overwhelming at first, familiarizing yourself with mistakes that first-time campers frequently make is a good place to start. That way, you’ll have some idea of what you need to avoid and what’s better to do instead.

Here are five of the most common mistakes you’ll want to steer clear of when camping with pets:

Neglecting Their Vaccines

Pups that aren’t fully vaccinated lack protection from all sorts of diseases that they might catch outdoors, so camping trips are generally risky for them. Hence, before you even begin considering camping with your dog, it’s best to ensure that they’re completely up-to-date on all their medications and vaccines. This might mean waiting until your new puppy is old enough to get fully vaccinated before taking them along on their first campout. If you’ve adopted a new dog from a shelter, meanwhile, you definitely should check if they’ve been given their second round of vaccines before heading out.

Your veterinarian may also recommend getting a flea and tick treatment for dogs that spend extended amounts of time outdoors. This is because these parasites can cause a wide variety of diseases in dogs, some of which lead to lifelong health complications and even death if left untreated. Be sure to consult your vet for the best possible options for your dog instead of settling for just any medication you can buy over the counter.

Packing Too Little Food and Water

Hiking and camping require lots of energy from both you and your dog, so it only makes sense that you’d both be much hungrier than normal after a full day out and about. Thus, it’s a good idea to pack more food and water than you think you need. Though the specific amount will vary depending on your dog’s size and energy levels, one good rule of thumb is to assume your dog will need about 50 percent more food per day you spend outdoors.

Naturally, it’s also a good idea to pack extra dog treats to help encourage good behavior while camping. You’ll generally want your dog to stick close by your side on hiking trails, stay quiet and calm in the presence of other animals, and respond immediately to your voice commands. Reinforcing these positive behaviors with a treat will make your pup more likely to repeat them on future camping trips.

Not Taking a Dog First Aid Kit

It’s highly unlikely that the campsite you choose will have a veterinary clinic or animal hospital nearby, so preparing a first aid kit specifically for your pet is a must. To ensure your peace of mind, it’s best to purchase a dedicated pet first aid kit online or at your local pet supplies store. These contain special tools, bandages, and medications expressly made for use on animals. In case of an emergency, you’ll have all the equipment you need to take care of minor injuries or keep your pet in stable condition while you transport them to the nearest vet.

Bringing a Small Tent

Any pet parent will be familiar with dogs’ tendency to take up way too much space in bed. With this in mind, consider taking a larger tent on your camping trip than you feel you’d usually need, even if you only have a small dog. This ensures that both you and your pet can rest comfortably without jostling each other for precious floor space.

Leaving Your Pet Alone on the Campsite

You might be able to leave your dog alone at home safely for a few hours every day, but leaving them alone in your campsite for any length of time is generally regarded as a huge no-no. No matter how well-behaved your pup can be, the risk that they’ll run into trouble outdoors is still too great to ignore. They might get excited and chase after squirrels and other critters, for example, or cross paths with larger predators passing through your campsite.

Hence, it’s best to resist the temptation to leave your dog tied to a tree or inside your tent, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Camping with your pet means being prepared to keep them with you at all times, from the moment you arrive to the moment you leave. You’ll also want to brush up on your chosen campsite’s leash rules, as most won’t let you take your dog off-leash unless you’re inside your tent.


While camping with pets undoubtedly requires care and preparation, the rewards of the experience are well worth it. You and your favorite companion will surely both enjoy the opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of your normal lives and take in the great outdoors.

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