Small dogs are often used to home comforts; camping with small dogs may feel like a challenge, but a camping trip with a small dog can be easy with a few tips.
Small dogs usually live indoors and are used to the many modern comforts which their owners enjoy. Therefore, taking a camping trip with a small dog may not seem like a sensible or fun activity for both the dog and the dog owner.
Camping with Small Dogs
However, with a bit of planning and a few helpful tips, taking a small dog camping can be an enjoyable experience.
Planning a Camping Trip With a Small Dog
In the USA, many campsites take dogs. However, the dog usually has to be on a leash and be well behaved; the dog owner must take responsibility for the dog’s behavior on the campsite, and most campsites request that the dog not be left unattended on the campground.
Check with the campsite before booking for any rules and regulations for taking dogs that are specific to a particular campsite.
Things to Take on a Camping Trip With a Small Dog
Small dogs will feel more at home on a camping trip if some of their home comforts surround them; things to take on a camping trip with a small dog include:
Dog bed/crate: small dogs will feel more secure in their own bed. If the dog is not used to sleeping in a crate, it may be a good idea to train the dog to do so before a camping trip.
A crate will be added security for the dog and the dog owner in protecting the dog from surrounding dangers, especially as night falls. A dog crate also means the dog does not have to sleep with the dog owner and can be safely secured in a separate tent if required.
Dog toys: dog toys will keep the dog entertained and hopefully out of trouble/danger on the campsite. Bring a couple of the dog’s favorite toys, including a ball.
Dog food/bowls: ensure the dog has regular food and access to water on the campsite by bringing dog bowls.
Extra dog bedding: depending on where the campsite is, and the time of year, it may be necessary to bring extra dog bedding to ensure the dog is kept warm at night; sleeping in a tent is usually colder than sleeping in the house.
How to Keep a Small Dog on a Leash on a Camping Trip
A small dog will want to explore the new surroundings of the campsite; one way of giving the small dog limited freedom, and still be on a leash, is to construct a makeshift ‘zip line’ between two trees. The small dog will have the ability to wander as far as the zip line allows, and play with some dog toys, but cannot get lost.
A makeshift zip line can be made quite easily from some rope and a clip that attaches to the dog’s collar. The zip line will give the dog owner the freedom to move around the campsite without the dog but the secure knowledge that the dog is safe. However, the dog should not be left unattended and out of sight on the zip line.
Night Time Dangers for Small Dogs on Camp Sites
Small dogs may be curious or scared of the unfamiliar noises which are associated with campsites once night falls. Nighttime wildlife, which may be a danger to small dogs, depending on where the campsite is located, include bears, mountain lions, cougars, skunks, and raccoons.
Skunks and raccoons may not be an immediate threat to a small dog. However, a startled skunk will spay a small dog and the strong odor will not only linger on the dog but can be smelled from a long distance away! Ensure that the little dog is contained and safe from wildlife once night falls.
Considerations for Taking a Small Dog Camping
Camping can be fun with a small dog with some planning. At first, the small dog may be unsure of the new surroundings of the campsite and be confused with the change in routine at night time, but most small dogs will adapt and enjoy the experience.