Camping with canines is a great way to get outside, spend time in nature, and to let your dog experience the sights and sounds of the great outdoors!
That being said, any camping trip can be made better with the right preparation and gear. Here's our list of camping "must haves" when camping with canines. ** Please note that this list is geared towards camping on a pull-in site; backcountry camping without a vehicle may require packing much lighter!**
1. ) Water resistant collar & tags (also, never forget your dog license!)
Pro tip: If you can, bring a spare dog tag that you can tape your campsite number on to. This is great for areas where cell service might be slim to none.
2.) Extra-long lead / cable tie out.
Bonus: Bringing a screw-in tie out can also help, depending on where you're camping. I like to bring one so that I'm not obligated to tie the dogs right to the picnic table, or incase there isn't an ideal tree positioned nearby.
3.) Eco friendly poop bags
4.) Collar Light
Pro Tip: There are full collar options as well as simple tag lights that you can get for your pup. We currently use the Spotlit tags by Nightize, and they've been great.
5.) Regular 4-6 foot Leash.
Pro Tip: Long leads are great, but having a standard leash is always important when navigating new spaces.
6.) Comfortable Harness.
Recommendation: My favourite so far have been the Ruffwear Front Range harnesses.
7.) Dog Towel
Pro Tip: Opt for microfiber towels if you can. They absorb more liquid, and dry super quickly (best of both worlds!)
8.) Lightweight Dog Blanket
Pro Tip: When your dogs get all stinky after a few days, you might not want to share your own - so bringing a spare blanket that's specifically for the dog is always good. Plus, a spare blanket is great on the site, in your car, or in your tent.
9.) Bathless Spray or Cleaning Wipes
Pro Tip: I love the Earth Rated certified compostable wipes. Store them in your cooler for a nice cool wipe down if you're camping during the summer months.
10.) Collapsible Bowls
Pro Tip: There are some great options that have little carabiners attached to them. These are great because you can easily tag them onto your backpack for hikes!
11.) Small K9 First Aid Kit & Tick remover key.
Pro Tip: If you forget your tick key, never fear! Most Ontario Parks carry tick remover keys at the check in desk.
12.) 2 Light Fetch Toys
13.) 2 long lasting chews to keep pups occupied while you set up camp.
Pro Tip: Sometimes it's better safe than sorry. We always pack the dogs a warm jacket for the evenings, and their Hurtta Monsoon Coats during spring/fall camping trips (where we can expect more wind, rain, mud, etc).
15.) Dish Soap and Hydrogen Peroxide.
Pro Tip: Getting skunked sucks. Not a little, but A LOT! Coming from experience, ensuring that you have emergency "deskunking" supplies can save your sanity (and your camping gear... and your car... and your marriage... haha).This combo works amazing should your dog ever run into a skunk.
16.) Treats (both high value and regular).
Pro Tip: The first night of camping can sometimes be very overwhelming for dogs due to the huge sensory overload. All those smells, textures, and critters offer a great opportunity to reward your dogs for good behaviours, and to show them that camping is a positive experience.
17.) Extra food, as your dog will likely be exerting more calories than normal.
Pro Tip: I store dry food in an empty coffee container, and wet/frozen food in portioned bags (patted down flat, frozen) in the bottom of our cooler.
18.) A Shady Spot
Recommendation: We love our Lightspeed Outdoors sun shade, since it's big enough for both humans and pups! Not to mention, it's super easy to set up and break down.
19.) A Bed or Sleeping Pad
Pro Tip: Try and find a bed option that rolls up for easy storage. We use a Coleman waterproof dog bed, which rolls up into a mini sleeping bag roll with handle! I found mine at Winners for under $30.
20.) Some Research In Advance
Pro Tip: Before your trip, research the closest emergency vet to your camping location. It might sound silly, but when an emergency happens and you have no service- having some knowledge and a phone number for the closest ER Vet is worth it's weight in gold.