Packing List for Camping with your Canine Companion

Identification tags: If your pup is out of the  house, she should wear her ID tags (license, vaccination & home address) labeled  with your name, city, state and phone number. For your camping trip, consider  purchasing an inexpensive, temporary tag for her to wear along with the standard  tags. Some stores have engraving kiosks - simply enter the  relevant info (such as your dog’s name, the name of the park where you’ll be  camping and your assigned campsite number). If your park of choice doesn’t  assign numbers ahead of time, or if you’re camping on a wilderness trail,  include the phone number of the nearest ranger station. If there’s space enough,  include pertinent information about medical conditions (such as ‘Diabetic’) or  behavioral issues (like, ‘Cat Aggressive’).

Leash: In addition to your standard leash and  collar (make sure they’re in good condition while you’re at it), consider  bringing back-ups. It’s a good idea to have one short lead, especially if your  destination is heavily wooded - you don’t want Max’s retractable lead wound  around a couple of trees when he’s in an excited state.

Tether or Crate: You need to have a way to  safely restrain your dog while you are setting up camp, cooking, etc. - just ask  anyone who’s ever tried to pitch a tent while holding a leash - not pretty. If  your dog routinely sleeps in a crate, and you’re driving to your campsite, bring  it along. Obviously, it’s not something you want to carry on your back if you’re  hiking to your site. However, a crate is a safe place she can return to while  you’re busy prepping or cleaning up your camp site.

Bedding: Bring an all-weather tarp to place  under the bedding to shield you and your pup from the ground, especially for  camping in cold weather. Laying on the ground risks exposure, as body heat is  quickly absorbed into the earth, and we don’t want you or your dog experiencing  hypothermia.

Cold Protection: To further protect your pup,  especially if she has a short or thin coat, pack a doggie sweater for her to wear.  Again, there’s no reason to risk hypothermia.

Booties: Depending on the terrain, presence of  ice on the ground, prevalence of fire ants or if your dog has weak footpads  (i.e., predisposed to tearing, not uncommon in older dogs), booties are a good  solution for paw protection. Don’t forget to do some trial runs with the booties  before you leave … wearing shoes for the first time takes some getting used to.

Food and Water: Don’t wing it when it comes to  having enough food and water. Do not simply trust the safety of streams, rivers  and lakes as a source of hydration, for you or your dog. It’s rare these days to  locate natural water that isn’t tainted by giardia, toxic chemicals or other  harmful bacteria. If you insist on using water from a natural source, bring  giardia tablets (follow the label instructions) and a tiny bottle of bleach (you  only need a couple of drops per gallon) to purify the water. When it comes to  food, pack two extra days of dog food beyond your planned stay. Preserve the  food in a sturdy water-proof container. If your campsite features a “bear box” (a storage container high off the ground, often on a pole), please use it - it’s  there for a reason. If you don’t have travel bowls, pack your pup’s regular ones – even these can evoke a measure of comfort in an unfamiliar environment.

Toys: Even though the Great Outdoors may  captivate your attention, boredom’s a distinct possibility after your dog has  marked his or her territory and sniffed around the camp site a couple of times.  If your dog is fearful under the stars, a favorite toy from home might provide a  measure of comfort.

First Aid Kit Items: Chances are, you already  plan to take some first-aid items … by adding a couple of more products, you’ll  be well prepared to handle many canine emergencies, too.
Take the following items and keep them safely stored in clear storage bags … that way, you won’t waste precious time in an emergency situation digging  through your backpack.

Bandages: Vetwrap (self-stick gauze), butterfly bandages (used to close open  wounds), waterproof surgical tape, duct tape, 4” X 4” gauze pads and non-stick  sterile pads
Styptic Powder, to stop bleeding (Kwik Stop is a  good brand)
Small Scissors
Hemostats or needle-nose pliers
Small razor (to shave hair from injured area)
Irrigation syringe (to flush eyes and wounds)
Ear and eye ointment (ask your vet or vet tech for which brands for common  conditions)
Triple antibiotic ointment with lidocaine (that last part will help with  stinging, painful wounds - check with your vet)
Medication for insect stings in both a topical spray and oral capsules (again,  talk with your vet about brand choice and dosages)
Hydrogen peroxide (to disinfect the wound)
Muzzle (if your dog is in pain, you need to take steps to prevent him from  biting you or others while addressing the emergency)


If you are planning a camping trip in a remote location, it  would be wise to consider enrolling in a back-country EMT course, which should  be available through your local community college.

It sounds like a lot of work, but if you’re adequately prepared, you’re more  likely to have a blast. Enjoy your trip!

(Please note: Always consult your veterinarian on your first aid kit regarding items, brand choices, dosages and guidance on their uses.)