10 Tips to Prepare For Your Puppy’s First Camping Trip

November 7, 2018

by Chris Alexander & Nicole Amos

Photo credit: CNA Photography

So you got a new puppy! Can you bring pup camping? The answer is yes! You have a new family member and you cannot wait to take your new adventure partner out on the road with you on their first camping trip! Bringing your dog along on great hikes, swimming in the lake and relaxing at the campground all sound wonderful, but might be a bit trickier than you think with a new puppy. Start young with your pup and you’ll be on the road to becoming the best camping buddies!

Here is a handy guide with 10 tips to prepare for your puppy’s first camping trip – make the experience enjoyable for everyone!

Make Sure Your Puppy Gets All Their Vaccination Shots

New puppies need a series of shots before they can hit the trails with you on your next great adventure. Puppies get three sets of vaccines at 8, 12 and 16 weeks, and once they have had all of these, they are safe to go out to explore and meet other dogs.

Make sure you talk to your vet about getting them covered for fleas and ticks. Even if they have the preventative medication, still be sure to check your dog for ticks after a hike or lying around the campsite – especially around the ears, under its legs and their belly.

Know Your Pup

Is your dog outgoing, adventurous and likes going on walks? Or are they quiet and happy to just relax at home? Make sure you get to know your dog’s personality before you take them out on a big camping trip with you. If you are uncertain, try a few short camping trips before taking them on a big road trip.

Photo credit: CNA Photography

Find Dog-Friendly Campgrounds

Many campgrounds across Canada are dog friendly, but it’s always better to check before showing up. All Ontario Provincial Parks, Kampground of America (KOAs), National Parks and so many more accept dogs but make sure to do your research ahead of time. Not sure which dog-friendly park to visit? Here’s a great place to start: 7 Pet-Friendly Campgrounds in Canada.
Photo credit: CNA Photography


Get Some Basic Training for Pup

A puppy is experiencing so many things for their first time and wants to explore everything. They will want to dig holes, chew sticks and anything else they can find. Make sure your pup understands some basic commands before taking them on their first camping trip. Commands such as “sit” and “leave it” are great commands to teach them early on. Bringing your new pup camping is also the perfect way to have them meet many new people. Keep lots of treats with you; you can have strangers give the treat to your pup – help your puppy interact with new people.


Photo credit: CNA Photography


Introduce Your Dog to Your RV Before Hitting the Road

Let your dog explore your RV while you are packing it, so they get used to all the smells and the layout. Let them stay in the RV with you while you clean, pack and prepare for your camping trip so they can understand this is a safe place – soon they’ll learn that it is the exciting place that will take them on all kinds of adventures! Run the air conditioning or any noises the RV might make while you are away so they can hear them and get familiar with the surroundings.


Photo credit: CNA Photography


Respect Your Pup’s Physical Limits

Puppies often act like they can go on forever, but recognize the signs when they start to get tired. They likely cannot go on a 5km hike in their early days, but they can quickly work their stamina up to it. While it is different for every breed, the general rule of thumb is 5 minutes of exercise per month of age until they are full grown.


Photo credit: CNA Photography

Stick to Their Schedule

Dogs are creatures of habit and puppies are still forming their routine. Going away for even a few days can throw them off their schedule. You don’t necessarily need to feed your puppy everyday exactly at 6pm, but feeding them within 30 minutes is good practice. Sticking as close to your dog’s regular routine adds a sense of normalcy in an unfamiliar environment.


Pack the Essentials For Your Pup


One of the first rules of camping is pack everything you think you will need and to be prepared! Making lists so you don’t forget anything that you or your dog needs to have a relaxing and fun trip is important. Additionally, this will help ensure your pup feels at home on these new adventures, as you may not be able to purchase all forgotten items in the areas that you are camping!

Here are the key things you should not forget to bring when your puppy comes camping:

  • Bowls
  • Food – Bring more than you think you need.
  • Treats
  • Bottled Water – We always bring bottled water for our dog especially for a new puppy, as the water can vary by campground.
  • Favourite Toys – Balls and bones are perfect for camping.
  • Bug Spray – Mosquitoes bother dogs, too! Note: Mosquito repellent can be poisonous to your dog if they lick their skin, so make sure to research natural options available.
  • Towel
  • Crate, Dog Bed and Blankets– If your dog sleeps or travels in a crate, make sure you bring this with you to keep up with their routine. To help regulate temperature while camping, bring blankets for them to cozy up in on cooler nights.
  • Ground Stake – You may want to tie your pup up outside while you are relaxing at your campsite. A ground stake is the perfect way to let them explore a little bit while keeping them close.
  • Leash
  • Poop Bags
  • First Aid Kit for Dogs – Puppies can get injured just like kids! A first aid kid for dogs should have pet-friendly medication in case they get stung or have an allergic reaction, as well as boots or bandages in case they cut their paws.
  • Collar & ID Tag with your information in case they manage to go out wandering on their own!

For more tips for RVing with pets, read on.

Heading south of the border for the winter? Check out these helpful tips for snowbirding with pets.


Photo credit: CNA Photography


Let Them Try All New Experiences

If your dog is adventurous, let them try any and all new experiences – but make sure you let them do it at their own pace. If you are going swimming, let them get their feet wet, but do not force them to go in the water. They will learn to love each thing at their own pace and soon will be as daring as you are.

Have Fun On Your Camping Trip!

The most important thing about every camping trip is to have fun! Don’t keep too high expectations for your pup on the first trip, but let them surprise you with how much they enjoy it. Camping is about all the new experiences and adventures you encounter on your trip and your new adventure buddy will make it even better. Happy travels!

Got a handy tip for RVing with pets? Join the Go RVing Canada community and chime in on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Chris and Nicole are a Canadian couple exploring Canada one province and territory at a time! Follow along with Chris and Nicole’s outdoor photography adventures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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