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While it may seem natural that all dogs can adapt easily to the outdoors, this is not always true. Before camping with a dog that is primarily an indoor dog, you may want to begin with a light camping trip during off-peak seasons or slow periods at your chosen campground. While it is most likely that your dog will ultimately enjoy an outdoor camping trip, they will initially be a bit overwhelmed by all of the outdoor sights, sounds and smells. Prepare your indoor dog for this camping adventures by taking them to a local park or forest preserve several times so they can get used to the outdoors.

If you plan on equipping your dog with camping gear such as dog boots, a dog backpack or dog sweaters and the like, be sure to let the dog get acclimated to this equipment in the safety of their home first. Apply the equipment while in the home and let your dog walk around the house before adventuring outside with new camping gear. Similarly, if you are purchasing camping equipment for dogs such as a dog tent, new dog bed, dog blankets, or the like let them use these items within the safety and comfort of your home. An indoor dog that is heading to an outdoor camping trip is going to have enough stimulation to deal with and new items for your dog may be too overwhelming.

If your indoor dog does not have a lot of dog obedience training, you should take some time to teach them basic commands before heading into the great outdoors. Simple dog obedience commands such as “sit”, “down”, “come”, and “stay” will benefit you and your dog. Be sure to check our Dog Obedience Videos resource page.

Most likely your camping trip will require travel by car, SUV, RV or the like. If your dog is not familiar with traveling in vehicles, take some time to acclimate them. The trips to the local park or forest preserve will aid in this. Be sure to pack your vehicle with items from home that your dog is familiar with. See our blog post on Vehicle Traveling Tips for Camping With Dogs.

Dogs are social animals, they like to run in a pack. Before you consider taking your dog on a camping trip, be sure to think of all the activities that you will be engaging in while on the trip. The dog will not want to be alone for too much time and it could be dangerous for you to leave your dog alone in a strange place without any supervision. If you are going to be canoeing one day on your camping trip and your dog has never been in a canoe, you would be forced to cancel that canoe trip of your dog can’t accompany you.

Sleeping under the stars during your camping trip? Be sure that your indoor dog is prepared to sleep outdoors with you. Talk to your veterinarian to determine if your dog is hearty enough to sleep outdoors. Generally, temperatures below 35 degrees Fahrenheit and above 90 degrees Fahrenheit can pose risks for your dog. If your dog is hearty enough, then be prepared to provide adequate shelter. Depending on where you are camping and how much space you have to haul your gear, you may want to consider a portable exercise pen to protect your dog from local wildlife. There are also many portable dog houses and tents that may be useful for camping outdoors with your dog. You can also prepare to camp outside with your indoor dog by acclimating them to the concept of a different sleeping arrangement. If your dog currently sleeps on your bed with you, it might help you to teach them a new pattern for sleeping.

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