Camping With Dogs: Rules, Regulations, and Tips

Camping with dogs can enhance your camping experience tenfold. Who're the only ones having more fun than us? Our dogs. Whether they're swimming endless circles in the lake, or rolling around ridiculously in the tall grass, adventuring outdoors with your dogs is a benefit for the both of you.

Bring your dogs on your next adventure! Many public lands and national parks welcome companions, and many allow several canine companions per campsite. Some trails are more friendly than others, so it's important to only explore areas where your dog is comfortable.

With a little research and planning, you can ensure a better experience for you, your dog, and your fellow campers.

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National Parks

Many national parks allow you to visit with your dog, but each has its own set of rules. Rules for dogs are  generally listed on every park’s website.  The National Park Service Map is a fantastic resource to have on hand.

Your dog should always be with you at all times, parks regulate this with a saying, ‘Leaving your dog in the campsite is not an option.’ National Parks designate dog-friendly trails for outdoor enjoyment with your companion.

State and Local Parks

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The same general guidelines apply to State and Local parks. Make sure you call the park ahead of time to check for specific regulations because there’s nothing worse than getting ready for a weekend outdoors only to find out you can’t take your dog with you.

#1 TIP:  Dogs are allowed anywhere cars can go, so developed campgrounds usually allow canine pets.

Cherry Creek State Park in Colorado is a great example. In addition to a dog-friendly campground open year-round, Cherry Creek also sports a fenced-in off-leash area, complete with water access.

General Tips

Your dog is your constant companion. Don’t leave your pup alone unattended.

Tying-up dogs at the campsite can be disruptive to neighbors, and potentially, degrading to your furry friend. Your canine friend wants to run around and explore just as much as you do, and probably more. Keep them close by during trips at all times. It's safer that way (and probably more fun) for both of you.

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Use pick-up bags. Practice the “leave no trace” principle when exploring with your dogs. You and your companion aren't the only ones out there, and dog waste adds up quickly, which can be damaging to the local environment. Do your part, and clean up after your dog!

Try Co-sleeping. Some rules and regulations require that your dog sleep with you at night. The last thing you need is your dog picking a fight with a skunk or worse, a coyote. Having your dog sleep with you keeps them safe from outside threats.

Pack Essentials. Your Dog Kit should include a bowl, water, and kibble. If your backpacking, consider adding a separate dog-pack for supplies. Keeping your dog hydrated and
well-fed must always be a top priority.

Taking your dog out with friends for a relaxing weekend in the woods can be incredibly rewarding when everything runs smoothly.

With a little research and planning beforehand, you can be prepared for anything you and your dog may need while out camping. Sometimes, our dogs can appreciate the outdoors even more than we do, and sharing our experiences with them can often make for the trip of a lifetime.