My family loves camping in the summer. There’s something magical when you lie under the stars.
We enjoy being next to the fire, warming marshmallows, and sharing camp stories.
This winter, we bought a large breed puppy, which was an absolute blessing.
The only question that we didn’t have an answer to now was where Butch, the large bulldog, was going to sleep when we go camping for the first time this year.
There was no way that he would be put into a doggy daycare or kennel while we were away for three weeks.
But how would Butch adapt to being out in the great outdoors? We began to read up and prepare for our trip.
This is what we did, and Butch now loves camping as much as we do!
Camping With a Dog: Where Does He Sleep?
Dogs should sleep in the tent with you when camping. Some dogs don’t enjoy the enclosed space of a tent, and they may prefer to be in their own camping tent, while others love laying next to the fire or prefer a mobile crate. Whichever place your dog sleeps, they should be safe and won’t run off during the night.
Preparing Your Dog for Their Camping Trip
Knowing the basics, we began to train Butch for the great outdoors. As responsible campers and pet owners, we knew it wasn’t simply a case of grabbing his lead and driving off to the campsite.
Some careful preparation was needed.
Dogs love adventures as much as their owners do, but they don’t always understand what is involved in the trip or what is expected of them.
It is up to you as their owners to help them understand and do the right thing. Here’s how:
Train Your Dog to Sleep Next to You
If your dog sleeps in your bed, then you are halfway there. However, you should also train them to remain next to you until you tell them to go play or get up and take them out.
Initially, this may mean putting a collar or harness on your dog so you can easily encourage them to sleep next to you.
Alternatively, get a special doggy mattress that you can also take with you when you go camping that your dog sleeps on. Train them by placing the mattress next to your bed at home, encouraging your dog to sleep on this mattress.
If you can’t find a mattress that is the right size to pack for your dog, then you can use a blanket too.
There are lovely camping alternatives for dogs that include foldable doggy beds, so browse around, but be sure to use these well before the actual camping trip so your dog can acclimatize.
Top Tip: If you are using a doggy bed to train your dog for their sleeping position in the tent, then don’t launder the bed before the trip.
Your dog will sleep much more happily if they can smell their bed, know that it’s home and that it’s theirs.
Train Your Canine to Snooze in the Car
Some dogs don’t like the great outdoors nearly as much as you do. They may become frightened, and they might want to run off during the night.
If you notice on your first camping trip that your dog isn’t happy sleeping under the stars, then you can let them sleep in your car.
Be sure to leave a window slightly open so they have enough ventilation and give them their favorite blanket too. This is a good way of securing your dog in a pinch.
Train Your Canine to Snooze in a Mobile Crate
Many people frown on doggy crates, but if your dog is well-trained, then they have probably become quite accustomed to their crate.
It’s a place of safety for them where they can chill for a bit. If your dog is the right size for their crate, it can be a nice comfort zone for them.
I considered this option, but we have a large family, and finding space for a crate (even a folding one) was not going to work. So we opted to train Butch to sleep next to my husband and me.
What are some of the don’ts that you should avoid when camping with your pooch?
Don’ts for Doggy Sleeping Arrangements While Camping
Never do the following if you want a successful camping trip with your dog:
- Don’t chain your dog to a tree.
- Don’t pack and go camping without a try-out.
- Don’t make your dog sleep in your yard to prepare them for sleeping out when you go camping.
- Don’t punish your dog when they cry the first night that you sleep out.
- Don’t be inflexible in your planning as each dog is different.
Dos for Doggy Sleeping Arrangements While Camping
Be sure to:
- Get your dog microchipped and vaccinated for any doggy diseases that they may contract in the wild (do so well in advance).
- Have an ID photo of your dog and share it with the other campers in your campground so they know which dog is yours.
- Train your dog to be obedient. Even an unsettled dog will listen and lie down next to you if they have been given basic obedience training.
- Take your dog’s favorite mattress or blanket for them to sleep on.
- Practice camping in your yard to familiarize your dog to the camping equipment and sleeping arrangement.
Frequently Asked Questions about Camping With a Dog Where Does He Sleep
Where does your dog sleep when camping?
Your dog can sleep in your tent with you, in their own travel tent or crate, and even in their own outdoors sleeping bag. Be sure that your sleeping arrangement with your dog is one that makes them feel comfortable and safe. If your dog is nervous, you can let them sleep in the car or in your RV.
Do dogs need a sleeping pad?
If your dog is small and is used to sleeping in your bed with you, then you can let them share your camping cot or sleeping bag. However, it is better to have a sleeping pad that is entirely your dog’s own. This gives them a sense of home and belonging in the strange environment of the tent.
How do you keep a canine while camping?
The best way to secure your dog while you cook or tidy up the campsite is to use a doggy exercise pen or crate that you can leave your dog in for a few minutes. If you do tie your dog to a suitable fixed point, be sure to do so for short periods of time and to watch your dog to make sure they don’t tangle or panic.
The First Camping Finale
Butch and the rest of the family had a great time on our regular camping trip.
The first night, Butch was a little worried that we were in a new place, but he soon settled. With his own blanket to sleep on, he happily slept through the night.
Now, if we can only find a way to stop him snoring the whole tent up for most of the night!