Are you considering exploring the great outdoors with your pup by your side? If so, you’re not alone! According to the 2017 American Camping Report, approximately 37% of American campers bring their pets for camping adventures. A number that is clearly on the rise with the growing number of dog beaches and pet-friendly trails popping up at popular destinations. But why do dogs make the perfect camping companions? Let’s look at the benefits of outdoor travel with your best friend!
With the recent adoption of our puppy Lucifer, my husband and I now share our house with three pups. They range in age from 5 months old to 13 years old, and 20 lbs to 85 lbs. While they are at very different stages of their lives, they all love spending time outdoors as a pack.
After some careful training to introduce them to the tent, we can explore different parks and campgrounds across North America with our pups by our side.
But why do we enjoy including our dogs in our travel plans? I would even take it a step further. Why do my husband and I never go camping without our dogs by our side? After being asked these questions multiple times by friends, family, and strangers at the campground, it’s time to break it down.
6 Reasons Dogs Make the Perfect Camping Companions
They Are Always Good for A Laugh
If you have spent time around a dog, then you know that they are highly entertaining. Their carefree and fun-loving attitude allows them to see the joy in every situation, and they don’t hold back. It also means that they don’t always think before they act. In fact, from my experience, they rarely think before they act!
Whether I’m watching them fall off the cot in our tent after rolling around on their back or trying to clean them up from faceplanting in the mud while trying to catch a bird, I am often in tears laughing at their random antics. Life is never boring with a dog around.
They Will Encourage You to Explore
From hiking the local trails to checking out the beach, most dogs enjoy exploring new places. This excitement can be the push that you need to get up and get moving. Not only does this mean that you’re more active when you’re camping, which is great for promoting better health, but it also leads to discovering new perks at each park and campground that you visit. Many of our favorite places stand out due to their trails and beaches.
They Help You Meet Friends
Do you enjoy meeting new friends when you’re traveling, but you struggle to break the ice? Having a dog with you means that you always have a great conversation starter. A quick question about what breed your dog is or what harness you are using may lead to a long-term friendship. You never know where you’re going to meet your new best friend! All you have to do is get out there with your pup and start exploring. The rest, as they say, is history.
They Can Be Costly to Board
Let’s step away from the emotional reasons for a moment and look at this decision from a purely logical level. Boarding your dog can add up fast financially, especially if you are camping for any length of time or if you have more than one dog. We had investigated it once for a trip to a place that didn’t have any available dog-friendly campsites and wound up ditching those plans simply due to the fact it was going to cost me more to board the dogs for a couple of days than it would cost to pay for the campsite for a whole week. Meanwhile, many dog-friendly campgrounds don’t even charge for your dog to be there.
Not only does boarding cost more money, but many pet owners struggle with leaving their pets behind. It is true even if your dog is staying with friends or family. If you’re spending the whole time thinking about whether your dog is okay, it’s going to spoil your vacation. Bringing your pup along is a great way to free yourself from guilt and concern.
They Give You Extra Warmth on Colder Nights
Have you considered camping into the fall or even winter months? Fall camping is my favorite time to head out, but it can also get a little chilly at night. Luckily, that has never been a concern for us. All three of our dogs love to snuggle up at night. It means that my husband and I can always enjoy the added body heat, keeping us warm in even the coolest temperatures. During the day, I can kick back in the hammock with our dogs and a blanket if I’m feeling chilled.
But don’t worry, we aren’t the only ones benefitting from this arrangement. Our dogs love curling up in our beds because it also helps them to keep warm. Especially the dogs with shorter coats as they are more susceptible to the cold.
They Keep You Safe
Many newer campers are concerned about the risks of heading out with nothing but a tent to protect them. Whether you’re concerned about wildlife or the other people in the area, bringing a dog along can work as an additional safety measure. Even a small dog can make a difference by barking and sounding the alarm. If someone is trying to steal off a site, they are less likely to do so on a campsite where a barking dog will alert others nearby to their efforts. It is a great point for solo campers to consider.
Get Started Camping with Your Dog Today
If you have never been camping with your dog, I highly recommend giving it a try! However, not every dog enjoys the camping experience. Some dogs thrive in the great outdoors, and some prefer the comforts of home. Take your time to get to know your dog, test it out with a shorter trip and be prepared to be flexible.
Know that it may not all go perfectly the first few times. Things still go wrong for us now, and Daviana, for example, has been camping with me for 12 years. Just remind yourself that it’s about the shared experience with your pup, and have fun with it!
Dog parents: If you enjoy camping with your pups, I’d love to hear from you! I invite you to share your favorite camping stories in the comment section below.