Page 1 of 2

Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 10:32 pm
by lilmo11
Hi! I'm a single lady with a child (3) and a dog (shepherd collie type). I'd like to bring the pup camping or on road trips, but I'm not sure how I'd coordinate this with trips out of the car (example: if I need a trip to Walmart or something). My son and I went on a three hour trip in very hot weather, and I ended up rigging a potty in the front of my hatchback car (super awkward) because we couldn't take the pup into rest stops and it was far too hot to leave him in the car. I don't feel comfortable leaving the keys in the ignition to keep the air on for my dog, either. So what do you do on longer road trips if you have to stop somewhere?

Also, if you're camped, what do you do? Leave the dog in the trailer with the AC on? I'm terrified that something would go wrong and the power would go off. Or that someone would steal the trailer and the dog (who is more important to me than the trailer).

I guess the logical option is to leave my dog at home, but he get so saaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.... :NC :(



Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:37 am
Lance, my dog, is used to being left in the car for short periods. Now living in Minnesota extreme heat is rare but our cars can still get well over 100 inside. I have a sunroof I will leave open and the windows down as far as I can safely. Park in the shade whenever possible. He is only left long enough for me to run in to a gas station and get ice or a drink or while I run into a rest area. I worry as much about dog theft as heat.
I never leave him unattended in a campground. Either everything I plan on doing is dog friendly or he stays home.
Now I am thinking of adding a remote start to my car. I figured out this past week when we were using my husbands truck that we can take the keys with us and remote started the truck so the air was on. Now as I am paranoid of dog theft I still wouldn't leave him longer than absolutely necessary but I wasn't worried about over heating.
I also have a fan that runs off my solar and battery. I use it in my teardrop but works as well in the car if I am going to be more than a few minutes..

Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:46 am
by troubleScottie
As someone has been traveling all over the world with dogs via planes, boats, rail and cars, you have options:

Crates are the way to go. Get one appropriate for your dog. There are rigid crates -- airline approved, wire door, plastic walls everywhere else; wire crates -- very open but heavy and generally do collapse for storage or transport; and soft shell crates -- lighter weight, collapsible. Great inside hotels. Most dogs nap/sleep when in crate. Also a good place to feed the dog.

There are also sherpa bags -- for smaller/younger dogs. They can be carried over the shoulder or dragged (wheeled versions). They can fit under the seat inside an airplane. Generally too small to leave a dog in for extended periods but fine for an airline trip.

In the car, use a crate to house the dog: safer and controls/limits issues to the crate. Carry extra pads, cleaning supplies, etc.

When stopped in unsecure area: leave dog in crate in locked car with AC running -- use your spare keys or valet key to run car. Cars even with the windows open can get too hot. When cold, think how long you would want the dog outside. The car will reach the ambient temperature fairly quickly. Generally speaking most dogs are good down to freezing for extended periods. However YMMV.

When stopped in secure area: remove dog and crate from car. For hot days, there are portable battery powered fans for attaching to crate doors. Obviously put dog/crate in shade. Box fans or small electric fans are also good options. For cold days, towels or blankets over the crate can offer reasonable insulation.

Also, there are metal pens -- generally 16' long (8 2' sections) of varying heights: 30", 36", 48", 16 sq ft . They fold reasonable flat and provide a contained area for the dog. You can link several together for a bigger area. Think a playpen for the dog. There are also straw pads for underneath the pens. Keeps mud, etc off the dog. Can be cleaned with a hose.

We set pens under popups/tarps/porous covers -- allow air in to shade the dog while it is sitting there. Ensure access to water.

Tethers are another possible. I do not use them. The major issues is others can get to the dog and the dog cannot get to shelter.

Remember, no one likes a loose dog. Always crate/pen/on lead. Your dog being friendly does not mean whatever he/she encounters will be.

Although we have had dogs travel 18 hours in a crate (overseas trip), one should look at stopping every 2 - 6 hours to exercise. Generally, I think about a slightly longer break that I might take while driving. Be aware, dogs are not welcome everywhere. Also carry pickup bags. Baggies/plastic shopping bags work in a pinch.

Carry extra water for the dog. They should be OK with anything that you are willing to drink. Avoid streams, puddles, etc. Dog can be affected by parasites. A dog with diarrhea is not pleasant.

Having said all that, it is easier to leave the dog at home. A house sitter is easier than carrying all that stuff and monitoring the dog.

Most of our dog trips are dog shows/events. Basically everyone is looking out for the dogs: ours, friends' and strangers'. So security is not a primary concern.

Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:53 am
by lrrowe
One campground I visied last month had a rule of no dogs left in trailer unattended.

Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:13 am
by slowcowboy
Good way to loose your dog they belong at home..thats were my dog stays.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-J320A using Tapatalk

Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:10 am
by Pinstriper
Our dogs go everywhere with us, or we don't go. Yeah, they can stay in the car while we are in a store or restaurant. Sunroof open, windows open but not enough for them to get out. Park in shade. All this is weather dependent, and sometimes it means we just don't.

Leaving your car running for any length of time is a great way to get it stolen. Happens all the time. And your insurance company will not cover the loss. Last year there was a local incident of a dog in a running car with the air conditioning running. The car was stolen and when recovered, the dead dog was inside - it had been strangled as part of the theft. I think a running vehicle is more of an invitation to theft than one that isn't. And really, how long are you going to be away that it would be needed ?

Our state now has a law that provides immunity for someone breaking a window to rescue a dog or person left in a vehicle in the sun. They don't have to prove the animal was in distress.

Our state parks where we do most of our camping has a rule against unattended animals. If you leave them in the rv and they are barking, you can get cited. If having running AC is critical to their survival, it's too hot for them to be left alone. Power fails. Fuses blow.

There are places we go that have trails/museums/etc. that the dogs can't go. That means we don't go/do those things.

Bottom line, you are already somewhat handicapped trying to manage a toddler and a dog alone. I don't know how you can handle walking the dog for potty while also managing the kid. You'll have to plan your way around that until circumstances change (kid gets older, etc.) and you have to plan your activities on including the dog.

Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:15 am
by Wolfgang92025
The wife and I take our two dogs on most of our trips.
But you have to plan very carefully. Some places we can not go because of the dogs.
For instance, most trails are closed to dogs in National Parks. Parking lots, campground and roads are ok.
It does limit what you can do. Same as traveling with your 3 year old.
For instance, we just got back from a 12 day camping trip with the dogs in the big trailer.
Wife wanted to attend a late night event. Since we do not leave the dogs in camp and they could not go with us they spend the night at a local pet sitter.
You have to choose what is right/best for you. That is just the way it is.

Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:35 am
by lrrowe
A pet sitter is exactly what I saw happen the other month at a TJ gathering. One dog owner wanted to ride his bike on an organized event but could not because of his dog. But a very understanding camper offered to dog sit for him and it worked very well. I think I would do that for a camping member should the need arise; but with one caveat....that dog must not have been a nuisance with barking earlier in the event.

Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:23 pm
by HMK
slowcowboy wrote:Good way to loose your dog they belong at home..thats were my dog stays.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-J320A using Tapatalk

That wasn't very helpful to the OP. Some of us love our pets and want them to be part of the family.

Ours go with us everywhere we go. We have dark tint on the glass in the back seat and use an extra key so we can leave vehicle running and air on. We check on them about every 15 to 20 minutes. In your trailer, you could use a baby monitor and check them via the internet. Lots of possibilities these days.

Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:25 pm
by S. Heisley
Normally, the only time my dogs aren't with me is if I use the shower at the campground. I simply don't go if they can't. However, on my trip to Yellowstone, I found out that the larger national parks often have day-camp kennels for visiting dogs, offered by local people for a fee. If you plan and call ahead to check/reserve space, you could not only be a happy camper but also a happy trail hiker as well.

Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:32 pm
by lilmo11
Thank you all for your helpful replies. I think I'll leave my pup with my mom on warm-weather, long trips, and stick to cooler weather trips to take him. I appreciate your helpful tips and I'm glad to meet so many other dog lovers!

Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 2:13 am
by pralfred
I suppose that in some ways I have it easy travelling with my dog as she is a service dog. Still, there are ways to travel with a pet with careful planning. Call ahead to see what the location's rules are regarding dogs; some restaurants are ok with it if they have outdoor seating, and some stores (Academy Sports and Lowes come to mind) also don't mind well-behaved pets.

Leaving your dog in the car is something I would never recommend, but inside a secure crate (I'd secure it to the trailer with a cable bike lock) and a decent no-spill water bowl (I use this one: is another option if you have to leave the dog somewhere. I like this water bowl because it really does not spill easily, and you can load it with ice to keep the water cool for longer periods of time. I'd also put a lock on the crate door so no one runs off with the dog while you're gone.

I have seen K9 police cruisers with AC vents modified to bring cold air back to the dog crate in the car and you could possibly do a similar thing with the AC from your camper AC unit to the dog crate with a bit of good old DIY ingenuity. This is, of course if your dog crate is a more enclosed type instead of a wire crate type.

Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 2:25 pm
by lthomas987
I have a few more suggestions. I do dog sports as well as camp for dog sports. So the whole point of it is to take my dog somewhere. Hence more practice than your average human at taking dogs places.

1: Do not discount the power of those dorky looking silver reflective thingies! In your windshield! In the back over your kennel top! I used some Refletix insulation from The Big Blue store all though most the big hardware stores have it to make custom fit ones for my side and rear windows.

2: Learn about and come to love the ventlock! especially if you drive an SUV or minivan.. this tailgate lock is the best thing ever! in the US you can get them from and (and I think Leerburg from Amazon as well) They let you pop your back hatch up some number of inches while keeping the car locked. I own a 6" and a 12" and I use the 6" ALL THE TIME. It is in my car holding the hatch open in the underground parking garage right now, while I'm at work. Also anybody with a modicum of welding skill could make their own really it's not that complicated. (I also used it in the trunk of my VW Sedan with the seats down and the dog kennels on the seats)

3: Experiment without your dogs. Get yourself a thermometer, put it in the car where you keep your dogs. I use a small digital indoor/outdoor one that records the daily high and low temps (over a 24 hour period) as well as displaying the current temp I check it (pop the hatch and look) most every time I return to my car, it takes a second and I have a REALLY good feel for what the temp of my car does, regardless of if it is 95F out or -40F out. (Both of which I've seen in the last 6 months, got to love Minnesota)

So I drive a dark colored SUV, and with these things I can keep the internal temp of my car roughly equal to the outdoor temp. When I drove a white car I could keep the interior the shade temp of the outdoors. The important part is to understand how the air flows through your vehicle.

Best results come with a vent at the top/front of the car.. so I'll vent the front windows an inch or two (I also used to use my sunroof but I don't have one in this vehicle) I'll put the shade covers on the windshield, over the kennels in the hatch and on the sunny window side of the car. (and if it's noonish both sides). This makes my car basically dark inside. I do try to park in the shade as well.

With the hatch popped and the cooler air coming in over the dogs noses/open kennel fronts, the thermometer I keep there seldom goes up more than a degree or two over the outside temp over the course of 30-45 minutes. And I've experimented with all day without dogs in the car and it still stays pretty good only a couple degrees F over the daily high temp.

That said, I do a lot of experimentation, limit the time they're locked up without supervision, and check my thermometer all the time even when they're not in the car so I know what to expect for performance in all conditions. It can be done. And sure it takes me an extra 3-4 minutes to get all the venting and shade covers in place when I park my car, but the peace of mind of knowing my car is locked up and my dogs are good for the time it takes to go to the facilities and grab a snack, or even a quick lunch, makes it worth it.

Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2018 4:04 pm
by Woodbutcher
For short periods I leave my dog in the Jeep, Locked with the windows up. After I am out I remote start the Jeep and run into the store. It will run with the AC on for 20 minutes. If My trip is longer I step outside and restart it. But no one can steal a running car that has been remotely started. As soon as they touch the brake or the shifter the car turns off.

If I am going on a long trip or to very hot weather, she stays home. But long weekend trip are fine and for the most part she loves to go.

Re: Camping with a dog

PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 4:17 pm
by ae6black
In the campground, I picked up a shower tent to hide a potty in. My Brit has separation anxiety. He barks his full head off when I am out of sight. If he sees me going into the tent and hears me talking to him, he calms down. When I need to shower in hot weather he's in the crate in the truck with doors locked and with ac running and spare keys in my pocket. Colder weather, when I need a shower, he's in the crate with doors locked and windows open. He still barks his full head off but it isn't as bad with the windows closed for the other campers.

I try to exercise him during the day so that when he gets a chance, laying down and resting quietly is an agreeable option. For cold weather, I just picked up a hurta dog summit parka for around the campsite. Running around in the woods he's ok, but when he stops he shivers like crazy even when it's in the 40's. When all else fails during the evening when I'd like to enjoy a campfire and the dog does not, we end up in the tear while I watch a movie. This pooch is highly indignant when his bed time at around 8PM rolls around and I still what to do something around the campsite. Because of his fussing, we either have to go for a walk or retire for the night in the Tear. Barking at other dogs is just part of having a dog with you. Together you just sort of work out what works best for you and your neighbors.