If you’re considering going on a camping trip with your canine, you might be confused about whether your tent is dog-friendly. Are there any tents specially catered to taking care of you and your dog, and what kind of specifications do these tents have?
The best tents for camping with dogs are ones suited to your dog’s size and excitability, and made of durable fabric that is claw-resistant. They should also have good ventilation and be appropriate to the season and terrain where you’ll be camping.
If you want to learn more about the specifications for the perfect tent, along with reviews of potential tents that you can use for your camping trip with your dog, keep reading!
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If you’re in a hurry, here are our top picks of tents for camping with dogs. We have in-depth reviews of each further below, as well as a complete buying guide to help you make your decision.
Should Your Dog Sleep in a Tent?
When you’re out on a camping trip with your furry friend, you might be thinking – is it a good idea to let your dog sleep in the same tent as you? If it rains or gets humid, you’ll be the one who has to suffer through that distinctive wet dog smell. Can your dog even fit in the tent?
Although it might seem like a good idea, you shouldn’t let your dog sleep outside in the wild. The woods are dangerous, and any of the following scenarios could occur:
- Insect bites
- Attacks from wild animals or other dogs
- Your dog wandering away and getting lost
As you’ve realized, your dog needs to sleep in a tent! It can be in your tent, or you can buy a special dog tent for them to sleep in. However, the latter option is not recommended for owners with young puppies.
Before you go on your camping trip, make sure to perform a test run with your dog and the tent you’re going to use. You can stay the night in an open space, like your backyard or a nearby field.
If you’re getting your dog a doggie tent, train them to sleep in it for the few days leading up to the big camping trip. Older, more well-trained dogs will love sleeping in their tent.
However, it would be best if you didn’t let your puppy sleep in a doggie tent because it is likely that they will wander off, and you may not be able to find them again. Instead, you can cuddle up with them.
What Should I Do Before I Go Camping With My Dog?
Before going on a camping trip with your dog, you need to take various precautions to ensure that they will not be negatively affected. Here’s what you need to do:
- Check if the site is pet-friendly. If you’re setting up in a campground, you need to check whether they allow for well-behaved dogs or you risk getting kicked off from complaints by other irritated campers. Pet-friendly campgrounds might also come with additional requirements, like a leash shorter than 6 feet, so be sure to check up on the rules before you get there.
- Get your dog up-to-date on all their vaccinations. You don’t want to put your dog at risk for getting diseases like heartworm disease after being bitten by an infected mosquito or have them accidentally infect someone else with rabies. Get your dogs vaccinated.
- Get some form of flea and tick protection. It would be best to have your dog on a year-round parasite protector.
- Groom your dog. It could seem redundant to groom your dog before entering a setting where they are bound to get dirty. However, if you have a long-haired dog, grooming them will prevent the hairs from becoming tangled or snagging on anything.
- Microchip your dog. If you haven’t already done this, you should microchip your dog. If they get lost after wandering around, it will help you find them much more quickly than without a microchip.
- Ensure that your dog is healthy. The last thing you want on a camping trip is a sick dog. Make sure your pup is feeling well before you depart on your adventure.
Along with this, it is up to you to personally determine if it is a good idea to bring your dog with you on a camping trip. If your dog is very aggressive towards other humans or dogs, or they’re not fond of unfamiliar surroundings, you should probably leave them at home.
What To Look for in a Tent for Camping With Your Dog
There are several factors to consider when going camping with your dog in the same tent. I’ll break them down for you so that you’ll be able to get an accurate gauge of which tent will be perfect for your dog!
The tent’s fabric might seem like a minor thing to get hung up over, but it’s vital. Besides determining whether your tent will be waterproof or not, you should also pick the tent’s fabric depending on the climate you’re going to be camping.
If you’re going camping in a tropical or humid region, pick cooling materials like cotton. On the other hand, if you’re sure of cold weather, pick an insulator like nylon. You don’t have to choose a tent with a single layer; you can find tents with multiple thermal layers that trap more air.
It’s also possible to distinguish between the warmer and cooler areas in your tent by getting a tent with specialized areas. These tents have multiple layers or a different material used for the sleeping location versus a single layer for the daytime location.
For a trip with relatively different temperatures in the morning compared to the night, pick a breathable material to prevent the unpleasant development of condensation and wet patches.
Along with this, you should consider whether you want the interior of your tent to be waterproof as well. Doing so will prevent your dog from tracking muddy footprints inside the tent.
As a human, gazing out of the windows of your tent into nature is always a fun experience. For your dog, depending on their size and breed, it could be the inverse, serving to make them more alert and increasing the number of times they bark when they spot something moving outside.
You should always take into account your dog’s susceptibility to bark along with their general energy levels when deciding whether to get windows or not.
Consider buying a tent with more durable material if you’re going to be camping in rough terrain. Rocky floors tend to wear away the material at the base of your tent, resulting in slight tears in the fabric. In the best-case scenario, all you end up with is a colder tent without either you or your dog falling sick caused by the temperature change.
In worse cases, you will have water seeping into your tent or the presence of dirt and bugs. This will cut your trip short because you need a tent that can protect you from the elements.
Rough terrain isn’t the only thing that can damage your tent – extreme rainfall and storms can also do their fair share of damage. It would be a good idea to look up weather forecasts before buying your tent, or only camping during a specific type of season or weather to ensure that your tent stays undamaged.
Proper ventilation is crucial to both you and your dog because it allows stale air to leave and keeps your tent smelling fresh. This way, you won’t have to deal with any lingering unpleasant odors.
Tents offer ventilation in different formats – some have windows, while others have a secondary door with tiny holes for airflow.
The amount of ventilation you need depends on two factors – the weather and the size of your dog. Going on a trip with your small dog to a place with an average temperature means that you won’t need too much ventilation. On the other hand, going to a humid location with your large dog, which pants a lot, means that air circulation becomes an essential part of your trip.
Tent floor padding is vital in ensuring that your tent floor stays clean, waterproof, and insulated. It becomes a lot more comfortable to sleep on the floor, and the chances of either your dog clawing away at the base material of the tent and ripping it or the rough terrain destroying it decreases exponentially.
When you sleep, you won’t have any uncomfortable rocks or lumps pressing up against either your body or your dog’s body. This becomes relevant the larger your dog is because these breeds can get bruises or back problems without proper support.
You can use different types of floor padding, like this DryMate Camping Tent Carpet Mat or these ½ inch Foam Floor Tiles.
The larger your dog is, the bigger a tent you will need to get. It would help if you also kept in mind that larger tents tend to be cooler and airier, while smaller tents are warmer because body heat from both you and your dog will take a longer time to disperse. You should pick your tent’s size based on your dog’s size, the number of humans and animals going on this trip with you, and the climate you will be facing.
A pet-friendly tent layout is essential to having a great time. As a result, you should get a tent with as few tent cords as possible. Your dog could easily stumble into the lines and injure themselves or cause parts of the tent to unravel. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time re-erecting your tent when you could be relaxing, get a tent with a few tent cords.
Your tent should also allow your dog easy access in and out of the tent. Leave a bowl of water outside the tent or near the front opening if there is one, so there is unrestricted access to water whenever they get thirsty. The ease of access is so your dog can be hydrated as soon as possible.
Now that you know the various factors that go into picking the perfect tent, you’ll probably understand why we can’t just recommend one perfect tent to you. Instead, take your pick of the options listed below to find the tent that you love!
Coleman Dome Tent With Screen Room
The Coleman Dome Tent With Screen Room is one of the largest tents that you can buy, with a capacity of six people. With this amount of space, even the biggest dog breeds will be able to lay indoors with you in the tent comfortably.
It is waterproof and extremely durable, holding up to high wind speeds and torrential downpour. The special seams and protected corners at the sides of the tent ensures that no water will be able to make its way into your tent.
For ventilation, this unique tent comes with a screen room that acts as a portable porch. You can put up some foldable chairs on the porch and sit there if it gets too stuffy or boring inside the tent. The tent’s interior also comes with windows to allow for better air circulation, but you can easily zip those up if your dog is the distractible type or if it starts to rain.
Abco Tech Pop Up Tent
The Abco Tech Pop Up Tent is a small tent which can house up to two people – it’s perfect for you and your small dog. The pop-up aspect of this small tent removes a lot of the hassle involved with setting up a tent correctly. This little tent is water-resistant and will protect you from UV rays.
It is made up of highly breathable material that comes with two mesh windows that can be covered by a nylon cover if needed to prevent rain from entering the tent.
PetEgo U Portable Pet Tent
The PetEgo U Portable Pet Tent tent isn’t a tent for you – it’s a tent for your dog! It’s like a portable kennel, except it’s so much better. This tent can be packed easily and will pop-up in mere seconds. It has claw-proof mesh windows and a small front porch to make your pet feel like it’s at home. Waterproof, sunproof, and insect-proof, your dog will be able to relax in this little tent.
If you don’t want to get a separate, larger tent for you and your dog but you’re reluctant to let them sleep out in the cold, this is the perfect compromise. Once you zip this tent up, your pet won’t be able to wander about and potentially get lost.
MSR Expedition Remote 4 Season Mountaineering Tent
The MSR Expedition Remote 4 Season Mountaineering Tent, like most MSR tents, is pricey, but they’re among the best tents in the market for winter camping with your dog. Most tents can only handle summer or fall weather, but the MSR tents are made of unique composite materials to preserve as much heat as possible.
This is reflected by the limited mesh windows, designed to prevent ‘cabin fever’ while simultaneously reducing cool airflow as much as possible.
The tent’s durable fabric also means that your dog’s claws won’t make much of an impact if any.
Sierra Designs Convert Tent
For regular campers, the Sierra Designs Convert Tent is a blessing because it has been adapted to all seasons. That means no matter if it’s winter or summer, you’ll be able to go camping with your furry friends with ease.
Made from breathable polyester material, this tent will be able to keep both snow and dust out. Featuring a removable vestibule to make your tent smaller will give you extra warmth during cold winter nights. The vestibule also serves as a great place to let your dog sleep and keep insects away.
Relatively lightweight at about 6 pounds(3 kilograms), you can carry this tent anywhere with ease.
ESK Collection Pet Puppy Dog Playpen
The ESK Collection Pet Puppy Dog Playpen can be either used as a pen or an outside tent for your dog to sleep in if the weather is good. It has a 45-inch diameter (114.3cm), so it’s perfect for your smaller dogs and puppies to eat in and stretch.
Despite its small size, there is still sufficient ventilation for your dogs in the form of a roof and windows to let your dog breathe. This fabric is also waterproof and easily cleaned so that you can put it on dirty surfaces with no problem.
It is likely to be conducive to letting your dogs feel safer in a strange environment, especially if they’re more reserved.
Superjare Camping Dog Bed
One of the advantages of the Superjare Camping Dog Tent/Bed that lets it stand out from the rest is the bed’s comfortability. Older or larger dogs will revel in the relief that their joints and muscles get from sleeping on a warm, even surface.
The bed comes in a convenient carrying bag. It can be constructed or taken down very easily. As an added bonus, it’s lightweight, so you won’t have to struggle too much when carrying it.
Yolafe Dog Camping Tent
The Yolafe Dog Camping Tent is the one that you want to get if you don’t want your dog to sleep in the same tent as you but aren’t heartless enough to leave them outside.
Specially crafted with dogs in mind, this tent is made up of scratch-resistant oxford cloth that is high tension and waterproof. It also has single-sided double zippers so that your pet won’t be able to escape from their tent when it’s zipped up.
Its cross-brace construction, lightness, and ease of assembly all make this one of the best choices you can make when you go camping.
What to Bring When You Go Camping With Your Dog
It would be best if you pack appropriately when you camp with a pet to ensure that they are mentally stimulated and that all their needs are taken care of. Be sure to read our Complete Guide to Traveling With a Dog in a Car. In the meantime, ere’s a list of things that you will need when camping with your dog:
- Dog food and treats. If you know their favorite snacks, bring plenty of those along as a way to reward good behavior throughout the trip.
- Water bowl. Bringing a regular water bowl is clunky and takes up precious storage space, so consider investing in foldable water bowls like this SLSON Collapsible Dog Bowl.
- Tether. A dog tether is essential when you’re staying in a stationary position for long periods and don’t want your dog wandering off.
- First-aid kit and medication. If your dog has any allergies, be sure to bring their allergy medication along with you. You will also need bandages and other materials so you can fix your dog up if they get cuts or scrapes.
- Leash. If you don’t have a swim-safe leash, consider getting one. These will not rust and are a safe way to keep a hold of your dog even in the water.
- Dog waste bags. Even if you’re going into a forest, the excuse that your dog’s poop is biodegradable is not a valid one! Don’t inconvenience your fellow campers and pick up your dog’s poop no matter where you choose to camp.
- Attachable tag. Dog tags are an easy way for others to contact you if your dog wanders off.
- Outdoor-friendly toys. Regular toys can get irreparably stained by mud or suffer water-damage and wither away. That’s why you need to get outdoor-friendly toys. They don’t have to be complicated or expensive. A good old-fashioned ball works just fine.
- Booties. Although dog booties are not a must, it’s always good to have them with you to prevent your dog’s paws from getting injured by the rough terrain and surrounding rocks. If you don’t have any, you can get these QUMY Dog Waterproof Shoes or find them in your local pet store. Also, check out our comprehensive guide to dog boots.
- A picture of your dog. If you end up losing your dog in the woods, a modern picture is essential to allowing other campers to identify them and finding them sooner.
- Sleeping bag. For those going camping in colder regions, a sleeping bag for dogs protects them from the cold. If you don’t already have one, get this KUDES Dog Sleeping Bag.
- Pet wipes. Wipes are a necessity for every pet owner, so don’t forget to bring hypoallergenic wipes to pet your dog down and remove grime or leaves in between baths.
Things to Remember When You Go Camping With Your Dog
Once you’re all packed, here’s what you should do once you start your trip.
If you are reserving a campsite, be sure to do it early before it gets all filled up. There will be many people nearby, so start socializing your dog more by taking them on walks in crowded locations and introducing them to new people, if you can. This lets them become more comfortable around strangers and makes a calmer trip when the big day rolls around.
It would help if you also researched the local wildlife in the area – be on the lookout for toxic plants that your dog could potentially ingest and animals that your dog could come into contact with. You should also be aware of the closest possible vet’s number and location if any accidents happen.
Never Leave Your Dog Alone
Despite having a well-trained dog, you haven’t accounted for the presence of other not so well-trained canines or humans nearby, which might react aggressively or unexpectedly to your dog. Keep your dog leashed as much as possible and when they’re playing, keep an eye on them at all times.
Watch Out for Allergies
You might learn that your dog has allergies you never even knew they had on the trip. If they start sneezing or wheezing, they might be suffering from seasonal allergies. In this case, you should consult with a vet on the appropriate mode of action to take.
Hydrate Your Dog Properly
Even if your dog isn’t moving around a lot, just being in the outdoors could result in them requiring more water than usual. Top up their water bowl frequently and pay attention to their breathing and sweating patterns. Darker-colored and long-furred dogs heat up much easier than their fairer short-haired cousins, so if you have those breeds of dogs, be wary.
Proper hydration also means disallowing your dog from drinking from stagnant water or nearby lakes and ponds that could be infected with blue-green algae. These algae contain toxins that will make your dog very sick.
Camping with your dog can be really fun, but you need to plan appropriately before embarking on a trip with them. Otherwise, things can end up going south really quickly. Part of that planning involves picking the right tent for you and your dog, so be sure to read through the descriptions of the many tents given here and select your ideal one.