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Tent Camping with Pets

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

Fall is the perfect time of year to plan a camping trip. And, while most of us dream of a “glamping” vacation with fancy yurts and butler service, the reality is that most of us likely have the budget for tent camping, especially if we plan to make it a regular thing. Tent camping with pets in and near Yorktown is a beautiful way to enjoy the chilly evenings and spend quality time with outdoorsy friends, namely dogs and, believe it or not, cats!

Tent Camping with Pets: Planning

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Thanks to the Internet, there are plenty of ways to plan a tent camping adventure. One of the best sites we have found is, which lets you find campsites, lodging, RV rentals, and more. Using their locator search engine, it’s easy to find camping sites that meet the needs of everyone in your party. They list all the details about their listings including availability, amenities (aka toilets and showers), and pet-friendly status. They also offer listings that are handicap accessible.

We love BringFido as a resource for all pet-friendly things including travel and local restaurants, wineries, and breweries. While BringFido is not specifically for camping like the above-referenced site, it may be a great help if your camping trip gets rained out or you want to find a warm meal.

Tent Camping with Pets: What to Bring

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Tent camping can be done minimally or with a great deal of planning and equipment. If you’re planning on making your next camping trip pet-friendly, however, it’s going to take some planning and the right supplies.

First, you’ll need the usual equipment you need for your pet(s) on a walk or hike. Their harness, leash, pet first aid kit, etc. should be the first things you pack. Don’t assume that your dog, even a well-trained dog, can go off-leash because most campsites require pets to be leashed, especially around the public facilities, if any. And, consider bringing a spray deterrent like SprayShield if your camping trip is in a remote or high-wilderness area.

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Then, think about what you need as a family. A tent, places to sleep, a safe way to keep pets during down time, warm blankets, and proper attire will mean the difference between an enjoyable adventure and one you’ll never want to repeat. Check the weather before you go because you may want to reschedule if inclement weather approaches.

Plan your meals according to your available equipment and don’t forget to bring your pets' usual food. The last thing you want is for your pet to get sick while far from home. Keeping your pets’ food consistent, avoiding human food, and ensuring they have access to fresh, clean water will keep unpleasant and dangerous stomach upsets away.

Tent Camping with Pets: What To Do

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While camping, you can choose to take it easy or explore. What you do is up to you. Just make sure that your pet is up-to-date on necessary vaccinations, on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, and healthy enough for the trip.

Our friend, Isabel, at Covered in Pet Hair did a recent episode on all things tent camping - mixed with a little Halloween cheer - in which pet adventure expert, Britt Kascjak, shares details on how she and her pack camp including helpful tips and insights for both cat and dog-friendly families. Watch the show on YouTube or listen here.

Pro Tip: Britt does not recommend keeping cats on a harness/leash when not walking or hiking with them. Instead, she recommends a large covered playpen for them to rest and keep the litter box in. Additionally, Britt advises that cats and dogs never be left unattended while camping. Either bring them with you or leave an adult behind to care for them in the campsite, car or camper.

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Have a homebody pet or prefer to leave them at home during an upcoming camping adventure? Our renowned pet sitting services for cats and dogs are a great way to leave pets at home while you’re away.

If you are new to Hearts at Home, please submit a new client questionnaire here. For more information, visit our website or contact us by email at or by phone at 757-745-9868.

Our pet sitters and dog walkers provide in-home pet care services for Yorktown, Poquoson, Newport News and Hampton, Virginia.

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