Going camping with your dog can be a loving, bonding experience. Most dogs love the outdoors and make fantastic companions as you explore nature. They are also comforting as you settle down for the night and they lovingly snuggle up with you.
Where it gets complicated is if you decide to visit somewhere your dog isn’t welcome. Can you leave your dog in a tent while you visit other areas?
Taking Precautions When You Tent with a Dog
When your vacation includes staying in a hotel or Airbnb, leaving your pet behind while you visit other areas is not a problem. If you are vacationing in a tent, it becomes a different matter.
You will need to take precautions if a situation arises and you have to leave your dog behind in the tent.
The first precaution is that you should never leave your dog in a tent during the summer months unattended. When the sun begins to shine on your tent, it will become a sauna very fast. The heat inside of a tent with the sun shining on it makes the tent unbearably hot almost right away.
Leaving your dog inside of a tent on a sunny day is much the same as leaving them in your car. You cannot leave your pet in this environment unless you are absolutely positive the temperatures inside of the tent will not go over 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are camping during the summer months, a dog should only be left alone in a tent once the sun goes down. During the day, you should attach them somewhere outside in a shady spot so they can stay cool. Never leave them unattached if you are leaving the camping site.
The second precaution is to check the campsite regulations regarding dogs in the campground. Some camping sites forbid a pet from being left unattended. It may be allowed if you are doing quick tasks such as taking a shower, but there may be restrictions from leaving them for hours or other specific amounts of time.
Another essential precaution is knowing your dog’s character. A dog who sufferers from separation anxiety might have a difficult time being left behind in a tent. Some dogs never like being left behind, others will be fine if they are relaxed and feel comfortable in the campsite, and some remain calm as long as they are near your personal items.
Dogs with separation anxiety will not want to leave your side if they are in a new area with all new smells and sounds, and it could easily lead to panic.
No matter how strong you feel, your tent is, if a dog panics, it is no match for their claws and teeth. They will quickly tear through the tent and find themselves alone, scared, and in an area, they are unfamiliar with.
Do not risk losing your beloved pet if they suffer any amount of separation anxiety.
Choosing the right tent is another precaution to take when camping with your dog. Tenting is typically done in the summer or at least in warm weather where temperatures never dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
A light, thin tent works well for this form of camping, but it is possible to tent in winter with a winter tent. These tents are more sturdy and bigger due to you will most likely need a stove inside to keep warm.
If you have to leave your dog unattended in a winter tent during colder temperatures, you will want to ensure the stove can keep them warm while you are gone.
Try the stove out well before leaving them alone. You will want to know how much wood is necessary to keep the heat going for the amount of time you plan to be gone.
Additional Precautions for Leaving a Dog in a Tent
Once you have taken all the above precautions, there are a few more to take to ensure your dog’s safety.
- Water is a top precaution as you have to leave enough water for your dog just as you would at home.
- Location is also a concern as you would not want to leave a dog unattended, even inside a tent, if there are dangerous wild animals in the area. You do not want to leave a dog alone, especially a small breed if there is a chance a bear, coyote, or wolf could become a threat to them. Location is also a concern in the woods as you do not want a dead branch to fall from a tree onto the tent. Look the area over well where you have set the tent to make sure there are no dangers if the wind or excessive rain should occur while you are gone.
- Crating or kenneling your dog may also be a better idea than giving them free rein in the tent while you are gone. A dog’s kennel often becomes a place of safety and comfort, and they may feel more comfortable being alone if they are in their private environment.
- Length of time you plan to be gone is another concern. If you are close by leaving your dog for a couple of hours to allow them to catch up from their camping activities is acceptable. They have probably gotten more fresh air and exercise then they are typically accustomed too, and might need the rest. If you are going out of earshot of the tent, and will not be able to hear your pet should an event occur, you should limit the time you are gone to one hour. A tent is just not a stable environment to leave your pet, and there are so many variables that can come up, putting them in danger.
If all these precautions seem to be too much when considering having your pet go camping with you, you might want to consider camping in an RV. These hard-sided vehicles offer much more protection to your dog when you have to leave them alone at a campsite.