There’s something to be said about waking up in a campground with your dog snuggled in your sleeping bag with you. But ouch, your aching back!
Maybe it’s time to upgrade that tent to a pop-up tent trailer.
A pop-up tent trailer is a great introductory step into RV camping with your pup.
The average pop-up trailer weighs about 2000 lbs., and they can be towed by most SUVs and pickup trucks.
They tend to be about 7ft. in length and can fit in campsites that many larger camper trailers can not.
Just as camping in a tent with a dog requires additional planning needed, so does camping in a pop-up tent trailer.
Here is some helpful advice from a seasoned expert to help make sure your first pop-up tent trailer camping trip with your dog goes smoothly.
Note: This is a guest post provided by my friend Kerisa, founder of Outside Voice Marketing, which helps RV, Camping, and Adventure brands attract their dream customers with kick ass copy, and Mom to Butters the Dachshund.
Tips for Camping in a Pop Up Tent Trailer with Your Dog
Ensure the campground is dog friendly
Most campgrounds are dog friendly, but there’s nothing worse than arriving at a campground after a long drive day only to be turned away because you’re with your furry friend.
A great resource for campsites is www.campendium.com.
Reading reviews of the campsite before you go is always because they often share important notes from past visitors.
Make sure you read reviews to see if a campsite is dog friendly, if there may be potential wildlife encounters, or anything else to be aware of like loose dogs.
Plan your camping trip around your dog
I see this far too often: bringing the family dog along on the camping trip being treated as an afterthought.
But they deserve to have just as much fun as the rest of the family!
Check to see if there’s dog friendly activities nearby.
Maybe this is more of a glamping trip and you’re looking for a nearby brewery you can enjoy together, or some nearby attractions to sight see together.
A great resource for finding dog friendly dining and entertainment is www.Bringfido.com .
Don’t leave your dog unattended in a tent trailer
A pop-up tent trailer is slightly more secure than a ground tent.
You wouldn’t leave valuables in an unsecured tent in a crowded campground, would you?
Also, many campgrounds don’t even allow dogs to be left unattended at campsites due to safety and nuisance concerns (excessive barking or escaping).
Leaving your dog alone is not only unsafe but not allowed in most campgrounds.
If you do leave your dog alone and you get caught, it can be grounds for being evicted from a campground with NO refunds!
Be mindful of wildlife
If you like camping, you probably enjoy retreating into nature to get away from it all.
But just because you’re away from the crowds, doesn’t mean you should let your guard down.
When you go camping, you’re moving into areas where wild animals live.
Ensure you and your pet are safe from potential dangers by knowing what to do during wildlife encounters.
Bears, raccoons, etc. can break into a pop up trailer almost as easily as a ground tent.
Store your food properly and don’t leave your dog unattended in an area that has had recent predatory wildlife sightings.
Keep an eye on the weather
A pop up travel trailer is still vulnerable to the weather (rain, wind, heat, etc.).
It can be difficult to regulate the inside temperature because wind, heat, and cold can pass through the canvas tent walls.
Inside temperatures tend to be warmer than outside temperatures in camper trailers.
The weather can change quickly, so you’ll need to take that into account during your planning.
And the weather can change rapidly. It may be cool and overcast one minute and hot the next.
Remember the walls of a tent trailer are made of materials similar to ground tents and can be damaged in high winds.
I’ve heard stories that the velcro securing some sidings in certain models have come loose in strong winds, thus leaving your tent trailer with an exit point for your pet!
Besides following campground rules, these are further reasons to not leave your dog unattended in the trailer.
Know where the nearest veterinarian is
While we hope to never have an emergency trip to the vet on our vacation, it’s always best to be prepared.
Find the nearest veterinarian, and/or animal emergency room to your campsite, and always travel with a copy of your pet’s rabies certificate and important medicine.
Make sure food is safely secured
I touched on this in the wildlife section above, but food should be safely secured from wild animals.
It should also be safely secured in a place that your dog can’t get to it.
Dogs can may eat something that is poisonous to them if left with food accessible to them.
Dogs, especially Dachshunds, are often smarter than we give them credit for!
Left to their own devices, your dog could break into their food and eat their entire week’s worth in one sitting (ask me how I know)!
Or they could get into your food and eat something that will make them sick.
Make your tent trailer a safe place for your dog
If your dog is prone to back problems (like the Dachshunds are), make sure they can’t jump on and off couches, beds, and other high furniture just like you would in a house.
Bring ramps, baby gates, cabinet locks, anything needed to reduce the risk of a back injury in your home away from home.
Bring more water than you think you’d need for both you and your pets (this is less of an issue if you choose a campground with water).
Emergencies happen, and your trip may be extended.
Having extra water is always smart so both you and your dog don’t run out.
The last thing you want to be worried about in times of emergency is if you and your dog will have enough potable water to last until you arrive back home safely.
Make your dog comfy
Bring some camping chairs, their coats/jackets, beds, and favorite toys on your camping trip.
Bringing familiar items on your trip will help your dog feel comfortable and safe in their temporary home on wheels.
If your dog is more relaxed, it will help both of you enjoy the trip more and it can help your dog be better behaved at camp.
Keep pets up to date with their flea and tick medications
Before heading to the great outdoors make sure your pup is up to date on their flea and tick medication.
If you’re in a mosquito prone area, you can use pet friendly bug spray such as Wondercide to prevent painful bites and blood borne diseases carried by mosquitoes.
Keep this in your trailer or backpack at all times just like you would your own insect repellent.
Ticks can easily get on dogs, so do regular checks during your trip.
If you’re in an area where ticks are known to be, be sure to physically check your dog often for ticks.
Make sure you have a tick comb and removal tool with you in case you find one.
Get an “In case of emergency rescue us” sticker
We never want to imagine the worst case scenario, but we discovered a lot of full-timers place a sticker or decal on their windows that tells an emergency responder (if there’s an emergency like a fire, flood, etc.) what type of animals are in the camper and how many.
I know if I wasn’t there to protect my babies I would want whatever Good Samaritan who came to their aid to be as informed as possible!
If you do leave your pets at camp, security and safety first
As I said, most campgrounds prohibit you from leaving your pet’s unattended in our vehicle, tent, or trailer.
However, I know that it’s unavoidable sometimes.
For example, maybe you are traveling alone and need to leave your dog in the pop up tent trailer alone for 5 minutes while you run to the bathroom.
Always secure your trailer before leaving your dog.
If you do need to leave your dog unattended for a short period, make sure the trailer is locked and secure.
Is the door locked? Did you make sure the stove and propane weren’t left on? Treat a home on wheels as you would any other home.
Invest in a ball hitch lock to prevent theft of your trailer when not hitched to your vehicle.
Avoid excess barking
Just as you have, your campground neighbors have gone camping to enjoy a little peace and quiet.
If your dog is constantly barking, it’s disruptive to those around you.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety and barks and howls when you’re gone, don’t leave them alone.
If they are constantly barking every time a kid rides by on a bike, or a squirrel runs up a tree, do all you can to discourage their behavior.
Having treats on hand to distract them in these circumstances is helpful.
Plan for more potty stops
Remember you can’t drive as fast when you’re pulling a trailer, and that means longer drive times.
Stop accordingly for potty, stretch, and play breaks for easier travel days.
With a little preparation and planning ahead, camping in a pop up tent trailer can be an enjoyable experience for both you and your adventure dog. So give it a try!