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Prepping for Overnight Adventures With Your Dog

Gear and tips to help you on your next overnighter with your pup

Healthy Dogs |  May 4, 2021

Everyone experiences the dread of packing for a trip – the anticipation of “can’t we just get on the road already?!” constantly builds! Bringing your pup on trips means even more packing, but do not fret! After five years of packing for different adventures, my dog Ellie and I have gone through the packing woes over and over again. Now, we’re here to help you with our basic necessity suggestions for different overnight situations.

While preparing for your overnight trip, it is important to make sure that where you’re headed is dog-friendly – sounds crazy, I know! But there are certain spaces, like National Parks, that do not allow dogs. Whether you’re looking for an Airbnb, a day hike, or a beach, use the available resources and dog-friendly filters to make sure that wherever you’re planning to go does allow your dog.

Overnight trips can vary from car camping to backcountry trips to a weekend away at a secluded cabin. For a great place to start packing for your dog, take a look at the 10 Essentials for Adventuring with Your Dog list – this list covers all of the go-to items needed while on the go. In case of an emergency, we also recommend keeping your pup’s health records on hand. Stash these records in the glove box of your car or your overnight bag for quick access if necessary.

Each type of overnight trip has specific needs that the others might not. No matter which getaway you and your pup are headed out on, don’t forget the must-have items listed below!

Airbnbs and Cabin Rentals

Two Dogs Sleeping in a Car

Ellie and I love the Pacific Northwest because of how dog-friendly it is! This makes traveling easy because there are so many lodging options for us. Something to keep in mind while looking for lodging is that most places will charge an extra fee if you’re bringing your pet. This could be an additional cleaning fee or deposit depending on where you stay. Don’t forget to work this fee into your budget during the planning stages of your getaway!

These types of vacations can also be a great gateway to camping and backpacking because they give your dog a chance to practice being away from home in exciting new terrain. Bringing comfort items like extra treats and toys, can help make the transition into an unfamiliar place easier on your pup. Expect to spend some time working on making your dog feel confident while establishing boundaries if they are new to this type of trip.

Don’t Forget: A Crate or Pet Bed

Being away from home can be confusing for dogs! Bringing a crate or a bed where they can hunker down and feel safe is important while traveling. In these cases, I prefer a wire crate that quickly folds down, making it convenient and easy to travel with. Pair it with a bed that is designed to fit inside these crates, and your pup will have their home-away-from-home ready to go!

Weekend Camping Trips at PNW Parks

Dogs Napping After Hike

From the beach to the mountains, there are so many areas that are dog-friendly, you can’t go wrong! Camping is an awesome way to experience different outdoor spots while still being able to access everyday luxuries like a bathroom and shower (if your campsite provides it). Most Washington and Oregon state parks allow dogs, but it’s important to follow the leash laws in the park. Your dog also might be restricted in some areas, so be sure to look out for signs with this information!

When packing for a camping trip, we’d recommend bringing items that are more compact than the ones you use at home. For example, food and water bowls that fold down, a sturdy bed instead of crate, and easy-to-stash treats and food. These types of items will help create a more enjoyable experience for everyone!

Don’t Forget: A Tie-Out System

Since most recreation areas require your dog to be leashed while in your campsite, look for a tie-out system that makes it easy for your dog to enjoy your campsite while remaining on-leash. Mud Bay offers a variety of tie-out systems, including stake options and one that uses nearby trees to keep your dog leashed.

Backpacking Trips and Other Backcountry Getaways

Twilight Hiking

Backpacking is all about keeping your gear light and easy to carry. In the backcountry, everything you pack in is all you have, so it’s important to make sure you have everything you need, especially for your dog! The 10 Essentials for Adventuring with Your Dog are vital in the backcountry, especially since you have to hike back out in the case of an emergency.

In order to lighten my own load, Ellie carries her food, water, and any other gear we can fit in her pack. I start training her for backpacking season early in the year on walks around the block and day hikes, building up her stamina every time we go outside. When packing for our trips, I make sure that Ellie’s pack is a manageable weight that’s equally distributed between both sides of the pack. It’s especially important that dogs should never carry more than 25-percent of their weight in their backpack. Filling your dog’s backpack with an unmanageable load creates unnecessary stress that can cause joint problems for your pup later in life.  

Don’t Forget: A Safety Light

It might sound silly, but it gets DARK when you’re in the middle of nowhere! Keep your dog in sight with a safety light that can clip onto your dog’s collar or harness. You might want to also consider options that are rechargeable and have different light function and color options.

Adventuring with your dog can make for some of the most memorable moments for both you and your pup! Don’t let the stress of packing deter you from taking your dog anywhere, especially since there are so many products that make it easy and convenient to travel. And don’t worry, if you happen to forget something, there’s a good chance that there’s a Mud Bay you can stop at on the way – and who knows, maybe you’ll catch Ellie and I stocking up for our next getaway!

Photo of Jenn the Author

I’m Jenn, Mud Bay’s Senior Community Outreach Coordinator in Washington and human counterpart to my Siberian Husky, Ellie. My Mud Bay and pet parenting journey started simultaneously, and for nearly five years, Ellie and I have been adventuring around the PNW while working for Mud Bay. We’re excited to guide your through Mud Bay’s Adventure Series to get you and your pet ready for summer with tips and tricks for outdoor activities!

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