Going camping with your dog is a great way to bond and enjoy nature together. After all, they haven’t been given the nickname “man’s best friend” for no reason! However, taking your furry friend along comes with a unique set of challenges. You and your dog will be facing new wildlife and weather conditions that you don’t have to deal with while you’re safe indoors.
So can you leave a dog in a tent?
You can leave your dog in a tent but there are several things you need to know beforehand. You will need to make sure that there is water and food as well as other things we will discuss. It may also be a good idea to use a crate for keeping your dog in a tent but that depends on your dog’s temperament.
There are just some occasions that call for protecting your dog by leaving them in the tent. It’s not as simple as zipping up and leaving, though. You need to know what you will need, how long it’s safe to leave a dog in a tent, and when you should (and shouldn’t) do it.
Today, we’re going to answer all of your questions so you can keep your four-legged friend safe and happy on your camping trip.
What to Leave With Your Dog
If you will be leaving your dog in the tent for a little while on your trip, you need some basic supplies to make Rover’s stay comfortable.
Everybody needs water, including animals. Your dog is going to need a dish full of cool water to keep him hydrated and happy while you are gone. Even if you will only be away for a little bit, fill the dish. If something happens and it takes you longer to get back to the campsite, your dog won’t have seriously suffered from your absence.
Dogs get bored quite easily when left to their own devices. Be sure to leave a dog toy out for them to play with while you are gone. This prevents anything else from being destroyed, which can put a real damper on your trip.
- Dog Crate
If your dog is well trained, you could leave him in the tent with no other enclosure. However, it is recommended that you bring a dog crate or kennel along. The kennel will give your pup a safe place to rest and separate him from your things which may otherwise suffer the wrath of a bored pet.
Do’s and Don’ts of Leaving Your Dog in a Tent
While you can leave your dog in your tent while camping, you have to consider a few important things and know to avoid some things that can be unpleasant at best, and dangerous at its worst.
- Keep your tent well ventilated. Dogs get hot faster than humans. They should not be left in a completely closed off tent. You will either have to unzip a door or buy a tent with mesh windows for proper airflow.
- Leave water and toys out to keep your dog occupied and satisfied. Water is especially important. When it gets hot, your dog needs it as a way to stay hydrated and cool down. Without it, he could seriously suffer.
- Check up on your dog periodically. You don’t want him to destroy the tent or do his “business” inside of it. If you leave him in for too long with no supervision, don’t be surprised to be left with several unpleasant surprises.
- Don’t leave your dog in a tent for a long time. Never force him to stay inside for longer than he has to. You came on this trip with the intent of bonding, even if that wasn’t your primary focus. Dogs need fresh air and room to stretch their legs!
- Don’t use the tent as a punishment. You should be leaving your dog in your tent only for safety, not to punish him for undesirable behavior. This will eventually lead to fear of the tent, and you do not want that to happen.
- Do not leave your dog unsupervised in the tent. There should always be someone around the campsite who can intervene if something bad happens. For example, if a storm comes through and loosely tied tent stakes come out of the ground, you don’t want your dog trapped inside.
- Don’t leave a bowl of food out for your dog in the tent while you are away. Feed him before you leave and if it’s time when you come back, do it then. Leaving food out is always a bad idea because the local wildlife can smell it. If they are hungry, your tent could be broken into and in the worst case, your dog could be attacked.
Video with Dr. Sarah Wooten
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How Long is Too Long?
You may be asking yourself how long is too long when it comes to leaving your dog in your tent. This varies based on weather, ventilation, and whether or not you are inside of it as well. As a general rule, though, never leave your dog in a well-ventilated tent alone for more than an hour or two at a time.
When to Leave Your Dog in a Tent
There are times when it is more appropriate to leave your dog in your tent while camping, and this is done with the primary intention of keeping him safe and happy. Let’s talk about when you can and should leave your dog in the tent and why.
- Night Time
During the night, you should bring your dog into your tent. Some campers have objected to this and then later wish that they had because outside, your dog is not safe. At home, you have a big fence in your yard to keep him safe from the dangers lurking in the wilderness. At a campsite, though, there is no barrier between the bigger, more dangerous creatures and your dog.
Wolves tend to come out at night, and they are attracted by the smell of some unfamiliar animals. If you leave your pup outside tied up and helpless, the wolves may attack. Aside from animals, there are other risks. Your dog could get lonely and frightened and decide to run away. Bad weather rolling in could pose another danger. Anything could happen when your puppy is denied the safety and shelter of your tent.
- Camping Activities
There are just some camping activities that you will want to do that your dog either can’t do or wouldn’t find as fun as you would. During these activities, you can safely leave your dog in a well-ventilated, cool tent with food, water, a dog crate/kennel, and toys.
- Hot Days
When the weather is sweltering hot, a tent can be a wonderful shelter for an overheated dog. After some exercise and playtime, you should bring your dog into the shade of your tent for some rest. If your tent has plenty of air flowing, it’ll be cool and a way to get out of the sun.
When to Take Your Dog Out of the Tent
Knowing when to leave your dog in your tent is important, but so is knowing when to let them out. Pay attention to certain situations and signs; there are some situations in which being trapped in a tent is the worst thing for your dog. ‘
- Dangerous Weather
Rainy weather and mild storms are nothing to worry about. You can stay in your tent with your dog during these weather events as long as you aren’t in a location prone to flooding. In more dangerous weather, though, both you and your dog should get out of the tent and into more substantial shelter.
- Bathroom Breaks
Your dog will occasionally need to go outside to answer nature’s call, so to speak. Be sure that you frequently allow your dog the chance to do this or things could get messy inside the tent. No one wants that. Keep up with your dog’s bathroom break schedule.
Tents vs. Outside
Some pet owners believe that dogs will be fine if left outside tied to a tree or in a kennel during their camping trip. However, this really is not often the case. Being inside of a tent offers dogs more shelter and protection from the elements and from other dangers.
Tying a dog to a tree is worse than an outside kennel because it only makes them more vulnerable. If your dog needs to get away from a threat, he will not be able to run very far. Even a kennel offers more protection. Then, there is an enclosure and a barrier between your pet and whatever may be harming him. Please don’t tie your dog to anything and leave.
Overall, tents offer the best protection from inclement weather, the sun, wildlife, any cars/RVs in the area, and people with bad intentions.
To answer your question in a few words: yes, you can leave a dog in a tent. You just need to know how to do it properly so that both you and your dog can leave the campsite happy, healthy, and safe. Be sure to follow these guidelines and bring everything that you need to make your pup comfortable! Treat him with the unconditional love that dogs treat us every day.
Now that you are prepared, what are you waiting for? Get packed, strap Fido in and hit the road!