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Jack Russell camping

Full Guide To Camping With Your Dog

My husband and I lead a very active lifestyle. We love hiking and exploring “the great outdoors” every chance we get. Of course our baby (JRT Kala) is a crucial member of our expeditions.

As a Jack Russell terrier with boundless energy and curiosity she enjoys every second spent on the trail. Sniffing around, running, exploring and frolicking in general far away from the city brings such a smile to her face that my heart melts the instant I see her tongue sticking out mid-run.

She is a member of our team just as important and valuable as any human (maybe even more so) – she takes care of us and we take care of her. We take precautions and watch out for her just as we would for any other person.

Here are some tips for an unforgettable time in the wild with your Jack Russel terrier.

Essentials checklist

– all the medication that you or your dog might need

– plenty of food

– plenty of water

– dog bowls

– good leash

– good harness

– muzzle

– some of your dogs favorite toys

– your dogs favorite blanket, pillow or specialized camping sleeping bag

first aid kits for you and your pets

– map of the area

– compass

– mobile phone

– good tent and camping equipment

Safety first

One of the most important things on our adventures is to be prepared for the worst and there is nothing more dangerous than having an accident miles from the nearest civilization. We always carry a first aid kit in case something happens to us and pet first aid kit for Kala.

It’s the best to pack a good coat for them because the temperatures at higher altitudes can change drastically during the day. On the other hand you must take care of the sun and the heat – our furry friends can’t take off their clothes and make themselves more comfortable.

Choose a path that has plenty of shade, have plenty of water at hand and drink regularly so you and your companion avoid dehydration. Also, it’s a good idea to take and apply sunscreen for both you and your dog. Jack Russell’s are dominantly white with pale skin which is even more prone to sun burns. Just please mind to choose dog sunscreen as the one for people has compounds which are toxic for dogs.

You mustn’t forget to bring medication for your dog if he has a condition that must be treated daily – you never can know with absolute certainty how long you will be out and the exertion from walking and climbing could worsen his/hers condition. The same applies to you too.

Know your companion

First to say, if you start taking your Jack with you camping at early age, he’ll get used to it more quickly. If you do so, please mind that puppies sleep a lot and can be overwhelmed easily, so choose more stationary camping site, and leave tempting long trails for the grown up phase. If you take your dog with you every where you go, he’ll get used to being in the nature, all those new smells and sounds.

Before you even consider detaching the leash off your pooch, please follow campsite and trail rules. They are made for a reason. If there’s an on-leash rule, please follow it, no matter how trained or well behaved your Jack is. Probably, there is a lot of wildlife or it’s a busy trail with lots of hikers. I know you can’t imagine there is anyone who wouldn’t love your happy dog, but unfortunately those people do exist.

Like most Jack Russell terriers Kala loves the outdoors. They are a hunting breed after all and there is nothing like the smell of wildlife to make their heart sore in the excitement for the thrill of the chase. This is where all your hard work and training come in.

It’s easy for your dog to get carried away in the wild so you should always keep an eye on him/her to call them to your side if they start wondering further away. As being in the nature full of wildlife is really tempting, be sure to carry some extra yummy treats for such moments.

Your pet is a guest in the wild just as much as you and you’re responsible that he/she doesn’t disturb and harass the wildlife and/or other hikers. It’s probably the best for their own safety that they be kept on a leash. If your dog is properly trained you shouldn’t have any problems on the trail, be it walking alone through the forest or relaxing at the crowded campsite.

You should also look out for signs of exhaustion in your companion. Remember they are much smaller than you and could often have more trouble getting over terrain that you traverse so easily. This is especially true in the summer months when there is also considerable danger from the heat. Stop, rest and have a snack or a treat regularly so you can all enjoy you wonderful adventure together as a perfect team.

Before your first camping trip, it’s the best for you to try out some easier walks somewhere closer to home and then gradually prolong them over time so that the dog gets used to different surroundings and so you could observe his behavior in different circumstances so you know what to expect during longer outings.

Know where you are going

Good and thorough research will take you a long way towards a wonderful and unforgettable trip. Study the route and desired camp site carefully and decide if the one that you want to take is the best one for your loved ones.

Smaller breeds like JRTs could have some troubles walking over rough rocky terrain, and if you plan on climbing you must have an excellent harness to help your dog overcome obstacles that are too much for him/her.

Some campsites don’t allow pets so check out camp rules beforehand so you don’t end up setting camp (if it’s allowed), on your own, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Check on the website and call the campsite in advance to ask about the rules of conduct – does the dog have to wear a leash or a muzzle at all times, etc., and pack your gear accordingly.

It’s also a good idea to check out what wildlife inhabits the area that you are heading so you can be extra careful not just for your own sake but for your puppy’s too. It isn’t unusual for dogs to get in a kerfuffle with local animals, especially if they are a hunting breed like Jack Russell’s.

Pest control

One of the biggest worries that you will have on your camping trips is various pests that could cling onto your pets during your outings and give them considerable discomfort – tics, flees, mosquitoes, heart worms, etc.

Apply pest repellant products that will keep those lousy bugs off our buddies beforehand and have some ready at hand while hiking, especially during longer outings. You should also have a pair of tweezers handy in the unfortunate event that your friend picked up some ticks along the way (be sure to check yourselves too for those pesky critters).

Night time

Some of the biggest dangers of camping come to the fore at night. Not only do temperatures, especially at higher altitudes, fall rapidly as the sun starts to set behind the horizon, but also many predators come out to hunt only when darkness shrouds the land. When going to sleep I recommend inviting your dog to share a tent with you instead of leaving them outside.

They will be warmer and safer with you at their side than outside where they could be harassed by some wild animal (or worse). If you have an especially small tent or are a proud owner of a large breed make sure that their harnesses are securely tied and fastened to a strong anchor spot so they don’t slip away and get lost investigating some strange noise or an interesting smell somewhere in the distance.

It’s the best to take some of your dogs favorite toys and his favorite pillow or a blanket with you – that way they will have a place of their own in an otherwise strange new environment – both they and you will feel much more comfortable and at ease having a piece of home far away from home.

Campsite etiquette

If your chosen campsite is dog-friendly there will most likely be more dog owners there enjoying their time together with their barking buddies. Your companion should be on a leash the whole time for their own safety as well as that of others. There can be other more aggressive dogs sharing your campsite or people that don’t care as much for our beloved pets as we do.

You should also restrain your doggy from barking as much as possible because it could irritate other people around you or provoke other dogs into more aggressive behavior. Look out that your dog doesn’t bother other people, rummage through their belongings or beg them for food (or tries to steal some of their yummy barbecue).

We may know that he/she is just exited and playful but others may not care. The less chance there is of a confrontation, the more pleasant experience it’ll be for everybody.

One last thing – don’t forget to pick up after your dog, be it on the trail or in the campsite – keep the nature just as you found it.

I love my Jack Russell Kala with all my heart and want to share all my adventures with her, as I’m sure all you do with your four-legged companions. The best way to do that, no matter where we are is to make sure that we have everything that we need and know exactly where we are going and what to expect. Preparation, training and good teamwork is key for an unforgettable adventure in the wilderness.

If you have something to add or share some camping story, share it in the comments below. I would like to hear it.


  1. My other pup Peggy is a shihtzu/pug cross and she was a pain 8’ the backside because she barked at every noise in the night on the first night but it was her first ever time camping. Second night she was that exhausted from the fun (and probably being up all night barking the night before!!) she was fast asleep on the bed before we’d even got into bed! I couldn’t imagine making the pup sleep outside though! Our JRT Pippa is 4 and we’ve had her 2 months now from adoption, can’t wait to take her camping! Love all of the advice here and the other articles :-) x

    • Thanks Aby, hope you’ll have great experience camping with both your dogs, maybe you will just need some patience, but it’s all worth it. Cheers, Ana

  2. I have two Jack Russell Terriers that have been camping with me since they were puppies. They are socialized but being Jack’s they have one speed and don’t stop unless they are sleeping. When I go alone could not ask for better companions. I have an RV that they stay in if I have to go to somewhere. We go for many walks and snuggle at night around the campfire or watch a movie.

  3. Danielle M. Reagle

    I’m anxious to take my JRT camping. How do you handle the shopping trip prior to camping when you’re far from home?

    • Hi Danielle, thanks for writing. If you’re anxious to take your JRT camping, first try to spend more time with him in the nature, teach him solid Come (although keep him on leash if you’re not sure or if in area with leash rule. Kala is used in staying in car alone, so if I need to go shopping, I can always leave her there (obviously not when the temperatures are high). Also, I never go camping alone, so some of us can always stay with her at the car. think of the way that could work for you and gradually get to the desired point. It should be fun.


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