How To Go Camping With Your French Bulldog

Camping is one of my favorite outdoor activities. Camping with a Frenchie is even better! Many people are hesitant to bring their furry friends along. A dog sitter or a daycare might be better for very fussy dogs. But, your dog may enjoy some extended time in the great outdoors. Here are some tips on how to go camping with your French Bulldog.  

Keeping Cool While Camping With Your French Bulldog

Frenchies can have a tendency to overheat. Bring a cooling mat or cooling vest, make sure you have lots of water available at all times. It’s very important to select a campsite with shade. During the summer months, plan to swim or rest in a shady area from noon to 4 pm when the sun is at its strongest. If you are camping at a drive-up campsite, bring a kiddie pool for your Frenchie to enjoy.

Backpacking and canoe trips vs. drive up

Sometimes, you need to hike to your campsite. Make sure that you and your Frenchie are ready for this! Condition your pup in advance by mapping out the hike and working up to the distance before the trip. If you find it is too long, be flexible, and make adjustments. Remember backpacking or canoeing in means you will have to pack lighter too. Determine if you would like your dog to carry some of his or her supplies, and research dog backpacks. If you decide to use one, make sure you train your french bulldog to get used to it before the trip.

Consider car camping for a first time trip with your French Bulldog. This way, you can pack to your heart’s desire, and your pup will have the familiarity of the car close by. Usually, drive-up campsites are quite social and you may even meet some other dogs and dog owners. You won’t have to pair down all the doggy items you want to bring. You will learn from experience what you used and what was “nice to have”.  

Just the essentials

Always pack a doggy life jacket if you will be spending time around water, boating, or swimming. Make sure that your pup tries it on before your camping trip. A tie-out can also be very helpful on your campsite, but make sure your dog is always supervised when it is in use. I also find it very helpful to carry grooming wipes, rather than giving my pup a full bath before we get back in the car. Bring bedding, toys, and of course, lots of treats.

Bring extra food

You should bring enough dog food for the duration of your trip, plus 50% extra. Your Frenchie may eat more than usual if they are being very active. You may even find yourself needing an extra day in nature. If your dog eats wet food, consider bringing the type in plastic trays rather than cans. This will be lighter if you are backpacking. But, be sure to feed your dog this for a few days in advance of the trip. Do not switch food up when camping. Some dogs may experience stomach upset or eat less than usual. The first time you go camping with your french bulldog, they may have a tough time adjusting.

The last time I went camping with my dog Thor, he experienced an upset stomach for the first day. A little rice helped, but he was a bit nervous in the new environment. Facing Mosquitos and summer heat was more challenging than his air-conditioned city life. The first-night camping can be a bit confusing and strange for a dog.

Be prepared

Check your Frenchie’s tags, vaccines, and microchip are all up to date a few weeks in advance. Make sure you give yourself enough time for a trip to the vet if you need any updates. Make sure you know how to check for ticks and remove them if needed.

Be sure to prepare for cool, hot, and rainy weather. I always like to bring a doggy raincoat and sweater, booties, socks, and extra bedding. Camping can be tough and a little boring if it turns into a rainy weekend. Make sure you have shelter to hang out under if this is the case! Sitting in a tent all day ain’t gonna cut it.

Bring a human first aid kit, but a pet one is always good to have too. You never know when a scratch or bug bite may make your dog a bit uncomfortable.

Sleeping arrangements

If you think your dog will want to sleep in your tent, make sure this is comfortable for everyone. If it is too hot, your Frenchie may not want to stay in there. This has happened to me with my lab mix Thor on a camping trip. Although he slept in the tent on a previous trip, this was a particularly hot July night. I allowed him to sleep outside of the tent, on a tie out with a cooling mat. Since the rain fly was not on the tent, I could see him through the mesh window. Luckily, we were on a small one-campsite island we had canoed to. So, I was not concerned about wildlife approaching him. If there is any risk of encounters with wildlife, do not allow your dog to sleep on a tie out.

You may want to bring a dog tent for your pup to sleep in, or their usual crate or travel carrier. Dogs love having their own special space to relax. If your Frenchie is crate trained, practice with a dog tent before your camping trip. This will be lighter than a crate, and so darn cute!

Best friends stay together – Camping With Your French Bulldog

No dog should ever be alone on a campsite. Even if you are going for a quick walk or paddle, bring your Frenchie along. Weather can change at any moment, and wilderness usually goes hand in hand with wildlife. Dogs need attention, and in an unfamiliar setting, they may be nervous. Always be close by to comfort if needed. If wildlife frequents the area, take extra care to keep your dog on a leash while hiking on trails. If your idea of camping is to abandon responsibility, bringing along your dog might not be for you!

Guest Author:  

Hi, I’m Natalie! I’m a dog owner and I do my best to live an active outdoor lifestyle. About 4 years ago I adopted my dog Thor. Since then, he has learned to jog, camp, and even canoe. I’m here to help you to make your dog a part of your healthy lifestyle too. Visit me at

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