How To Have The Best Time Safely Hammock Camping With Your Dog

Plus the best hammocks you and your pup can share ⛺️

dogs in a hammock

If you love hammock camping or you’re thinking about doing it for the first time, you might be wondering if your dog can go with you.

It turns out you can totally take your dog hammock camping, as long as you follow some safety tips.

The Dodo spoke to Dr. Crista Coppola, PhD, a certified dog and cat behaviorist at Senior Tail Waggers, to find out how to safely and comfortably hammock camp with your pup.

What’s hammock camping?

Hammock camping just means sleeping in a hammock instead of a regular tent while you camp.

Some people prefer hammocks because they protect against water that can seep into a tent or soak through a bed on wet ground. And since hammocks are suspended, many people sleep better in them than they do sleeping on uneven or rocky ground. Plus, when compared to tents, hammocks tend to be lighter and more compact because they require less equipment, making them easier to carry.

They’re also great for relaxing by the fire.

A camping hammock’s usually hung between two trees, so you’ll need to find a sturdy pair close enough to each other to hang it. Many also come with a bug net and a tarp to cover the hammock to protect you from rain and sun (and pesky bugs).

How to hammock camp with your dog

You might think that you can’t take your dog with you to go hammock camping, but it’s actually an awesome way to spend some outdoor time with your pup. Here are some tips for how to do it.

Prepare before the trip

Before you take your dog camping, let him get used to the hammock at home so he knows what to expect. Leave the hammock out and let him sniff it. You can try coaxing him into the hammock with treats, too. Give him time to get comfortable with the feel of it, since it might feel weird to him at first.

Cut your dog’s nails before your trip so they don’t poke a hole through your hammock. Most hammocks are made of nylon or similar material, which can rip if his nails are too long.

If you plan on having your pup wear booties to protect his paws, have him try them on before your trip to get used to how they feel. Wearing booties in the hammock can also prevent your dog from puncturing it with his nails.

And be sure to check that the campsite allows pets before you go!

Hanging your hammock

When choosing trees to hang your hammock, you should make sure that they’re extra sturdy to handle the weight of both you and your dog. Sloped ground usually makes it more difficult for dogs to get in and out of the hammock, too, so try to find a campsite that’s as flat as possible. And hang your hammock lower to the ground to make it easy for your dog to access and keep him from getting hurt.

Keep your pup close

Keep your dog on a leash, even at night, so he doesn’t wander off. “Dogs need to be kept on-leash if a reliable recall is not rock solid,” Dr. Coppola told The Dodo. “Keep in mind a recall may not be as reliable as you think if your dog is faced with the opportunity to chase a squirrel up a tree or a rabbit through the woods.”

You can hold onto your dog’s leash while you’re in the hammock, or you can even tie it to a nearby tree.

And always keep ID tags on your pup so he can be identified if he does get away. “Make sure your dog is wearing up-to-date identification tags at all times,” Dr. Coppola said.

Try this silicone ID tag from Amazon for $16.95

Keep your dog hydrated

Dogs will try to drink water from almost anywhere, but water out in nature often has bacteria, such as cyanobacteria, that can make your pup sick. So try to prevent him from lapping up water from a lake, and give him fresh water on your hikes instead.

“Bring fresh water for your pup to drink, and do not allow him to drink from natural water sources, such as puddles, ponds, streams and lakes,” Dr. Coppola said.

Check his vaccinations

Make sure your dog is up to date on his vaccinations. “In the outdoors environment, he is more likely to be exposed to potentially infectious agents,” Dr. Coppola said. “Annual vaccines, rabies, leptospirosis, flea and tick preventative, and heartworm preventative [are necessary].”

Supplies for camping with your dog

Other than a hammock, you’ll need to bring some other items with you to keep your dog safe and comfortable. Here’s what you’ll need to bring, according to Dr. Coppola.

Best hammocks for camping with your dog

When looking for a hammock to sleep in with your dog, you should look for one that can hold your combined weight, withstand the elements and fold down to a compact size. Here are some good ones that you and your pup will enjoy:

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