Can You Leave Your Dog In A Tent? (Keep Them Safe Camping!)

Camping is fun. Bringing your dog along is even more fun. Including the dog brings up a bunch of new questions when it comes to camping. One of those questions you might have is “Can you leave your dog in a tent?” I too wondered this when I first brought my dog camping. I had to do some research and find out if doing so was a good idea.

So, can you leave your dog in a tent? Under most circumstances, you should not leave your dog in a tent alone since it can be dangerous for your dog. It can also cause an inconvenience to other campers if the dog is noisy.

The first thing to consider is your dog’s size and personality and if they can be taken camping in the first place. Next, you need to make sure there is enough room for your dog to sleep when the time comes. If you have those first two covered then you can certainly bring your dog along with you, but leaving them alone in a tent is usually not a good idea. There are some things you can do to bring your dog camping with you, but not leave them alone.

By the way, If you are in the market for a new tent, then you should click here to see the one I recommend on Amazon.

Consider your dog’s size and personality

If you have a bigger dog then it might be a little more difficult to take them camping than if you had a smaller dog. Bigger dogs can be harder to control obviously because of their size. If they are trained well then it might not be much of a problem. After all, it seems like smaller dogs usually have bigger personalities anyways. The dog’s size also needs to be taken into consideration when it comes time to sleep. At the same time, your dog’s personality is a big factor to think about when deciding to take them camping.

Does your dog need constant attention? 

If so then it could make camping with them a little more difficult. It would make it especially difficult to try and leave them alone at a campsite. You will need to keep their needs in mind if you are going to take them on your camping trip. If they need a lot of attention and supervision then you have to be prepared to offer that while you are camping.

Is your dog used to being on a leash constantly?

Some dogs have the privilege of never being tied up or attached to a leash, besides maybe when they go on a walk. If you take your dog camping then you will need to keep them on a leash for pretty much the entire duration of the trip. Not only is it usually in the campground’s rules, but it is just common courtesy to other campers to keep your dog leashed.

Does your dog get along with other dogs?

Your dog might not be the only dog at the campground if you decide to bring them. The last thing you want to deal with is your dog picking a fight with another one at the campground. Dogs will naturally get excited when they see other dogs, but if that excitement is anger then maybe it’s best not to bring your dog camping. It would be hard to avoid other dogs in a campground because they will be living close by.

Is your dog a barker?

It would be very embarrassing if your dog barked all day and night, and I do not think that most fellow campers would appreciate it much. If your dog has an uncontrollable barking habit then its definitely better to leave them back home.

Will there be enough room for your dog to sleep?

At the end of the day during your camping trip, you need to have a place for your dog to sleep. There are a few options that you have for this, and some are better than others. The biggest thing you need to keep into consideration is the safety of your dog and if there is enough room for your dog to comfortably sleep in the first place.

Don’t let your dog sleep outside

When you are camping there are many different creatures that come out at night that could be dangerous for your dog. Depending on where you are camping, things like snakes, coyotes, bears, mountain lions, wolves, etc. could be very harmful to your dog. It’s best not to leave them outside in the dark to sleep. It is unusually dark too so your dog could be frightened if they are unable to see, just don’t leave them to sleep outside when you are camping, its dangerous.

Bring them in your tent, but it needs to be big enough

Depending on your dog’s size, you kind of need to treat them as a person in regard to your tent’s size. Them and their bed need to fit in the tent. If you have a small tent then that might not do. You could make it work but it could be a tight fit, you are better of going with a tent that is larger than you might think you need so that you and the dog would have some room to stretch.

Your dog could sleep in the car

Another option is to allow your dog to sleep in the car. It is one of the safest options if you crack the windows to allow some airflow in. There should be plenty of room for your dog if you have taken most of your camping gear out. If your dog will behave and be trusted then they could comfortably sleep in the car. If your dog has a problem with being separated from you then this could present a problem though.

Why leaving your dog alone in a tent is not a good idea

Tents get hot during the day

If you are thinking about leaving your dog in the tent when you leave for the day then think again. It is similar to being in a car in the sun during the day. The internal temperature in the tent will get a lot warmer than the ambient temperature because of a sort of greenhouse effect that keeps warm air trapped inside of the tent. It is simply not safe to leave your dog in a tent because the temperatures will get very high, even if it is in the shade. The ventilation features of a typical tent are well enough to make any significant difference. If you have ever had to go into your tent during the day, then you might have felt first hand how warm they can get.

Your dog can get out if they really want to

The tent is not a sturdy structure that could keep your dog in if the dog wanted to get out. Tents are made of thin material and can easily be broken by your dog’s claws or chewed open with their teeth. If you try leaving your dog in the tent they could escape very easily. It won’t take very long for them to do it either, even a quick trip to the campground bathroom could be enough time for your dog to mess up your tent and escape if they are anxious enough. Don’t leave the dog in the tent unless you want to buy a new one very soon.

Your dog could be loud when they are left alone

When some dogs are left alone, they make noise. They bark, they howl, they whine. All of this commotion could be disturbing to other campers. Someone might think it is cruel to leave a dog in a tent and come over and break your tent open to save the dog. Either way, if the dog is left alone, then there is no one to supervise and make sure that the dog is not causing a noise disturbance to other people. If the campground staff has to deal with the issue and you are not there, then who knows where your dog could end up.

It’s just mean to do that

Your dog does have feelings. They don’t like being left alone, sure it is necessary sometimes, but on a camping trip in a strange location, it is not necessary. It could be emotionally damaging to your dog to be left alone in an unfamiliar place, not to mention all the other negatives to leaving them in a tent. They always get over it pretty fast though.

What you can do instead with your dog when you go camping

Plan your itinerary around dog-friendly activities

If you have decided to take your dog camping with you then you should know by now that you shouldn’t be leaving them in the tent. You need to take them with you wherever you go. Now you need to make sure that where you go is appropriate for bringing your dog along. Some places you go camping have areas where there are no dogs allowed. If so, someone might have to stay behind to keep an eye on the dog. You can also look specifically for places where there are dogs allowed and have fun at those locations.

Take turns watching the dog

You can split off into separate groups if there is a lot of you, or just one person could stay behind to watch the dog at the campground. Basically, the dog needs to be supervised by someone at all times. Like mentioned above, at the destination someone could also stay in and around the car to watch the dog as well and take turns that way.


There aren’t many upsides to leaving your dog in a tent, in fact, it can be flat out dangerous for them. Sometimes it is better to not even bring them camping in the first place if they don’t have the personality for it. You also have to keep in mind where they are going to sleep. It is a lot of responsibility to take a dog camping with you, and if you are up to the task then you can have a great camping adventure with your dog.

My Favorite Camping Gear

  • Air Mattress: click hereOpens in a new tab. to check out my favorite on Amazon.
  • Tent: click here Opens in a new see my favorite tent available on Amazon.
  • Sleeping Pad: click hereOpens in a new tab. to check out the one I love on Amazon.
  • Sleeping Bag: click here Opens in a new see the one I recommend on Amazon.
  • Camping Stove: click hereOpens in a new tab. to see the best camping stove on Amazon.

Zachary Smith

Zach is an avid outdoorsman that loves going camping with his Prius every chance he gets. He also regularly enjoys hiking and fishing. When he's not outside you can probably find him writing about it on this website. See his full bio here

Recent Posts