In this guide, we are going to speak about taking your dog camping. Is it a good idea? What should you consider before doing so? Tips for making camping with your dog as enjoyable as possible. Tips to ensure your dog enjoys the camping trip as much as you and a printable packing list just for your pooch.
Before you jump in and decide that you ARE taking your dog camping there are a few things that you need to think about and take into consideration before making that commitment.
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We all know that dogs are one of the most popular and wonderful pets, after all they are known as mans best friend. For this reason we love to spend as much time with them as we can. Not everyone likes to leave their precious pooch while they go on holiday and more and more people are looking for holidays where their beloved pet can join them
Deciding if You Should Take Your Dog Camping
There are many things you need to take into consideration before deciding to take your dog camping. These should not be taken lightly as the success of your and your dog’s camping trip will depend on you making the right decision. I’m also afraid to say that the right decision may not always be the one you want. Some dogs are just not cut out for the campground while others love it.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself. Better still discuss them with your partner or family to help you come to not only an informed decision but the right decision.
Do we have the space to take the dog camping?
You need to think about space when travelling and space in and around the tent. Too many people load the car and forget about the space passengers need for comfortable travel. Also, consider the distance of travel.
Is your dog people and dog friendly?
When camping there are other people and other pets around. You do not want to be on edge if sitting outside the tent or walking around the site with your dog. A holiday is your time to relax.
Is your dog well behaved?
Does your dog have good recall and stay on demand should just in case they need to be used. Would your dog be tempted to chew if in strange surroundings?
What is your routine when camping?
Do you stay about the site, do you like to do activities or nip to the local pub? If you take the dog they will need to be attended at all times and should never be left in the tent themselves.
If you can go through these questions and answer honestly you will begin to build a clearer picture of whether taking your dog camping is suitable for both you and your dog.
As much as some of us would love to take our pampered pooches camping to share the experience with them, sometimes it is just not suitable for them and us. There is no point in taking your dog and hoping it will be ok, then the dog being anxious or unsettled the whole time. Or you feeling as if you have missed out on any of your normal camping experiences. Even if that is only a trip to the pub one night for a meal and few beverages.
Camping with your pet is something that should be suitable and enjoyable for ALL.
Checks To Do Before Taking Your Dog Camping
It is a thoroughly good idea to ensure your dog is up to date with all shots and is fit and healthy. Ensure that you know where the nearest vets is located should anything happen while away. We always suggest that us humans know where the nearest A&E Department or hospital is the same should also be known for your pet. Sometimes injuries are time critical and the quicker you can get them there the better.
Do A Trial Run
This may seem a little over the top, but if you can try to do a trail run of spending the night in a tent with your dog. Dogs can get upset when out of routine and you want to know that your dog is going to be happy and settle in the tent with you.
If you can set up in the garden, or if a smaller tent in the house. See how your dog gets on when the tent is fully zipped up. Some may feel trapped and panicked. I have heard stories of dogs chewing there way out of tents in the middle of the night and going missing. Make sure they are happy and comfortable, and are able to stay settled for the whole night.
Book A Dog Friendly Campsite
This is important when booking your site. Not all campsites allow dogs so please ensure at the time of booking that the site allows dogs. It is also a good idea to check what rules and facilities they have for dogs and their owners. Some will have dog waste disposal bins, marked walks near the site for you and your furry friend to go and they may even have areas near where your dog will be allowed off the lead to run free.
If you are looking for some camping gear for your best friend why not check out our Best Camping Gear for Dogs post for some inspiration.
What Your Dog Will Need for Camping
Taking your dog camping will require you to pack some more items. Yip even more items to play car tetris with when packing. It is rarely as simple as packing your dog and their food and off you go.
Food Bowls – while you can just take your dogs food and water bowls from home, if your dog is larger you may want to think about collapsible bowls. If your dog’s bowls are raised at home you will also want to have them raised at the campsite. You can check out these ones from Colapz that pack away small. Again try these out at home and ensure your dog is comfortable eating and drinking from them.
Food and Treats – this kind of goes without saying. The best way to do this is to measure out enough food for the length of your camping trip plus a day. This ensures there will be enough and should you get stuck in traffic on the way home or feel your dog need a little extra due to extra exercise you are not going to run out and have the dog going hungry. The same is true for treats.
Bed – remember your dog is used to sleeping indoors and they will feel the cold the same as you if sleeping on a tent floor. Your dog will need to insulate from the cold floor too. A good raised dog bed is good and helps keep them from lying on the cold ground. This is especially true if your dog is a little older. You can find a good range of these on Amazon and they can come with or without canopies which make them ideal if your dog wants to use them during the day to lay in a shaded area.
Tethering or containment – you will need to decide what is best for you and your dog on site. Would it be preferable to contain them around the pitch with screens or windbreakers or use a tether to which they are attached outside the tent? It really is a personal choice some times. Windbreakers are great, especially if your dog can be prone to barking at other dogs. Windbreakers can act as a screen to deter this while providing you with some added privacy if you wish. Tethers are great if you don’t want anything obstructing your view. This is especially true if you are camping with kids too. One of the best tethers we have come across is from Delta Ground Anchors who also make the best tent pegs. You can view them by clicking on the link to the post above. If you want something a little less pricey but solid and anchored well check out these ones.
Toys – we all know dogs love their toys and tent to have their favourites. For this reason it is best to take a few of their favourites with you (maybe not squeaky ones though). Not only are they familiar to the dog and will act as a comforter it will also help keep them amused around the tent.
Towels – take a towel for the dog. If they don’t have their own towel at home it may be worth investing in a good lightweight, easy drying towel for camping. This can be used for drying off paws after walks before they enter the tent. Or maybe even the whole dog if they like to go for a swim while out and about. If swimming is their thing and you are going camping near any water it is maybe even best to take a couple.
Brushes/Combs/Tick Remover – if your dog is prone to casting a lot, likes a swim or is used to being groomed regularly it is best to pack the aforementioned items. A good tick remover if they are going to be out and about more. Whether you choose to use your own on the dog or have one specifically for them is your choice. Dogs should always be checked regularly for ticks and at the end of every camping trip. They can become as sick from these little blighters.
If you want to read more on Ticks check out out post on them and how to safely remove them here Ticks and Lyme Disease – What You Need To Know
Another good idea if you are taking your dog in the warmer weather is to use a cool mat for your dog to lie on when it gets really hot. Try to provide your dog with a well-sheltered area to lie, out of the sun. Ensure plenty of clean fresh and cold drinking water is available at all times
Pooches Packing List
So now you know what all you will need to take for your furry friend it may be best for them to have their own camping packing list. We have provided a short infographic that you can use when packing for your dog’s camping trip. Either click on the link or picture to be able to download and print. This will also be added to our printables section.
Oh, and I almost forget one of the most important items to remember and pack…plenty of dog poo bags. Remember to dispose of these appropriately and if unsure as the site owner/manager of the best place to dispose of them.
Will You Be Successfully Taking Your Dog Camping Soon?
We hope this post has help you if taking your dog camping is something you have thought about. Even if you have taken your dog before but didn’t have the experience you thought you would have had. Hopefully some of the pointers and suggestions here will allow you to have a better experience the next time.
Remember it is not always best to take your dog, no matter how much you would like too. Agree to make an informed decision before embarking on such an adventure. After all there is no point in doing so if you or your dog is going to end up stressed and miserable.
If you liked this post and feel it would benefit others why not give it a share on social media and help more people to make informed decisions when it comes to dogs and camping.