Camping with your dog hints and tips

Camping with your dog hints and tips

Camping with your dog can be a lot of fun and a rewarding bonding experience. However, it does require extra planning. That’s why we’ve compiled these great tips on taking your dog camping with you.

 

1.      Is your dog suited to go camping?

 

small white dog sitting oustide of a tent infront of a campfire on the beach

Source @saltytravellers - shared with permission

 

Firstly, it is important to ask yourself this question as not all dogs are suited for camping. Think about your dog’s individual ‘doginalty’ and how they handle certain situations that may arise. Not all dogs will enjoy camping, and some may experience high levels of stress and anxiety on a camping trip. Aggressive dogs can be triggered in new environments, and yappy dogs could bother fellow campers.

If you’re worried about your dog’s suitability for the trip, check him into a doggy hotel or leave him at home with a carer.

Ignoring concerns could limit the enjoyment of the holiday or endanger your pooch.

 

2.      Preparation is key

 

 Dog standing in front of a 4x4

Source @4xpaw_crew - shared with permission

 

As with every trip, it is always a good idea to plan and plan ahead. It may seem like a good idea to take a spur-of-the-moment spontaneous trip with your fur baby but trust me, it is better to be prepared to ensure that both you and your dog have a safe and enjoyable camping trip.

There are three variables that need preparation - the trip, you and your furry friend.

The situations and environments will vary throughout the trip - car rides, people, animals, and nature. And it is important that you take the time to prepare for as many circumstances as possible. 

Once you are confident that your dog will be suited to join you on a camping trip, assess what kind of camping trip would best suit your dogs ‘doginality’ and plan your trip around that. 

Are they more suited to lounging around or are they an active and adventurous hound?

 

Meals are an important preparation point. Planning your pet’s meals ahead of time will eliminate the stress of wondering if you have packed enough and what will be on the menu for that day.

For all other preparation points, scroll below!

 

 

3.      What to pack

There are a few more items you will need to add if you are taking your dog camping with you. Use our free printable list below to ensure you pack everything your dog needs to have a safe and enjoyable trip.

You don’t need to buy a lot of new things, but it is a good idea to have a few familiar items when travelling with your dog, such as its favourite foods, toys and bedding. That being said, it is still a good idea to invest in necessities like a good quality and durable collar and leash.

 

check list

 

 

4.       Health and medical preparation

 

Make sure your pup is physically and mentally healthy to go on a trip away. Although we hope your dog is in tip-top health throughout this adventure, it is always best to expect the unexpected and pack for it. See tips for health and medical preparation when camping with your dog and a free printable doggy first aid kit checklist here.


5.       Find a suitable campsite

 

Man and dog sitting beside campfire infront of a caravan

Source @4xpaw_crew - shared with permission

 

It goes without saying that you must pick a campsite that allows pets. There is nothing worse than travelling hundreds of kilometres to arrive at your destination and find that dogs are not allowed. Contact campsites individually for information regarding their pet policy and rules. Ask about their on-site dog-friendly facilities, such as dog bathing facilities, off the lead dog areas, etc.

At this point it may be worth also checking whether the hiking trails, beaches, etc that you are planning on visiting are pet friendly.

Some campsites’ pet policies change depending on peak/off-peak periods and some will only allow dogs up to a certain weight/ size, so be sure to double check all these details and book well in advance in order to avoid any disappointment.

It is important to note that dogs are not allowed in National Parks or conservation areas. Always check in with local councils before pitching up.

For a variety of pet friendly sites and accommodation across Australia visit Campstay.com

 

6.       Make sure your dog is identifiable

 

dog sitting on a stone cliff edge with ocean in back round

Source @caravanofconservation - shared with permission

 

It is important to make sure that your dog has identification in case they wander off without you. Make sure they have a collar with an ID tag and microchip with up-to-date information to ensure they can be identified by a local council or vet. It is advisable to attach multiple ID tags to your dogs’ collar. A tag with their name and your contact number and a temporary tag with your current campsite number and details of your next destination, in case there is no mobile reception.

 BOSS TIP  - Although, I’m sure you have hundreds of pictures of your dog on your phone, have a clear picture of your dog printed out in case you ever need to search for your dog. 

 

 

7.       Plan your travel route

 

lady sitting in front seat of car taking a selfie with arm outside car and dog in back seat

Source @4xpaw_crew - shared with permission

 

Having a planned out travel route will ensure you know when and where to safely pull over to give your pooch the opportunity to stretch, sniff and use the ”bathroom”.

Try to keep travel times quite short and to about two-hour intervals.

Having a well-planned route will take away the stress of wondering where to stop and ensure your pet gets regular breaks leading to a more comfortable trip and avoiding accidents from happening.

 

 

8.       Have a trial run

 

two small black and white dogs sitting in a moon chair

Source @rnrwanderers - shared with permission

 

If your furry friend is not a seasoned camper or is new to the travelling life, consider working your way up instead of just jumping straight into the deep end.

Some ways to prepare your dog for camping include:

  • Going for longer car rides
    Getting your dog used to travelling in a car is important as a large chunk of the trip could be the car ride itself. For many dogs, car rides are exciting and for some, it can be very scary. Work your way up with car rides by going for small rides each day and gradually increasing the amount of time your dog spends in the car. Make sure the car is as comfortable as possible for your dog before the long trip.

 

  • Training
    Having your dog car trained will also be easier for you as this could help ease car sickness and anxiety when the big trip arrives. Your dog will also be more likely to be better behaved. For training purposes you can use treats as a form of positive reinforcement. If at any point during the ride, your dog becomes anxious or restless, pull over in a safe spot or rest area so he can use the bathroom, stretch out and have a little break.

 

  • Obedience

Make sure your dog is obedient, controllable and walks well on a lead. Prepare them for interactions with others. If necessary you may need to do some obedience training.

 

  • Take longer walks
    This will also be beneficial to fitness levels – for both of you. Work on your dog’s on-the-leash behaviour by taking him for extended walks each day. Here you can teach him to follow voice commands, walk properly on a lead as well as get used to being on a lead for extended periods of time. It is important that you are able to keep your pooch safe and under control at your campsite at all times.

     

  • Have a backyard campout.
    This could be fun and it will give you more of an idea of how your dog will respond to a camping trip. Try to behave exactly as you would on a real camping trip. Keep your dog secured at all times and spend some time around a fire ring. Invite some friends and family to join in and assess your dog’s behaviour in a controlled environment. This will give you a better idea on how to prepare for the real deal. Keep in mind that there may be additional distractions when you are out in the great outdoors.

    It would also be a good idea to have your first official camp as close to home as possible in case you need to cut it short for some reason.

 

9.       Get social

 

lady sitting on the beach hugging two dogs

Source @4xpaw_crew - shared with permission

 

When camping at pet-friendly campgrounds, you are very likely to be exposed to several other dogs. Know more about and improve on your dog's social skills by taking your dog to off leash parks and arrange a few playdates with other pups. From here you will know if you would need to implement any additional socialisation training.

If your dog is other dog-friendly, be mindful of the fact that not every other dog will be the same. Make sure to check in with other dog owners before letting your dog approach another one.

 

 

10.   Safety - it’s a jungle out there!

 

three kids walking a dog on a lead in the desert

Source @caravanofconservation - shared with permission

 

Safety is the most important. Make sure you keep yours and your dogs safety at top priority. Read here for more health and safety tips when camping with your dog. 

 

11.   Share your tent or RV

 

dog sitting inside a caravan looking outside

Source @caravanofconservation - shared with permission

 

Having your dog sleep nearby can help ease stress and anxiety - for both of you. A sleeping compartment or place for their basket near you would be most ideal, or better yet; with you! This will keep them secure and give you peace of mind. Try to keep sleeping arrangements as similar to your home as possible. If they usually sleep in their own bed or crate, make sure there is space to accommodate them.

If your dog is not crate trained, consider crate training beforehand. This is so that they are comfortable spending time or sleeping overnight in the crate when needed.

If you are sleeping in a tent, consider a more spacious tent, comfortable enough for all flesh and furry travellers. Always zip and secure your tent to avoid anything coming in or out. Avoid tenting with your dog in extremely hot temperatures.

 

 

12.   Plan dog friendly activities

 

lady playing tug with dog in front of a caravan

Source @rnrwanderers - shared with permission

 

Make this trip fun for both of you and incorporate heaps of dog-friendly activities. Escaping from the hustle and bustle of everyday life is the perfect time to bond. Use this trip as an opportunity to build skills with your furry friend. Activities could include trail walking, beach walks. exploring parks, outdoor games, or new tricks. Campgrounds are great to socialise your dog, while outdoor activities are great for teaching new tricks and commands. However, there is a chance that the weather may not permit all your planned outdoor activities. In case this happens remember to pack your dogs favourite outdoor-safe-toys.

 

 

 

13.   Good campsite etiquette

 

god lying on camper chair with man sitting on camping chair in back round

Source @4xpaw_crew - shared with permission

 

 

When camping, with a dog especially, it is important to be courteous to your fellow campers. Be mindful of the fact that not everyone may love dogs as much you do. Weird, I know! Make sure your dog is on a leash and by your side at all times. Make sure they are on their best behaviour and don’t bark a lot. And of course, scoop your poop! Even when out in nature there are still other campers and wildlife around which can be impacted by your dog’s faeces. 

 

14.   Have a pawsome time!

 

dog and kids outside a caravan on beach

Source @caravanofconservation - shared with permission

 

Camping is a unique way to escape everyday life and bond with your pooch pal. The outdoors will invigorate your senses and allow you to make special memories together.

Nothing beats a good camp weekend away with your furry best mate. With a little preparation, you and your dog will be ready for holiday success.

 

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