Lots of people love spending time exploring the great outdoors and camping is a great way of doing this, so it’s nice to be able to share the experience with your dog too. If you’re planning on taking your best canine pal along with you as a tent companion, then there a few things you should think of in advance and prepare for to make sure there are no disasters or unexpected surprises on the trip!
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, if you’ll be staying at a registered camp site then check that it’s a camping area which allows dogs, and familiarise yourself with any rules they may have for pets. This will help you to plan items you may need to take along to best abide by these rules so that your dog doesn’t cause any destruction or anti-social behaviour that may disturb other campers.
Before you go, talk to your vet to let them know about the upcoming trip and schedule a check up to make sure your dog is healthy and up to date with all vaccinations. If you are travelling abroad, ensure that your pet’s passport is usable and up to date. It’s also worth asking your vet about flea and tick control, which your dog will be more exposed to than usual if spending lots of time outdoors, and sand-fly control if you are travelling to the Mediterranean.
Dogs love the freedom camping allows just as much as we do, so in case they should run off too far it’s vital that they have a collar with a complete identification tag on and that their microchip is registered with the most up to date information possible.
While you’re on a camp site, minimise any health risks or unwanted stomach upsets by keeping their usual food and drink routine. Take enough of their normal food along with you for the entire trip, and don’t forget some extra treats for any activities or training together! Bring a water supply along if there isn’t a close by, and keep your dog from drinking out of any puddles, lakes or seawater as these can contain bacteria that can be harmful for dogs when ingested. A good way to prevent this is by always taking a water bottle and their bowl out during any outings or hikes for regular refreshment breaks; that way they won’t be tempted to look elsewhere. Other useful items include a leash or extending lead and collar and/or harness for those times when you may need to restrain your dog for their own safety. And of course those all-important poo bags!
If you’ve chosen to take your dog along with you, then be mindful of the extra responsibility this entails with the added risks new surroundings can mean. Campfires in particular can be a danger for enthusiastic and playful dogs, so set boundaries for this with basic commands from the outset and they will learn to stay clear of both the flames and any hot cooking utensils.
A long day of hiking or playing will mean you’re both tired out by the end of the day, so give your dog somewhere comfortable to rest and not just the ground which can draw heat out of their body. Why not take their usual bed along if suitable for outdoors, or look at investing in a portable elevated dog bed (dogs seriously love these) and you’ll find a well-rested and eager furry friend to greet you each morning!