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A Canine-Friendly Camping Trip

dog in tentHeading out into the great outdoors with your four-legged friend can make for an unforgettable escape, though there are a large number of considerations to make before setting off – from bringing extra food and water, to campsite safety, weather considerations and more.

To help you plan ahead for your next canine-inclusive camping trip, we’ve covered off a handful of things to think about before pitching up.

Food and Water

One of my favourite parts of planning a camping trip is coming up with some creative cuisine, whether it’s over a campfire or in a portable gas-fired cooker. Our own eating aside, you’ll need to plan food for your pooch, too. They’ll need their usual meals and some extra snacks, too – bearing in mind if you’re tackling any hills on this trip, like you they’ll be burning extra calories.

Probably avoid having them try anything new or overly rich on this trip. An upset stomach is the last thing you want to be dealing with in the wild, particularly if you’ll be sharing the close confines of a tent!

As well as food you’ll need extra water, or if you’ll be camping near a water source, a pump or similar to filter bacteria and viruses – our pets are susceptible to sickness from impure water sources, too! And don’t forget a bowl – the collapsible ones with a carabiner are great for clipping somewhere close to hand – and perhaps a can-opener if you’ll be taking food of the tinned variety.

Care Around The Campsite

Sitting around under the stars, stoking a campfire with your best friend by your side is an idyllic image. Be sure to give some thought to how your dog will behave around a source of fire though, particularly if this is their first time camping. That goes to gas cookers as well – keep a close eye on your companion when it’s cooking time.

If your dog is prone to wandering you may opt to keep them on a lead around the campsite, but give some consideration to what you’ll tie it to. This can be a smart idea for sighthounds, knowing it’s likely there could be rabbits or other small furries around in the morning.

I hope it goes without saying, but if nature calls, bag your dog’s waste and dispose of it considerately. This is especially important near sources or water or near to camping areas where the risk of contamination is highest.

Bugs, Bites & Other Bothers

A buzzing bee can ignite curiosity in any canine, ticks need to be checked for after walking in long grasses, and depending where you are you may need to keep an eye out for adders. We’ve shared earlier blogs on this topic, which you can see here.

Sleeping Arrangements

Have you given some thought to sleeping arrangements? Giving your tent a test-run in your yard or a nearby park in advance of heading out for the real thing gives your dog a chance to get used to the close confines and for you to address any foreseeable shortfalls.

You’ll need a comfy bed for yourself and your pooch to ensure you both get a good night’s rest – there’s plenty of options at outdoor stores or online for portable, pet-friendly bedding. Extra towels might come in handy if there’s mud or muck near the campsite. If they’ll be inside the tent with you, the floor may need reinforcing or your dog’s nails clipped – no one wants to deal with a ripped tent at two in the morning!

Safety First

Of course, there’s the usual safety advice to consider too – from keeping your dog car-safe for the journey, keeping them on a lead near livestock, considering a coat or GPS tracker for the changeable weather conditions and visibility, or what to do in an emergency.

Keeping a note of the nearest vet is a smart idea – as well as not relying on having cellular reception, particularly in the hills – or you may wish to consider one of our new courses in Canine First Aid, to give you the confidence should something unfortunate occur.

Admittedly, everything above can be a lot to take in, but don’t let that deter you from the obvious enjoyment you’ll get from spending quality time with your dog in the great outdoors. Camping together can be an incredible bonding experience and create memories you’ll hold on to forever.

If you do decide to head out and snap some great photos, be sure to share with us on social media – we love seeing the adventures our supporters get up to. Happy trails!

 

Daniel Tipping

Education Officer

Daniel is the Education Officer at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home and is responsible for delivering our educational outreach programme to schools, community groups and workplaces. If you’d like to find out more about our education programme or arrange a free workshop for your group, please visit our Advice & Education page.

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