A trainer’s top tips for taking your dog camping
Taking your dog camping with you is a wonderful way to make lasting memories with the whole family but there are certain things you need to think about before heading off.
From how much food you’ll need, to campsite safety, weather considerations and more, here’s what you need to know to prepare for your canine-inclusive adventure.
Food and water
One of my favourite parts of planning a camping trip is getting creative with campfire (or portable stove) dinners. If you’re taking your dog, you’ll need to consider their dinners too.
Pack their usual meals and remember to bring extra treats and snacks. Bear in mind that if you’re planning any big walks, they’ll likely be hungrier than usual so be sure to pack plenty of pup-friendly food.
Avoid giving them 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 solution to filter bacteria and viruses. Our pets are susceptible to sickness from impure water sources just like us!
Don’t forget a bowl – the collapsible ones with a carabiner are great for clipping somewhere close to hand.
Dog-safety around the campsite
Sitting under the stars, stoking a campfire with your best friend by your side is sounds like heaven.
But give some thought to how your dog will behave around a source of fire, particularly if this is their first-time camping and that goes for gas cookers as well. Keep a close eye on your companion when it’s cooking time, you don’t want them running through flames or knocking over any boiling water!
If your dog is prone to wandering, you may opt to keep them on a lead around the campsite but be careful to attach it to something firm and secure. Especially if your pup is a sighthound, or likely to dart after rabbits or other small wild creatures that may be about.
You should also take extra care to keep your dog on a lead and close by during nesting season throughout the months of March to August as ground nesting birds could be easily disturbed.
When 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.
If you can’t find any public bins in which to dispose of dog-poo bags, you will have to carry them and take them home with you so prepare accordingly.
Bugs, bites and other bothers
You and your dog are not the only ones making a home in the hills and it’s important to be prepared for the bugs and biting insects you might encounter on your trip.
Check your dog over for ticks each evening and carefully remove any that you find. It’s worth adding some dog friendly necessities to your first aid kit such as:
- Tick remover
- Vet-approved antihistamine to treat bites or stings
- Non-adhesive dressing
- Vet wrap
- Surgical tape and blunt ended scissors
If you’re worried at all about injuries or allergic reactions, contact your vet immediately for further advice.
Give some thought to sleeping arrangements. If your pup is going to be sharing a tent with you, you’ll want to pack extra towels to clean and dry them off before cosying up, as well as a good, sturdy, pet friendly mat for them to sleep on.
Most outdoor stores will be able to help you find suitable bedding to keep you both warm all night long, you could even try a sleeping bag for dogs!
Make sure that your tent floor is reinforced or that your dog’s nails are clipped – no one wants to deal with a ripped tent at two in the morning!
We recommend giving your tent a test-run in your garden or a nearby park before heading out for the real thing. This gives your dog a chance to get used to the close confines and for you to spot any potential problems.
When it comes to outdoor adventures, it pays to be prepared. Don’t let your dog off-lead near livestock or at all if you have any concerns about their recall.
More adventurous campers might want to consider a bright coat or GPS tracker for their dog to ensure you don’t get separated in changeable weather conditions.
Make sure you have a note of the nearest vet clinic, or, better yet, prepare yourself to deal with emergencies outside of phone coverage by taking a Dog First Aid course.
When taking your dog camping there’s a lot to think about but don’t let that deter you from the fun of spending quality time together in the great outdoors.
Check out our other blogs for more advice on dog-friendly activities and happy camping!