Camping with your family can be a truly wonderful experience, and when we say family, that includes your dog. Taking your dog along on your next camping trip can be a great experience for everyone, and it lets them join in with the fun. Even if it is just you and your canine companion, it is often the perfect bonding exercise to continue strengthening your unbreakable friendship. There are a few tips and trick you should bear in mind when you take your dog camping, and they are important to read because they aren’t things we always think about.
What You Will Need
You can find a more extensive list in our ultimate camping checklist for your dog, so make sure you check it out before you head off on your trip. Some of the key items you will need for camping are listed here for your reference.
- Food and water
- Travel bowls
- Collar with ID tags
- Short and long lead
- Towels (for mucky paws)
- Doggy first aid kit
Camping Tips for Your and Your Dog
#1 Quiet on the Campsite
It’s ok for your dog to bark occasionally. They do it when they get excited, startled, or just want to alert you to something new. No one’s dog is perfect, and if anyone thinks they should be, then they clearly haven’t owned dogs before. A little naughtiness is expected, but don’t let your dog go on and on, especially in the evening when people are trying to settle down.
Keep your pooch exercised and well entertained throughout the day as well as the evening, and we promise they will be far too tired to care about barking. It’s all about respecting the other campers, and this is the best place to start.
#2 Aggressive Dog? Leave Them at Home
The worst thing you can do is bring an aggressive dog camping with you. Whether they dislike other dogs or people, it’s rarely a good experience for the dog or anyone around you. If your dog has aggression issues of any kind, a camping trip can cause a lot of unnecessary stress, which can worsen their issues and worry the dogs and people that are around them – even when they are muzzled.
There’s nothing worse than a holiday filled with tension and worry, and no one wants unpleasant holiday memories. It’s not always fun leaving your dog behind, and finding someone to look after them is not always easy. However, you will have an easier and more enjoyable camping trip if you leave any aggressive dogs behind.
#3 Don’t Risk Overfeeding
When you are camping, it can be tempting to let your dog enjoy a few of the finer foods in life. Burgers fresh from the BBQ, beautifully cooked sausages, all of these and more make great little treats for your dog. Of course, we cannot resist throwing them a little piece of our own food, but when you do, make sure you only give them a very small amount.
There are a few reasons for this. The first is that it can upset their stomachs, leaving you with a lot of mess to clean up both on the campsite and off it. There is little worse than a poorly pup while you are on holiday. Too much human food can also cause pancreatitis in dogs due to the high quantities of fat and other gunk. Generally, the early signs of this include vomiting up bile.
Keep an eye on your pets and try not to feed them too much human food. Finally, you should make sure you space their meals out over the course of the day. Exercising on a full stomach or eating straight after a hike can cause vomiting, so space it out and adjust the quantities accordingly.
#4 Pick Up the Poo
No one likes stepping in dog poo while they are out hiking. Of course, not every trail has bins, so it can leave you feeling a little stuck. Regardless, you should always pick the poo up and bag it (preferably in an environmentally friendly and biodegradable bag). If there isn’t a bin nearby, tie it to your hiking pack until you do find one.
Of course, if your dog is off the lead and roaming nearby, they might choose to go in an inaccessible location. Sometimes you can’t reach it, and that’s ok. The main concern when it comes to picking up poo is making sure the hiking trails and edges are completely clear to avoid unwanted surprises – as well as less than desired odours.
#5 Keep Them Close
It’s good manners to keep your dog close to you at all times. If they are off the lead and you see a dog who is on the lead, call your pooch back and clip them on out of respect for the passing dog. They may be nervous or dislike other dogs, and your dog running up to them could cause them to react negatively. Try not to let them jump on people either. A good dog, is an obedient one who listens (most of the time, we all know they have a tendency to go deaf on occasion).
At the campsite, the same rules apply. Keep your dog in your area and don’t let it wander around visiting others. Of course, you may get close to your camping neighbours and find your dog is more than welcome on their patch, but you should never assume. Dogs who wander around sniffing other people’s food and exploring tents are not seen as good campers, so keep them close to you and perhaps even tie them to a stake on your campsite.
#6 Check Them Over Regularly
Camping also means that your dog is more prone to visits from fleas and ticks. You should make sure your dog has been flea and worm treated before you leave, so you know they won’t be catching any parasites of that persuasion while you are camping and hiking. Ticks are a little harder to protect against, however.
They are resilient creatures, and they can pose a threat to both dogs and humans in terms of diseases. Ticks can be removed from dogs easily using a tick tweezer than you can purchase from your local vet. If you get a tick on yourself, however, do not cover it with Vaseline as this can cause the tick to vomit bacteria into the bite. Instead, try using the tick tweezer on yourself.
#7 Watch Out for Them
You should always be watching and monitoring your dog every day and through each activity that you take part in. During the summer, especially, you should be watching for heat exhaustion as well as general exhaustion. Make sure you keep your dog hydrated at all times and that they are kept cool. As they do not perspire in the same way we do, you can help them to cool down by wiping the inside of their ears or the bottom of their paws with rubbing alcohol or cool water.
This will help them to maintain a steady body temperature. You should also keep an eye on their paws for abrasions. Hot weather and rough surfaces can cause the pads of their paws to burn or become sore. If this happens, consider a pair of dog boots for walking and make sure you apply antiseptic ointment onto the wound.
#8 Know Where the Nearest Vet is
It is so important to know where the nearest vet is. If anything happened to your pet while you were out hiking, or even during the night when you are all huddled in your tent, you need to know exactly where to go to receive treatment – especially if it is a time critical situation. Do your research before you go camping, and make sure you have a copy of your vet records printed and safely stored in a plastic folder, as this will be beneficial to the vet if they need to examine or treat your dog.
Hopefully, you found our guide to camping with your dog useful as well as interesting. As long as you remember these key tips, your trip should run smoothly and leave everyone involved with fantastic memories. Have respect for other campers, keep your dog close, and always watch them closely while you are out and about to make sure they don’t suffer in the sun or get exhausted. They’ll love the camping trip, and you will too.
What did you think of our camping guide for you and your dog? Is there anything that you would have added? We love hearing from you, so let us know in the comments below.
A seasoned camper and hiker, there is nothing he doesn’t know about the Great Outdoors. Hiking alone, with friends, or even little ones, he’s done it all. A trained survivalist, he gives Bear Grylls a run for his money.