the unconventional guide to camping with dogs

A change of scenery and a breath of fresh air are good for both you and your dog and this guide to camping with dogs will tell you how you can get the most out of your trip. Even if you’re not a seasoned camper, it’s easy and rewarding to take your dog on a camping trip.

Why go camping with dogs?

There are so many reasons why it’s a great idea to take your dog camping. For a start, you’re much more likely to find a place to stay with your dog in a camping ground as opposed to a hotel. Although there are many doggy friendly hotels in Australia, a lot of them require that your best bud stays outside at all times.

On a camping trip, the whole family is outside enjoying nature together. Most dogs love being outdoors and if you are there with them – it’s even better! Not to mention, if your dog is along for the journey with you, they’ll give you the kick out of bed you need to go for that long walk you had planned!

two dogs camping

Image courtesy of Mark Totten Flickr.

Camping essentials

Of course you’ll need all the ‘human’ camping things, which assumedly you already have! Next, you need to ensure you’ve got a few essentials to make the camping trip run smoothly for your dog.

Travel items

If travelling in a car, you’ll need to use your dog car harness and other travel items that you normally use when taking your dog for a drive. If you’re looking for a good list of items for car journeys, check out our ‘Dog Car Harness and Travel Accessory Guide.’

Food and water

It may sound obvious but you must also ensure that you bring along enough dog food to last him through the camping trip. It can be cumbersome taking the entire kibble container or bag with you so you may want to use a smaller sized container. Look for one that is water and air tight to prevent your dog’s food from becoming soiled.

Many camping grounds offer safe tap water but make sure you check before you leave. If you have to take your own water, make sure you pack enough for your pooch!

There are collapsible dog bowls that you can use for camping, which are particularly useful if you are tight on car space. If not you can use your dog’s normal home bowls but bear in mind that ceramic or glass bowls may get broken if you like to go Off-Roading during your camping trips!

A home away from home

Many campers like to let their dog inside their own tent at night. There are many benefits to this:

  1. The first point is a no brainer – they keep you warm at night!
  2. You won’t have to worry about them escaping and raiding the next tent over’s food stash. Even worse they could run away and become lost in unfamiliar surroundings.
  3. The dog will be away from wild animals. This works both ways as you don’t want your dog being injured by a rogue possum and you also want to avoid your dog from hurting any native animals.
  4. As mentioned before – You won’t be tempted to have a lazy lie-in as your dog will be there to wake you up for that long walk you promised!

If it isn’t possible to let your dog in your own tent to sleep, you should really ensure that they have their own enclosed place to sleep. If your dog is crate trained, you could use a portable crate with extra protection from the weather or house them under an awning (with sides) that is fitted to your tent.

If they are under your awning and there is spaces to escape, use a dog safe ground stake and tie out cable overnight. This will prevent them from chasing after other campers, their dogs or wild animals. This method of tethering is also useful when you are too busy around the camp kitchen to hold onto your dog’s lead.

If your dog has a habit of walking off there is no harm in safely tethering him or her whilst you’re nearby. Of course you should never tether them and leave them alone at your camping site. If you’re going to do that you shouldn’t have brought them along camping in the first place.

Health and safety

To ensure your dog has a happy and safe trip, you’ll want to ensure that they are:

  1. Micro-chipped.
  2. Have a good flea, worm and parasite protection.
  3. In general good health.

If your dog is none of the above it’s a bad idea to take them camping. After all you don’t want your buddy to hate their first trip camping!

You’ll also want to ensure that your first aid kit includes a few special doggy items. Make sure you pack the following:

  1. Pet safe fly repellent to keep away flies and mosquitos.
  2. A dog ear cleanser to safely remove dirt from your dog’s ears before it causes problems.
  3. Paw balm in case your dog has sore, dry or cracked paws.

The most important thing that you cannot forget when you leave for your trip is – plenty of doggy doo bags! There’s no quicker way to annoy your fellow campers than letting your dog poop all over the campground. Make sure everyone’s a happy camper and pick up after your dog!

Activities to do when camping with dogs;

Walks, walks and more walks! Camping and hiking go hand in hand and your dog will love exploring the nearby scenery with you. Other activities, depending on the surroundings, include:

  1. Time at the beach.
  2. Swimming in a nearby lake or river.
  3. Visiting the nearby town.
  4. Having fun around the campsite with some dog friendly games.

Of course with any of the above you should check the local area's rules regarding your own safety and your dog’s. Also make sure you research the seasonal guidelines for the particular area you are visiting. This is especially important where dog friendly beaches and lakes are concerned.

Whether you head to the beach areas of Australia or participate in some bush camping with your dog, you’re bound to have a memorable time. Do some research by finding dog friendly areas and once you start taking your dog camping – you’ll wonder why you never did it before!

Turu.com.au allows you to search for pet friendly campsites and Nine MSN has compiled a list of Australia’s best dog-friendly beaches.

A great resource that you can keep comes in the form of a full colour book that details over 500 places to stay with your pet on Australia’s East Coast. It’s called Pet-Friendly Accommodation and lists many campsites and caravan parks where you can take dogs.

It also lists a great deal of hotels and cottages that let you bring your dog, which is good to know if for some reason you get tired of muddy paws traipsing through your sleeping bag!

Author Bio

Amy is part of the My Pet Warehouse team. She is a copywriter, social media co-ordinator and a self-confessed pet lover. Amy shares a house in Melbourne with her partner and a rambunctious little Pug called Chowski. She has been writing professionally for two years but her love of writing began many years before.

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Posted by Amy @ My Pet Warehouse