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Things You Need to Know if Camping With Dogs

tips for camping with your dog

Personally, camping just isn’t the same if I don’t have my four legged furry friend along for the ride. The fact that she is obedient, well trained and has an excellent temperament helps towards a relaxing holiday.

However, if your dog or a nearby dog is not well behaved, it leads to a very stressful getaway.

Some of my personal experiences with other campers misbehaving dogs include:

Urinating on my tent and car tyres
Eating my dog’s food
Getting into the rubbish bag
Scratching through the zip on the tent
Becoming aggressive towards people, children and other dogs
Hunting and killing native wildlife

One particular incident I always like to talk about. A family decided that it would be a very good idea to bring their pig hunting dogs camping to a mainly family orientated spot.
Not only did they bring hunting dogs but they didn’t put them on leads and in this instance they ran off into the bush and not only tracked down a cat but also caught and killed it. This was very distressing to everyone that was within the area. I could never understand the logic of what these people did and still to this day wonder about common sense.

Things To Consider Before Leaving Home

If you are considering taking your dog camping, make sure that you are confident that your dog will:

  • Come when called
  • Is friendly around other dogs
  • Is child-friendly
  • Doesn’t bark at everything that moves
  • Can be controlled if something goes wrong
  • Will not wonder away from the site

If you have never taken your dog on an adventure before it may be a good idea to try to go somewhere, that is secluded away from other people with minimum wildlife just to see how it goes first. Keep the dog on a lead until you are confident that it will behave, bare in mind that dogs should be trained in the basics before taking it camping.

If you are taking your dog with you, make sure you pack everything it needs, such as:

  • Food and water
  • Food and water bowls
  • Good quality lead or harness
  • Somewhere to sleep and something to sleep on
  • If you are camping in colder climates a dog jumper of jacket is a very good idea, particularly for short furred dogs
  • A tether lead just in case
  • Plastic bags
  • Any medication needed

It’s always a good idea to have your dog microchipped and have an ID tag attached to their collar with your mobile phone number on it. Before you leave, grab a plastic key tag that allows you to write things of a piece of paper that then goes into the plastic tag.
Once you get to your destination, write on the paper where your site is located. This way, if your dog does wander off onto someone’s site, they know where to return the dog to.

It also pays to drop by your local vet clinic for a quick check up and to make sure that your dog is fully vaccinated. While there talk to your vet about where you are going and if there is anything else that your dog may need, for example, if travelling to hot, remote places they may need tick medication.

Some dogs can act out uncharacteristically in new surroundings so it may be a good idea to take a muzzle just in case, especially if you are going to a well-populated campground or if you are going somewhere that is a fair distance from home.

One must do before you leave the house is to check with the local authorities to ensure that dogs are allowed within your planned destination. Throughout The US, many National Parks do not allow dogs, but most State Forests do. A quick check beforehand will save a lot of hassle in the long run.

Courtesy And Common Sense

Make sure that you are always considerate towards other campers with your dogs. If the people in the campsite next to yours have a dog, pay them a visit. Firstly leave your dog at camp and wander over to say hello and ask if their dog is friendly. Once it’s established that it is, ask if it’s ok to bring your dog over to say hello, not only does this allow you to meet other campers but it allows your dog to socialise too.

Quite often if you are camping with a group of people, there will be more than one dog in the group’s campsite.
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind if that is the case.

  • Feed the dogs separately and always watch them while they eat. All it takes is for one dog to be a little greedy with food and then you have trouble on your hands.
  • Is more than one dog ball enough? Just keep in mind that if more than one dog is a little ball aggressive, it can lead to fights. My dog has been picked up by the back of the neck by another dog and shaken all over a ball.
  • Some dogs get very territorial over their camping tents; it’s good manners not to allow your dog to roam other people’s tents.
  • Be careful when feeding out treats, as with the first point, some dogs can get very aggressive over food.
  • If you are finding that your dog continually wanders away, it may be a good idea to attach it to a tethered lead. That may sound mean, but it’s better than risking a dog fight, snake bite or other accidents. A tether lead is a long rope that attached to the dogs collar or harness at one end and the ground or another solid object at the other end. Another alternative, particularly for smaller dogs, is a free dog inclosure or cage.

As within a local suburban street, always pick up after your dog. Take a couple of rolls of dog poo bags and make sure everything gets picked up and taken away with you when you leave.

What I Use For My Dog

What I take for my dog will depend on where I’m going, how long I’m going for and the weather.
The basics that I take at all times are:

  • Plastic bags
  • Plenty of drinking water
  • Food
  • Water and food bowl
  • Black Dog Lead and Harness
  • Tether rope
  • Her favourite ball

If it’s going to be cold and we are sleeping in the tent, she has her waterproof jacket which is lined in with wool and extra blankets. In the tent she sleeps on a dog bed on top of a fold out bed base, yes she is a little spoilt. If we are sleeping in the swags, she will hop into the swag with me so there is no need to take her bedding. In the warmer weather, I will always take plenty of extra water to keep her hydrated and cool.

Hope this post will help my dog-loving readers.
Feel free to post a comment to share your experience and tips!

Things You Need to Know if Camping With Dogs
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Mark Jonson
Mark Jonson
Outdoor enthusiast and rafting addict. From Cleveland Ohio born and raised (GO CAVS). Working for a professional kayaking company located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Ohio. I am a huge NBA fan and spend the rest of my spare time djing as a hobby.

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