Taking Your Dog Camping – What You Need To Know

In most situations, vacationing with your dog is not possible for a number of reasons such as logistics, pet restrictions and practicality. Camping provides you with the perfect vacationing option that doesn’t necessitate you to leave your furry companion behind.

Camping allows you to have fun and bond with your dog instead of leaving them with a pet sitter or in a kennel while you vacation. Although it is lots of fun, camping with your dog will require more preparation and some extra work on your part to ensure both you and your dog have a pleasant and positive experience. Here is a quick guide for taking your dog camping.

  1. Find a suitable campsite.
    A suitable campsite should allow dogs. To avoid being disappointed at the sight of a “NO DOGS ALLOWED” sign displayed at the entrance of a campsite you spent hours driving to, it is important that you do some research to find out if your preferred camping ground allows dogs. Call ahead or research online to find campsites that are dog friendly as well as their leash rules.

    It’s also important that you pick a campsite that is suitable for your dog’s personality. If your dog is not very active, camping at a family-friendly camping ground could be your best choice. For the doggy athlete that thrives in the outdoors, a backpacking trip could be a lot of fun. For dogs with a bit of a temperament, consider going to a campsite that has spread out individual campsites.
    Some noteworthy dog-friendly camping destinations in Queensland, Australia include:  Darlington Park camping area, Beaudesert; Amamoor State Forest and Forest Reserve; Brooyar State Forest; Lake Placid Tourist Park, Cairns; and, Loyalty Beach Campground and Cape York, just to name a few.

  1. Get your pooch ready.
    You need to reinforce your dog’s training (even if they are well trained already) to ensure they’ll be obedient during the trip. Condition your dog by taking them on longer walks to improve their fitness and longer car rides so that they get used to being in the car for extended periods.

    Introduce your pooch to your camping gear by having everything set up in your yard. Let your dog experience the campsite environment while you’re still close to home so that they don’t freak out when you’re outside in the wild.

    Also, take your dog to the vet before you leave for your trip to ensure their health is in tip-top shape and that their vaccinations are up-to-date.

  1. Pack for your dog.
    In addition to your normal camping gear and supplies, you will also need to bring some extra stuff for your furry travel companion.
  • Get enough reusable water bottles for both you and your dog
  • Get your dog potable dishes for food and water
  • Pack your dog’s normal food
  • Bring a dog first-aid kit, sleeping pad, poop bags, toys, leash and muzzle, and other necessary gear
  • Pack your dog’s tags, medication, and vaccination records.
  1. Take proper care of your dog onsite.
    Once you’re at the campsite, make sure to follow the rules of the campground to avoid getting kicked out or inconveniencing other campers. Even when the camping ground allows dogs to be off-leash, it is considerate to ensure your dog is always on a leash and/or tethered especially when you are not watching them. Even a well trained dog may give in to the tempting smell of a BBQ sausage!

    Make sure to clean after your dog and to keep them from any wildlife that they could harm or be harmed by.  Check your dog regularly for burrs, thorns, ticks and insects, and injuries. Additionally, make sure your dog is wearing their booties if they’ll be walking over harsh terrain that could injure their paws.

  2. Protect your dog from extremes.
    Depending on the time of year, your dog could be exposed to extreme conditions such as hot weather, rain, or extreme cold. If it’s hot, make sure your dog can access shaded areas where they can cool down and provide adequate water to keep them hydrated.

    For those times it’s raining or freezing cold, it would be a good idea to let your dog into your tent and provide a blanket if they seem too cold. Co-sleeping with your furry companion will help keep them safe from harmful wildlife and the elements, and will also make camping even more fun!

Camping with your pooch is a great way to relax, unwind and bond with your four-legged companion. Keep the things that I’ve listed in this article in mind, and you and your dog are sure to have an awesome and memorable camping experience.

I have a passion for dog training, behaviour and wellbeing. I have a certificate in dog psychology, behaviour and training.

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