If you’re a dog owner going on a camping trip, it’s only natural that you’ll want to take Man’s Best Friend with you. It’s a great idea, an opportunity to spend some quality time with your pet, and a good chance for our dog to really make the most of the great outdoors. Of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t come with some potential pitfalls.
So, bearing that in mind here are some top tips to keep you and your furry companion happy and healthy on your trip into the great outdoors.
Part One, Pre-Camping Preparation
Before you even leave for your holiday there’s a whole bunch of issues you need to consider. For instance, will the camp site even accept pets? More importantly, will they accept your pet? This isn’t something you should leave to chance. Phone them up well ahead and ask. Don’t just say “Do you accept pets” either. Ask them if it’s okay you bring your dog, and tell them what breed of dog it is. You don’t want any nasty surprises.
Having checked if your holiday destination is okay with your dog, it’s time to check that your dog is okay with your holiday destination. Get your vet to give your dog the once over. If your dog needs any special medication or food, take a large supply with you. It may even be worth getting your pet micro-chipped for easy identification, because if your dog gets lost in a strange land it’s going to have trouble making its way back to you. It’s also a good idea to have some vet care insurance to hand, just in case. If you’re leaving the country, make sure you comply with the requirements of the Pet Travel Scheme.
Then of course, there’s the fun part- packing for your trip! If you’re dog’s coming with you you’re going to be packing for two, so bear that in mind. It isn’t that hard to guess exactly what your dog would put in with the camping equipment if given the choice. Doggy snacks and chew toys are going to be top of the list. It might seem obvious to point out dogs like their chew toys, but there’s another factor at play here as well. By taking some items familiar to your dog, bedding, chew toys or water bowls for instance, you’re helping your dog feel safe in a place that’s strange, new and possibly a bit scary. It may even be worth bringing a mini-tent just for the dog, so it has its own space.
Part Two, Once You’re There
Okay, so you’re packed up, you’ve got sleeping bags, changes of clothes and ordinance survey maps for you, chew toys and a little mini-tent for the dog, you’ve checked the site welcomes pets and now you’re there!
While you’re at the campsite there’s a few things you can do to ensure a more leisurely and holiday-like trip. Firstly, you don’t want to muck about with your dog’s routine too much. As far as you can keep its toilet breaks to their usual times.
One absolute no-no, and one that we really shouldn’t need to tell you, is leaving your dog locked up in the car at night. Sleep with your dog in the tent, or tied up near it. If you’re staying in the wild where you might attract animals it’s a good idea to feed your dog in the tent as well.
However, while letting the dog in the tent is a good, keeping your food there most definitely isn’t. Leave your supplies locked down, or in a bag up a tree, that way your dog won’t be tempted to nose through the supplies when you’re not looking.
You didn’t come all the way out here to hang around your tent though. Before long you and your dog will be exploring the great outdoors, full of wonderful sights and sounds. When it comes to exploring the world, dogs have a fairly limited and consistent approach to new things. They will look at them, sniff them, and, if the opportunity presents itself, eat them. Now your dogs insides are going to be pretty resilient, and what they can’t digest they will usually vomit. Still, it’s a good idea to read up on the more toxic flora and fauna in the area where you’re camping.
So long as you keep all this mind, you can concentrate on the real reason you’re out here- spending some quality time with your best friend. Taking your dog camping is a great chance for you two to get to know each other and enjoy the great outdoors.