Camping with your Dog
Thinking about taking your pooch with you on your next camping getaway? Here is an easy checklist to prepare yourself for your upcoming road trip.
Things to find out before going on your trip
- Is the campsite pet friendly? This is especially important for campsites located within national parks as you can face significant fines for taking your dog with you.
- Is your dog up to date with vaccinations? While there may not be other pet dogs at the campsite, many areas are accessible to feral dogs and dingos, and they may carry unwanted diseases. So it’s important to ensure that your pooch’s immunity is high!
- Has your dog had their flea, tick and worming treatment? When camping out in the bush, you’re sharing your space with wildlife, who are the natural hosts of many ticks.
- Do you know where the closest vet and emergency vet are? Just in case – hopefully you won’t need this!
- Are your pet’s microchip details up to date? This can be checked at your local vet, and will help ensure that if your dog gets lost, they can easily find their way back to you.
- What is the weather going to be like? If you are likely to see extreme cold or heat during your trip it may be better to forgo taking your furry friend along with you.
Packing check list
- Lead and collar (with identification tags). A strong durable lead is a necessity for camping as you will need your dog to be on lead most of the time, and you need a lead that won’t break if your dog were to try to chase after something, e.g. a rabbit or possum. A multifunction dog lead is perfect for camping as you can adjust from long to short lead and hands free walking (for well behaved dogs)!
- A long lead and stake or a portable fenced pen, so you can contain your dog
- Food and water bowls
- Food and clean water. Taking bottles of water for your dog is also advisable so they can rehydrate as you travel/explore.
- Bed and blankets. A trampoline bed to get them off the cold ground is ideal.
- Poo bags, loooots of poo bags!
- Treats and toys
- Doggie sunscreen, especially for white dogs or dogs with thin fur around their bellies and nose
- Warm coats. Believe it or not, but not all dogs are bred to withstand a cold night.
- Booties. While you may feel a bit weird putting boots on your dogs, this is an excellent way to protect their feet from burning hot sand and ants!
- Glow sticks. This may sound unusual, but if you do not have a dog collar that lights up at night, attaching glow sticks is a great way to keep an eye on their location at night (especially if they somehow get off lead).
Basic first-aid supplies
- Wound-Gard – an antiseptic spray that helps prevent infection and discourages licking
- Tick twister, for those nasty parasites
- Pressure bandage
- Salty water, to clean any wounds
- Any medications your pet is on. If your pet has a medical condition and you are worried about taking them camping your vet is only a phone call away!
- A sickness kit. Include baby wipes, plastic bags, paper towels and air freshener. Many dogs can suffer from car sickness on long car trips, with these amazingly simple tools you will be prepared.
- Sock and masking tape, to put over a leg/paw if they get injured to stop them licking their wound on the way to the vet
- Pawpaw balm, to protect their paw pads in dry and cold weather
- Ear and eye cleaner
Options for Camping during the Day
Most campers do spend some time relaxing at the campsite, and ideally you don’t always want to be attached to the lead! A long lead and stake is a great and simple way to anchor your dog at the campsite and allows them to explore their surroundings.
If you have multiple dogs it’s best to space them out so your relaxation time doesn’t become untangle-the-dog time! Alternatively you can take along a portable fenced pen, just make sure your dogs aren’t likely to escape from it. A sheet or fly-mesh can be used to make a breathable cover for your fenced pen, providing both shade and a deterrent for escaping.
If you choose to keep your dog contained while at the campsite, it is important to ensure they always have access to shade, somewhere to toilet, bedding and water.
Safety tip: tents, like cars, can get very hot very quickly no matter what season it is so you should NEVER leave your dog unattended in a tent. If you cannot guarantee that you can take your dog everywhere with you then it is best to organise a pet sitter or boarding.
Options for Camping at Night
The easiest, and generally the option that provides most peace of mind for campers, is to let the dog sleep in the tent at night. This also allows you to take advantage of their body heat for warmth! Simply put their bedding in the tent next to your sleeping bag and snuggle up.
If you would prefer that your dog is outside, taking along a collapsible crate would provide the safest option for your pet. Place it in a secure area that’s preferably shielded from the elements (if you have a tent with a front section this would be a great place). Ideally you want to avoid keeping your dog tied up at night as dogs can easily tangle themselves, and there is a higher risk that they could escape when they see a possum or other nighttime creatures roaming about.
Wherever you choose for your dog to sleep it is important that they are warm during the night. A trampoline bed within the crate will allow your dog to be up off the cold ground and extra blankets are always helpful. For dogs which do not have a heavy coat you may want to take a jacket for to sleep in. If it’s going to be super cold at night, inside the tent is the ideal place for them to be, and if not you may want to consider relocating to dog friendly accommodation or cutting your holiday short.
This blog was written by Jess Fenyo, one of the lovely Experience Crew Members at our North Ryde Vet Clinic. Jess is the proud mum of a ferret named Shiloh, a fluffy black cat, an 11 year old rescue pooch, and a cheeky 2 year old Basenji mix.