Camping with dogs

Camping 1

“It’s wet out there!”
Bring enough towels to cope with a wet, muddy dog.

Wild camping is a rare thing to find in the UK. Most of the time we are on organised camp sites with clean toilet blocks and hot showers so we don’t have to worry about finding enough clean water to drink or kindling for a campfire. If you manage to find one which also allows you to bring your canine friends, you’ll need to pack a few doggy necessities as well.

Even dog-friendly sites do not welcome dogs off leash, so you’ll need a way to tie out your dog so he is not off raiding other campers’ kitchens. Well-seasoned campers will often fence out a ‘garden’ using wind-breaks or netting. On a lesser scale you can purchase a purpose-made plastic covered cable and spiral stake which will withstand the chewing of a frustrated dog. I’ve found that the cable works well but the stake can be hard to fully screw into hard ground and will be totally bent out of shape by a lively, excited dog. On my last couple of excursions I have lashed together a couple of leads or used a long line attached to a plastic tent peg walloped hard into the ground. This was especially effective when used on sandy ground on the north Norfolk coast.

Next, Fido will need somewhere to sleep. If you’ve ever camped, you will know that a lot of cold comes up from the ground and night temperatures can plummet as soon as the clouds clear. Despite providing a lovely memory foam pad for Lola, she still chose the middle of my sleep mat to nest in. Luckily the extra roomy sleeping bag allowed us to snuggle up for warmth.

We’ve managed to get out to a couple of sites without a car, which means packing fairly light, but never with anything smaller than a 3-man tent. You will need some extra space for those times that your dog is wet, muddy or having a mad moment.

Here are some other ideas to consider.

  • Make sure your dog is chipped and that your phone and address details are up to date on the company’s database.
  • Make sure you have the contact details, opening hours and out-of-hours number for the local Veterinary Surgery.
  • Dog mat and bedding.
  • Dog food and treats.
  • Food and water bowls.
  • Water bottle for excursions.
  • Of course your dog will be wearing a collar and leash, but a spare leash is useful.
  • Tie-out cable and stake.
  • Dog towel and grooming brush/comb (for getting rid of burrs). I find disposable micro-fibre cloths very useful for squee-geeing off excess water before toweling.
  • Dog toys and chews (rawhide or stag bar).
  • Dog coat or jumper, depending on the weather. If your dog is lying quietly outside for long periods he can get cold.
  • Lots of poo bags.
  • Tick tweezers are useful in areas where Lyme disease is a danger.
  • A water carrier is a good idea for rinsing mud and sand off your dog if the campsite does not have a hose handy.
Camping 2

Lola sporting that jumper and harness combo. Other vital items in the picture? Dog toy, tie out leash and poo bag!

Camping 3

A friendly pup can also be an asset to other holidaying families.

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About malable

Medical Herbalist, Anatomy & Physiology lecturer, jolly good Dog Trainer.
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